A Jennings County high school senior’s job goes to the dogs

BROWNSTOWN — A Jennings County High School graduate has taken the skills she learned from trimming goat and sheep hooves for 4-H shows when she was young and turned them into a fast-growing dog grooming business.

At age 20, Sydney Kidd of Tampico opened Waggin Wonders Boarding and Grooming right behind Blondie’s Pizza in Brownstown. Two short years later, Kidd’s business has grown to a new location to offer more services to its clients.

Since opening her business, she has made a name for herself in the community and made many connections with furry friends and their people.

“In the beginning I had customers I didn’t really know or hear of, but now we’re really good friends and I think their dogs are like mine… it’s like one big family,” she said.

After graduating from Jennings County High School, Kidd was hesitant about going to college, but she went anyway and earned a degree in agriculture. Growing up in a rural area, she was introduced to agriculture and ranching through FFA and 4-H shows. After obtaining her diploma, it was difficult for her to find a job related to her profession, so she decided to focus on traveling to the surrounding countries to take care of livestock. Although the position provided a good income, it took a physical toll on her body and the long hours became difficult.

Thanks to her connections and experience with livestock, people in the community began asking her to do other things, such as clipping dogs’ nails. This led her to work at a small dog and other animal grooming business in Crothersville where she learned the basics of dog and other animal grooming. When the pandemic started, Kidd worked in various beauty salons, but she always knew she wanted to start her own business.

“I’m an outgoing person and I like to do my own thing,” Kidd said. “My parents will tell you, ‘I’m the kid who didn’t have to be told to do something because I was probably already doing it.'”

After looking for a place to start her business, she finally found a place to rent behind Blondie’s Pizza where Country Pups used to be located. The finances to start her business were covered solely by her and her immediate family who came together to bring her vision to life. Once her business was established, it took off immediately.

“I really didn’t have a missed period and I still don’t,” she said. “Business has really taken off.”

It didn’t take long before she outgrew her small shop and was able to move to a larger location near the Jackson County Fairgrounds east of Brownstown. In the process of moving to a new and larger location, the business continued to flourish.

“I still had grooming appointments before I officially arrived at my new location,” Kidd said.

Since opening her new shop, Kidd has been able to expand her grooming and boarding services to more residents in the community. With this expansion, she was able to hire several employees and start a volunteer program that introduced young people to the field of animal care.

In her spare time, she likes to give back to the community through local animal shelters. For Mercy Rescue in North Vernon, she provides free animal care to increase their chances of adoption.

In October, she hosted a Halloween party at her company and invited the Humane Society of Jackson County to bring some adoptable dogs for pictures. Kidd said those experiences are one of the many benefits of owning a small business.

“I feel more connected to the community through my small business and small town. I want to do things that will help my small town,” she said.

Starting the business at a young age will allow her enough time to grow the business and make changes as she matures, she said.

“Having a business is really positive because as I get older and my life changes, I can change the business to suit my needs at that time,” she said.

While Kidd has many advantages to owning her own small business, there are also some challenges for the new business owner. In any business, it can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance.

“I’m there every day, and if I’m not there, I feel like I should be there,” she said.

Another factor when owning a business is establishing a steady income. For some business owners, the uncertainty can be very stressful.

“If something goes wrong, you are the entire financial support for the business. As a small business, I still accumulate my savings so I have something to fall back on in an emergency.”

With the continued growth of her business and her dedication to keeping it successful, Kidd is always reminded of why she started this venture whenever she feels like giving up.

There are hard days, but when I see a dog doing something funny, I just have to laugh, she said. “I realize that’s why I’m doing all this.”

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