FFA students start new animal grooming service

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

January 25, 2023

You’ve dropped off your kids at school for years, and now you can drop off your dogs too. 

What is the program?

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) at Greenbrier East High School are offering a new animal grooming program for the community. “We do baths and nail trims for dogs,” explains Emily Dunkle, agriculture teacher. “The students get experience working and being supervised,” she says. “I’m pretty hard on them, but they love working with the animals.” 

Tuck, a 2-year old pit/shepherd mix, wouldn’t stop kissing the students as they trimmed his nails.

When asked to describe the program, student Jera Holliday joyfully said, “We do all kinds of stuff with animals!” The Small Livestock and Companion Animal Program falls under the FFA curriculum. They meet two period per school day and currently have 10 students, who care for animals ranging from rabbits to pigs to ferrets…and now dogs too. 

Elizabeth Kesterson, a student in the program, said she’s excited to come to class. Every day brings a new adventure. “We had someone sign up to bring puppies,” she recalls. “It turned out they were huge Great Danes! We weren’t prepared, but we took care of them.” 

Who is involved?

It’s precisely that kind of real-world experience that the students receive in the program. Not only do they enjoy the work, but it’s directly applicable to their future career plans.  Hailey Elmore and Mikayla Wyatt both plan to attend veterinary school. Elizabeth Kesterson plans to pursue reproductive physiology or genetic studies. Abbey Hawver wants to train horses. 

Natalie Cross says, “I enjoy it because it’s good work experience. But it’s also just really fun taking care of animals!” 

How can you sign up your dogs?

Members of the community who want to use the animal services provided by the class are asked to schedule an appointment by messaging the Greenbrier East FFA Facebook page or calling the school at 304-647-6464.

Mrs. Dunkle asks customers to be aware that if there’s a two-hour delay, the appointment will be delayed two hours. If there’s a three-hour delay or school is canceled, the appointment will be canceled and rescheduled. 

Nail trims cost $8 for all dogs. Baths for small dogs are $10, medium dogs are $15, and large dogs are $20. 

“All of the funds go back into our animal science account for supplies, taking the students to competitions, and the general FFA program costs,” reports Dunkle. “So it all goes to helping us continue educating students through the program.”


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