Chance of a lifetime

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 27, 2021

Local dog groomers part of ABC show ‘Pooch Perfect’


The next time you take your dog into Pet Supplies Plus here in Austin, you should know you may have the chance to meet a pair of TV personalities.

Regional Grooming Team Lead Deb Compton and her son Jordan Jones are among the 10 contestants participating in ABC’s “Pooch Perfect,” a reality competition show that pits some of the best dog groomers from around the nation against each other on a national stage.

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Compton is taking the lead in the show and Jones is assisting during the competition, hosted by “Pitch Perfect” star Rebel Wilson. The first episode premieres at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30.

“I think I did pretty well,” Compton said Wednesday afternoon from the Austin store. “I brought everything I had to this thing. I hope I make everyone proud.”

Compton started her grooming journey in 2003, after she had grown tired of working the management side of retail. At the time she had been with Petco and with the help of the company’s internal academy, Compton dove head first into the world of dog grooming.

In March of 2019 she came to Pet Supplies Plus. During her time grooming dogs, Jordan was by her side.

However, it took awhile for Jones to settle on the world of dog grooming.

“At first it didn’t click with me right away,” he said. “It took me a long time to get to the point where this job was pretty cool. It was for the paycheck, but once I started understanding how to groom and learn the fundamentals of it, I developed my own style, my own mindset.”

Compton remembers her son helping her when he was younger.

“He was bathing the dogs for me and helping me prepare for competitions for quite awhile,” she  said. “He was 14 when he started helping me with competitions.”

As Compton progressed, she became one of the standouts on the competition circuit, which stretched through eight years. Her success in competitions helped draw the attention of the people behind “Pooch Perfect,” which was first an Australian show before being brought to the United Kingdom and then the United States.

“We were told there were thousands of applicants and they chose 10 through portfolios and interviews,” Compton said. “It was like a dream come true being picked for the show. It’s pretty cool to have my work recognized on such a large platform.”

While neither Compton or Jones could give specifics on the eight-episode series, they did say the duo spent a good amount of time in California filming earlier this year.

Compton, with Jones, worked through challenges in front of a trio of celebrity judges that included TV personality Lisa Vanderpump, dog groomer Jorge Benersky and veterinarian Dr. Callie Harris.

The way the challenges work is one groomer wins immunity through the Immunity Puppertunity Challenge with the rest of the teams battling it out in the Ultimutt Challenge Showdown.

According to a press release, one of the teams is eventually sent to the doghouse.

In the end, three teams will face off in the finale where they compete for $100,000 and the first place trophy.

“It was really cool,” Compton said. “There are so many cameras and we’re always getting a mic check.”

Jones spoke to the time spent filming the show and pressures that came along with being in front of the camera.

“Being in front of the camera and under that much pressure was a new thing for both of us,” he said. “This is actually happening. Some parts we were starting to crack a little”

While the pressures of performing on the spot were difficult, the experience was something he wouldn’t change.

“Being back is kind of weird,” he said. “Being in Cali and then coming back, it definitely was eerie. Everything happens so fast. The emotional aspect was awesome. The best experience in the world. I really like art and filming is one of the best forms of art.”

Getting to meet a celebrity wasn’t bad either.

“Now that I can look back on this experience, it was so amazing to be able to be within the company of the top 10 groomers in the nation,” Compton said. “Being judged by amazing judges and having Rebel Wilson say my name was like a dream come true.”

Although it was the chance of a lifetime, the experience was amazing on another level as well. It was a chance for mother and son to bond over something they truly love in the midst of a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It’s really the reason we did it,” Compton said. “It was amazing to go to California together and compete together on TV. Who can say they’ve done such a thing with their kid?”