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Meet Master Pet Stylist/Author Daryl Conner

A certified Petcare Dermatech Specialist & Master Pet Stylist, Meritus, Daryl is known for her passionate love of animals, her fun and informative educational classes at grooming shows across the country and her grounded, friendly style of teaching. But there are other facets to Daryl’s life beyond the grooming table – she’s an accomplished gardener and horseback rider who loves to cook and go antiquing.

With a garden full of homegrown vegetables and beautiful flowers, Daryl is particularly fond of her fragrant herbs, which she uses to enhance what she cooks. Her favorite is fresh, woodsy sage that she adds to the stuffing for the annual Thanksgiving feast. A self-confessed “comfort food” cook, Daryl likes to make soups, stews and casseroles, and carries on her mother’s tradition of “taking her famous macaroni and cheese to any home that is celebrating a birth, recuperating from an illness or grieving from a loss.” She also enjoys baking, counting “goodies” as her specialties, but Daryl says she may be best known for her homemade bread. “It’s made from a starter I have owned and tended to for 16 or so years. Its name is ‘Seymour’ and it lives in my fridge, in an antique crock I inherited from my dear Mother-in-love.”

Even when she goes antiquing Daryl is thinking about cooking. She loves to buy and use old kitchen implements, and is the proud owner of an old potato masher that she claims is better at making perfect mashed potatoes than any modern masher on the market. Daryl’s other antique kitchen treasures include measuring spoons that are so old the measurements are nearly worn off; wooden spoons; a rolling pin worn smooth from use and old handmade bowls with crackled finishes in warm, earthy colors. “I love to think that the spirit of cooks before me imbue the tools with a special flavor that seeps into the meals I cook,” Daryl says of her implement collection.

When not whipping up one of her comfort food delights, Daryl loves to go horseback riding. The owner of a Haflinger mare named Chanel, she rides as much as possible, but admits it’s not often enough, so when she does get a chance to ride, she makes it an event. Daryl and several friends recently took their horses to Acadia National Park in Maine for a camping trip where they rode “on the carriage trails that go for miles through spectacular scenery from the mountains to the sea,” Daryl recalled. “It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”

Daryl enjoys writing, and is the author of Practical Pet Grooming: 100+ Illustrated Ideas for Stylists. She also authors the popular pet grooming blog, Hairs of the Dogs: Days in the Life of a Pet Stylist, which is her way of sharing her quarter-century’s worth of grooming experiences and advice with others, and hopefully teach and inspire them, or just provide an interesting – and sometimes humorous – story to read. Daryl has another blog called Fair Winds, about her experiences and observations as a “wife and mother living in a meadow hugged home in rural Maine.” Additionally, Daryl is a contributing writer to Pet Age magazine and has also had articles in Groomer to Groomer and Dog World magazines.

Daryl lives in an old farmhouse with her husband, Chris, to whom she has been married for 25 years, and their daughter, Rachel. Daryl considers her husband to be her “best friend, soul mate, boon companion and most favorite human on the planet.”

Laughter and joy are a big part of Daryl’s life, and her family and friends are a big reason for that. She met her husband at Acadia National Park 26 years ago and if given a chance, she would take him there for a romantic getaway. “The place still resonates with us,” Daryl said. She envisions an ideal evening with her friends being one where they just hang out and talk. “I would cook dinner and we would sit around the fire pit or inside around the woodstove, talking,” Daryl says. “And laughing. I’m big on laughing.”

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