Northern Ireland news

Coronavirus unleashes 83-year-old's new skill as dog groomer

Margaret Mallon gives her dog Chico a haircut at home because she is unable to take her dogs to be groomed Picture Mal McCann.

CORONAVIRUS restrictions have inspired one west Belfast 83-year-old to add a new skill to her repertoire late in life - dog grooming.

Margaret Mallon, from Whiterock Gardens, had been disappointed when her usual groomer had to cancel an appointment two weeks ago due to the new social distancing rules imposed to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

But while the warm weather has been welcome to most people, her rescue dogs were finding it increasingly uncomfortable with their overgrown coats.

"They were getting like bears and mum decided to get the shears and give them a haircut," her son John Mallon explained.

"They love to get out onto the garden, but it was getting very hot for them. She hasn't done a bad job. She would pay up to £70 a time to get them cut and the girl does a good job.

"Mum adores animals, she also has a cat and two budgies. One of the dogs came from a puppy farm and had spent the first four years of its life in a box. She's had it for two years. It was very badly treated."

Mr Mallon said his mother is finding the restictions on her movement very difficult.

"It's my daddy's anniversary and that's the first time she's not able to go to the grave in 16 years. She's from Wexford and they met writing to each other through Ireland's Own.

"She's used to going to a day centre every day. She's getting her days in gardening. I'm her carer, but she wouldn't see me in her way."

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Northern Ireland news