Posted 4 months ago
A determined dog groomer is back doing the job she loves after refusing to let cancer stand in her way.
Emily Pritchard, originally from Great Wyrley, Staffordshire lost her lower right leg after being diagnosed with cancer in 2019.
However, the 24-year-old has not stopped pampering pets in the grooming spa at Jollyes’ store in Cannock, Staffordshire.
She has adapted to working from a wheelchair and is now learning to walk with a prosthetic leg which she will wear for work as she builds her confidence.
With the help of an adjustable grooming table, Emily's four-legged clients range from tiny Yorkshire Terriers to an 18 stone Newfoundland.
After 14 months off work for treatment and recovery, she returned last August and was delighted when the spa was able to reopen permanently following the end of lockdown restrictions in April, 2021.
“It was fantastic to return to work to see all the store colleagues, the dogs and their owners again. It feels like we’ve got a bit of normality back and for me it’s meant I can do what I love most.”
“Finding out I had cancer was really hard and going through the treatment was very tough, but wanting to get back to work and grooming the dogs helped get me through it,” Emily said.
Emily, who now lives in Shifnal, had suffered with an aching knee for three months before she was diagnosed with cancer.
She was told she would need an amputation above the knee and underwent specialist treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
On top of recovering from the operation and undergoing chemotherapy, she also had to shield herself from Covid when the pandemic struck.
The Collie lover's passion for dog grooming began during her work experience while studying animal care at Rodbaston College, in Staffordshire and she has been in the profession for eight years, joining Jollyes three years ago.
“From the first day, I have loved it here and they’ve been really good to me all the way through my treatment and in helping me to come back part-time,” she said.
Following the reopening of the spa, a lot of Emily's workload involved corrective clipping to sort out DIY lockdown haircuts that had gone wrong.
Now she gets requests to give dogs “mullet” cuts which have become trendy, though she draws the line at colouring dogs and painting their nails.
Jollyes regional manager Matt Godwin said: “Emily is the most positive and inspirational person I know. She always wanted to come back to work and get on with doing what she does best. She’s full of beans, happy-go-lucky and loves being around animals.”