At one time, David Gee was a fast-rising star in the IT industry. He was a worldwide product manager for a renowned multi-national company reporting directly to the CEO, earning a tantalizing six figure sum annually, and accustomed to traveling first-class around the world every two weeks or so.
So it was unthinkable to many that he would give up his seemingly bright and glamorous corporate career to become a pet groomer in his own modest pet shop at Telok Kurau Lorong L. But that was the path David chose after his health declined when he fell victim to radiation during his last IT career.
It’s easy to take an immediate liking to David. Though 46 years old and well exposed to the different tempests of life, creases have only just begun to develop around his lively eyes, and his hair is streaked with many shades of grey and white. These are the only telltale signs of his age and experience. Donned in an emerald polo t-shirt and a pair of casual khaki bermudas, David draws you in with his surprisingly youthful energy, affable smile, unassuming personality and candid nature.
A short while into the conversation, his immense sense of gratitude and his readiness to help, serve and welcome begin to surface.
When asked about how and why he decided to become a groomer of dogs and cats, he asserts gently that “God allowed it”. A man of many different hobbies, David decided about four years ago to take up a pet groomer’s course so that he could groom his four dogs personally. This newfound gifting led him to start freelancing as a groomer for friends and family, and eventually let him to buy out Pets Parade which he converted to his own grooming and retail space for pets.
The three-year path to owning his own business has not always been easy but as David quips, “Perseverance builds character”.
Pet grooming is by no means an easy task. The standard process of brushing, nail-clipping, ear cleaning, shaving, bath, blow-drying and the finishing trim and brush for a small dog takes about three hours, and requires a fair amount of physical strength. It also requires an innate ability to understand animal behavior and control. It can sometimes also be a dangerous job: lack of proper care and skill can cause an animal to be wounded.
For David though, his service goes beyond transforming scruffy canines into sleek, well-kept creatures. He brings integrity to his business by also providing clients with advice on how to maintain or improve their pet’s well being. David also doubles up as a “holistic physician” for pets inflicted with minor health problems such as skin allergies, fungal infections on skin and ears and diarrhea. He administers his own treatments formulated from his years of experience and trial and error with his own pets. To date, he has won the loyalty of many clients as he healed many of their pooches through his dedication and education!
On average, David works about 15 hours a day, six days a week. He does two rounds of pick-ups each morning (starting at 7am), and another round of delivery at night. By the time he locks up, it is almost 10pm. In between, he runs his retail store, grooms three to four animals, and makes it a point to ferry his children to and from school and other enrichment classes. The man is always rushing for time. Despite his grueling work schedule, David manages to maintain a close and loving bond with his wife and children — he believes that the secret to keeping his family together lies in his efforts to prioritize communication, understanding and prayer in his family.
David’s schedule is unenviably hectic, but he reveals that his strength and motivation come from an hour of quiet time with God and His Word everyday. When asked if he has thought about giving up grooming for something less taxing, he replies with a glimmer of emotion, “There have been discouraging times but each time I have asked God for direction and He has always pointed me back to the business. I am beginning to see after three years in the business that Pets Parade is a special place. Occasionally people come feeling down and leave feeling lifted up after a casual conversation and looking at the animals. To me, it is important to be a blessing to others rather than just be a taker”.
For the other aspiring pet groomers, David shares, “Whatever you do, trust in the Lord and do it for the Lord. Sometimes the work becomes very subjective. There are so many breeds and so many styles that you cannot be sure to please every client. When in doubt, pray and trust the Lord. When people have favor with you, they have favor with the Lord”.