Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Allergic.. To your groomer?

Today's crazy story comes from an exchange I had with a long-time client. The fact that I had done her dog for so many years, made it just that much more crazy.

I had already taken grooming instructions, and taken the dog to the back, when the front desk told me to come back up.   I was greeted by the customer, who had forgotten to ask me something.  She wanted to know if I used latex gloves when I groomed the dogs.  I do not. I wasn't sure what she was getting at, maybe she was concerned about transfer of germs?  She then went on to say that when I came up to get her dog, the dog ran and hid behind her.  Sadly, I get that a lot, and had not noticed.  The owner then went on to tell me that the reaction she saw was exactly how the dog reacts when it sees a balloon.  "She's terrified of latex".  Uh.. Ok. (?)

I think there are many more reasons for a dog to fear balloons, than the substance they are made from..  Did she test this, and non-latex balloons are fine? Are balloons even latex?   I'm going to go with, she just didn't want a grooming today, and leave it at that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

All's well that ends well... eventually

I apologize for there being no separation of paragraphs in this blog post.. Blogger is acting up and will only let me type in HTML, which caused it all to run together. No clue what that is about. So, if it's not too annoying.. read on! So yeah.. I've been a bad blogger. It doesn't mean I don't have anything to write, life just got busy, and I didn't write it. We had one of our busiest summers ever this year. After the very slow start to the spring, due to winter sticking around til nearly June, it was great to be busy. It was like the week of Christmas.. for about 6 weeks straight. Exhausting, yes, but the income was great! Now, as I say good bye to the seasonal dogs one by one, I will try to do more blogging. The reason I picked today, is because of what happened to me yesterday. I groomed a dog that we had groomed a few times before. Upon looking at the history from her last haircut, I saw that my notes stated that she had to be shaved short due to matting. So, when I looked at her that morning, she appeared to be in much better shape than last time (possibly due to how short the last haircut had been) I started the conversation by acknowledging that we had to take her short last time, and was about to ask if she'd like to go back to a longer trim, when she interrupted me. She said "Yes, you are going to find that problem again, I know she is matted" "And, trim her ears, I'm not one of those Shih Tzu owners that likes all that long hair." Ok, so I took the dog, and she asked to pre-pay as someone else was picking the dog up. Turned out she was right, there was some matting underneath, and in the rear legs. I still left her longer than last time, seeing no reason to take it that short today. Fast forward to pick up time. I brought the dog up, handed her off to the guy picking up, and headed back to the grooming room. Not a minute had passed when the receptionist came back (I didn't even make it back to the grooming room) to tell me the guy was upset about the groom, saying I had shaved the dog! I couldn't imagine what he was talking about.. I mean it wasn't that short?! I get up there and he attacks. He tells me that the dog had been skinned. (?) He then turns the dog over and shows me the groin area.. uh, yep, I always shave that area?? He said he used to groom his own poodle, and even he could do a better job than that. He then went over the dog and did find a stray hair I had missed. So.. I told him I would immediately take her back to get rid of that hair. I explained the conversation he had with his.. wife? I wasn't sure who he was, and he didn't argue with me, so I went with that. He said he would show her the dog, but couldn't imagine anyone would be happy with such a bad haircut. When I come back up with the dog, he is on his cell phone. He looks down at the dog, then angrily looks at me and says, "DO YOU WANT TO TALK TO HER ON MY PHONE, OR DO YOU WANT TO CALL HER!???" I am shocked that he is this livid.. but I say I can certainly talk to her now. I get on the phone, and she's pretty quiet. She says "So, she was matted?" I respond that yes, we talked about that this morning, remember? She says, no, I brushed her last night, and bathed her last week, she shouldn't have been matted. WHAT? Am I in the frigging twilight zone? He continues on his rant. Showing me the dog's hairless groin again. Loudly (there were other customers in the lobby)repeating that it was the worst haircut he'd ever seen. I told him I was sorry that he wasn't happy, but I couldn't put the hair back, so I wasn't sure what he wanted me to do. He really lost it then.. He said "WHO IS THE MANAGER HERE??, I WANT TO FILE A COMPLAINT!!" "I WANT MY MONEY BACK NOW!!" I had a headache all day, and this did not help. Plus the fact I still had a dog to finish, and I needed to get home for an appointment. I didn't have time to deal with this crazy person, nor was he going to shut up, until he got what he wanted. I told the receptionist to give him his money back, and left. I hate giving money back.. regardless of the haircut, do they really deserve a free nail trim, anal glands and bath? I had just had enough. I would be sending them a letter to say that they were no longer welcome to come for grooming. (though I seriously doubted they would ever darken our doorstep again) I speak to the receptionist later, who tells me he instantly tells her to make sure you thank that girl for grooming the dog.. WTF??? Then, they realize that the "wife" paid with a credit card, so until she called with the number, they couldn't refund the money. He said that was fine. I went home. Still steaming about being treated that way. It was so random.. the anger.. crazy. Luckily, my manager called to tell me the rest of the story. Later that evening, the "wife" and actual owner of the dog called. She said that the man was just a friend, not her husband, and had no right to complain about her dog. She apologized for his behavior, and said there was no problem with the groom, except one nail had started bleeding (weird.. but it happens sometimes). She did not want her money back. No clue why she didn't say something on the phone.. other than perhaps this ogre scared her and she didn't know what to say. Who does that?? Ask for "MY money back" when it wasn't even your dog.. or your money? Who complains about someone elses dog's haircut? If I picked up someone's dog, and didn't like the groom.. I'd just think "I guess that's how they like it". I certainly wouldn't make a scene over it. I hope to never cross paths with him again. Hopefully he takes over the dog's grooming.. she's kind of a pain to groom anyway.. Lucky for me, most of my clients appreciate me. I had called to tell a customer that her dog's hair was just past the point of no return in my opinion, and though I could brush it, it would really be too much for the dog to take. She told me she trusted me, and to do what I thought was best. I clipped her down, it was a huge difference. Anyone would be shocked to see a change like that. Instead.. they thought she looked cute and gave me a very large tip. Thank goodness for normal people! Hopefully my next blog won't be such a rant. But it feels good to have that off my chest.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I just had to get a couple of stories down on the blog, so I don't forget them.

People are still horrified that we are 2 weeks out on groom appointments.  I really don't feel that is that far out, but what do I know.  We can only do what we can do. Due to this fact, people like to blame us for the condition of their pet. 

Today, when I walked up to take in a Cocker Spaniel Mix, I couldn't help but comment on how shaggy she was.  She was really a mess!  The owner quickly gives me the reason.  "Well, YEAH, I've had such a hard time getting in to this place for a grooming!  I look down at the record in my hand and see the date of the last grooming.  July 7, 2012.  Yeah.. I'm sure that it's my fault for not getting you in the day you called.  Seriously???  I even told her the date of the last grooming, and she was surprised.  She thought it had been longer. (??)

This gem came from one of the sainted receptionists:  A person called, didn't give their name or the dogs name, just said "my dog needs to get in to be detailed"  Uh.. say what? You see, I work at a vet clinic, so immediately she thought the owner wanted the dog's tail removed (De-Tailed).  She asked the person to repeat what was needed for the dog.  "I need him DETAILED".  O. K...  She then switched gears and asked for the name, which didn't ring a bell. One more time she asked.  The response was "You know, nail trim, bath, the whole detail package".  OHHHHH.  You want your dog groomed?  "Yeah.. ha ha ha.."  I'm sure other people laugh at the funny joke, but the receptionists don't really have time.  Come on, people!

Finally, we've gotten to the point that we are so busy, all the time, that many times we don't care if someone no-shows.  Sometimes we are just relieved to have an easier day for once.  Sure, I still fit people in off our waiting list that sometimes needs to be on two pages it's so large, but it's less of a priority these days.  I know.. I should be glad to make the money.  I AM.  Very grateful.  But see the prior blog about who will get called off the waiting list, and who will likely NOT get called. Burnout is something I don't want to experience, so I take easier days when I can.   I had a cat on my schedule a couple of weeks ago.  His owner is a notorious no-shower.  You can call and remind him, but it does no good.  So, normally we don't waste the time it takes to call.  His appointment was at 8 AM.  By 9, I was pretty sure I was home-free.  He called at 9:30.  The receptionist told me he was "running a little late", and was that ok?  I said, sure, he can still come in if he's here by 10:00.  Yeah.. that wouldn't work for him, could he still come if he was there by 11:00?  Uh.. NO.  3 hours late?  I don't think so.   My guess is the party went a little long last night and he was still in his pajamas.   I feel bad for the cat, because he's always neglected and matted, but I just couldn't deal with starting the cat that late.  A little late, is 5-15 minutes, in my humble opinion.  I thought I was being generous with 2 hours.  To the end of the schedule he went.  I wonder if he'll show up next week?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Man Made Monsters

How do I even begin?

It's been a long week.  I've had to deal with lots of "interesting" phone calls and customers. 

Today, was the worst.  T.G.I.F.

Today, I spent part of the day afraid.  Yes, ME. Afraid of a dog.  Scared enough to make me sweat.  This is very, very rare.  I  lliterally can count on one hand how many dogs have had this affect on me.  I have a healthy respect for some dogs, and what they could be capable of, but there are few that I truly believe could or would injure me.

This dog's owner called me to see if I'd even consider trying to groom him.  Let's give her kudos for that.  She actually told the TRUTH about what her dog was like.  He's been getting groomed by the same groomer for his whole life.. 13 years.  This groomer suddenly quit, so she was left trying to find someone to take him on.  The groomer at least had been honest with her as well.  Many times groomers tell owners what they want to hear, that their precious pup is PERFECT for the groom.  This doesn't do the owner any good, they then move on to the next groomer and are SHOCKED when their perfect baby takes someones hand off.  The groomer had been able to groom him as long as "things were his idea".  What this means (at least what it means to me) is that he's the kind of dog that you don't push.  If he gets angry, you must back down, and try a different approach.  Being a dominant bitch (yep, I just called myself a bitch) with this dog was not going to work.  They are past the point of training.  I've had a few of these in my day.  If you can learn the combination to what works for them, you will be ok.  Sadly, the groomer wasn't there to ask what would work best for him.  The owner also admitted that the vets had a horrible time with him, and "once he's done, it's all over, you won't be able to do anything with him".  OK. Duly noted.

I spoke with her about the possibility of sedation, and she agreed that may be necessary.  I took him from her, and her parting words made me realize that there would certainly be some kind of a problem.  "Don't let him bite you, if he does it really hurts and he draws blood".  Good to know.. your dog's been biting you as well.  I asked if he let people pick him up, and she said.. I "think" so. 

I wasn't taking any chances, and had someone help me muzzle him.  He was not a fan.  Once up on the table, he was fine.  Seriously.. not bad for feet, or nails, or anything!  It was crazy.  He just stood there.  I decided not to push my luck and didn't remove the muzzle til after the bath, which left his face unfinished.  I updated the owner and was optimistic we were in the clear.  Then I went to finish him.  He wasn't having any of me lifting him out of the cage.  So, I carefully guided him to the floor and went to get a muzzle.  While attempting to muzzle him, his teeth grazed my hand. No warning, no growling. This was the exact way J landed in surgery to fix nerve damage caused by this exact breed biting her.  I got help, and we got him muzzled.  Then things got really fun.  I picked him up and he sprayed diarrhea everywhere, including down my leg.  Great.  He then urinated and rolled in it trying to get away from me.  Back to the tub we went.  I told J, this would be the last unsedated groom he'd have.  Then, back on the table he was back to perfection.  I even did his face completely after removing the muzzle.  He was calm, and not threatening at all.  SO strange.  Unpredictable dogs are the worst.  I told the owner that we would not guarantee future grooms would happen without sedation, but I'm still not sure.  I just need to figure out how he likes to be picked up.  I KNOW the owner wouldn't do it for me.  She is obviously afraid of her Man Made Monster. 

Yes, he's a breed known for aggression/brattiness.  He's a Lhasa Apso.  However, somewhere along the line it would've been nice for someone to say NO to him, preferably when he was 5 months old.  (average age of a Man Made Monster's start of being a brat)

J fielded a call from someone who has a similar problem, luckily on a much younger dog.  Hopefully we can nip this problem in the bud.  It's a 7 month old Shih Tzu who has been to the (insert big box pet store name) groomer 3 times.  Not once has he gotten a hair cut.  He's been sent home for bad behavior.  Now, I don't really blame those groomers.  I could never groom in a fish bowl, with all the world watching how I handle the dogs. I'm not mean to them.  I'm not abusing them.  But, the dogs sometimes act that way, and to the uneducated onlooker, it sure might seem as though I am.  Puppies SCREAM, like bloody murder scream.  Sometimes it's just because I'm holding their foot, or holding the clipper near their head.  If I stopped every time one screamed, no dog would ever get groomed.  Within moments it's over, on dog's that have not been training humans for a while.  The dogs realize nothing hurts, they still have all their legs, and they are alive.  We move on.  Praise for the relaxed puppy. 

Problem?  This puppy now believes that throwing a fit makes it all go away. Why?? Because it has worked!  Puppies are not dumb.  The owner has been "trying" to groom it and have it listen to a clipper themselves.  J asked them to please stop.  It never works well with the novice owner.  They can't be hard hearted and listen to the screamy pup.  They give in, and the puppy takes one more step towards a life of muzzled or worse yet, sedated groomings.  Not ok.  J is off the day they are coming in.  I will take on the challenge of the pup, I sure hope it is a quick study. 

We had another Monster in today whose owners had obviously "tried and failed" to groom it.  The obvious part was in just how bad the behavior was.  Screaming, fighting, biting.  When J tried to talk to them about it, recommending an obedience class at the very least (the dog had to be taken into a quiet room to remove it's collar at the front desk, it was so out of control) she got a blank stare.  The owner was somewhat offended that she even suggest it, as the dog is perfectly behaved at home.  sigh.  Of course it is.

It wasn't all rotten today.. we had fun with cute, nice dogs. 

Happy Summer Solstice!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just keep nodding and smiling

Still INSANELY busy in grooming land. Very happy, and very tired.  I needed to get this one down so I didn't forget it.  You may wonder, after reading it, how I could ever forget it. 

I've become immune to odd requests for haircuts.  I just let them talk.. and talk, then I just do what I want (when I know better than they do what they want).  I've learned not to try and talk them out of it.  It's not worth it.

A client came in with her new puppy.  He was adorable.  I asked what type of haircut she was thinking about with him (yeah, I still ask). 

She said:  Well, I'm not quite sure, but I really like those dogs that have the Lion trim.   You know the one where the head is really fluffy?  But I want the rest shorter, so I can see the ticks.

Nodding.. smiling.

I'm thinking like one of those Teddy Bear Trims, you know, kind of fluffy and cute?  (I have no clue what a Teddy Bear Trim is.)

Smiling.. nodding

And, I really love how his face looks just like an Owl right now!  That is so cute.  I kind of want that too.

Nodding, smiling. (thinking about the 15 other dogs I have to groom today and hoping this can wrap up sometime within the hour)

Then came the part I listened to:

Well, you know more about these dogs than I do.  I've never had a Shih Tzu before.

Ok, I think I'll just make him look really cute.  Which is what I did, and she loved it! 

He (apparently) looked exactly like an OwlTeddybearLion doodle.  

I'm a pro, would you expect anything less??

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Word of the Day

Some of you have seen my facebook status today. 
 It simply read:

The word of the day is: No. Tomorrow the word of the day will also be No, but will be preceded by laughter, and/or the word Hell.

Not very nice.  I'll admit it. 

It's not even completely true, as I actually did say yes a few times.  As predicted, it got warm.  It's now Spring.  Just a month or two late.  In fact, yesterday, it was in the 90's, while just 2 short weeks ago some  spots in this fine state of mine got a foot of snow. 

And, because it got warm, suddenly the grooming clients are coming out of the woodwork.  The dogs that normally get shaved in March are now filthy, likely tick infested and badly in need of a haircut.  We now will catch up on 2 months of slow season, all in one month. 

I'm happy for the work.  However, I just don't believe that having to wait 6 whole days (now more like 10 days) to get your dog in for a haircut will kill you.  (or the dog, for that matter)  The DRAMA!  The EXCUSES! The BEGGING.  I can only do what I can do.  I do take on more dogs, obviously, however if I take on too many, my work will suffer, and I will burn out.  So, I limit the dogs I do and the hours I work. 

Sainted Receptionist S, told  me about a client who had it all when telling her why she  "HAD" to get in before this weekend.

First, the excuse: "I know I should have called sooner, but I've been busy at work and didn't have time to call".  Guess what?  D is busy at work too... causing her not to have time to groom your dog. 

Next up, the begging:  "Tell her I'll pay ANYTHING, if she will get me in!"  Guess what.. I don't believe it.. you will give me the same small tip you always do (which is nice, don't get me wrong, but Anything? Really?)  Side note:  Once, years ago I actually did take on a new client who told me they'd pay double if I'd just get their dog in.  They actually tipped me the full price of the groom.  Nice.  Not really OK, though on my part.. I had a waiting list of people I should've/could've called.  I had a moment of weakness, sue me.

And finally, the dramatic REASON they really had to get in.  "My boyfriend is getting a new puppy this weekend, and I want my dog to look and feel his best to meet her"  REALLLY??? I don't think so.  She's on the waiting list, and I will do the dog if I get a cancellation, but fitting her in is not a huge priority.  The dog may have to meet his new roommate needing his bangs trimmed.

Truth is, I have rearranged my schedule to help keep up with this unusually busy time.  I had a dentist's appointment on Friday.. I moved it.  I have a maintenance check on my appliances.. I won't be keeping that appointment either.  It's what has to be done, I'll work it out. 

Should you find yourself in a bind, and realize you've called to late to get your precious pup in here are my tips to help you sway your groomer to see things your way.

  • First of all, be a good client.  This means your dog gets groomed regularly, and is in general good shape.  We can't fit your dog in if it's always a mess and takes many hours to groom, it's just not possible.
  • It really helps to have a well-behaved dog.  If I have to fight with your bratty diva, I'm not going to add to my already exhausting day.
  • Sorry to say, but TIP your groomer.  Especially if they fit you in.  Call me greedy, but if I break my back to fit your dog in due to your disorganized schedule, I'd like to think you'd reward me for it.  If you are always a good tipper, you go to the front of the line, my friend. (again, not probably nice, but this blog is about truth, no?)
  • Be a nice person!!  If you are a crabby complainer.. you will wait.   If you are extra nice, you may not even have to tip.   I actually do understand not everyone has the funds to tip. 
  •  Be flexible.  If I fit you in, give me some extra time to do the job.  Others that made their appointment ahead of time, should and will get the early go homes.
  • DO NOT tell me that you have already called everyone else in town and no one can get you in (even if that is true).  That does not make me want to help you.  That makes me think that even if I do get you in, next time you will just go right back to someone else.  I am much more likely to help a loyal customer.  No body wants to hear they are sloppy seconds.
  • If you want to be put on our waiting list, you should still make an appointment for the next open day, just in case you don't get in.  If you refuse (without a valid reason, such as, leaving town for good after that date), we can only assume, you are trying to get in everywhere, and it's not that important that I groom your dog.
  • IF I do rearrange my schedule and fit you in, don't no-show on me.  (true story)  If you try to call at the end of the day, saying that you totally forgot, and still really need to get in before the weekend.. end of the line, my friend.  You just lost your opportunity.
  • If you need your dog to be groomed because it's in your wedding or grad pictures.. well.. maybe you knew about that ahead of time?  Think, people!
  • And finally, LEARN from your mistake.  Realize you may need to plan ahead in the future. 
I understand that life happens sometimes, and sometimes it really is an emergency.  We accommodate these people the best we can.  If only most of them just understood that we aren't just taking breaks and eating bon-bons back there. 

Currently, between J and I there are 4 appointments left before Memorial Day weekend.  I predict they are filled by 11 AM tomorrow.  Watch out, then the real begging will begin! It will be all my fault that Bingo looked shaggy at the family barbeque.  Thank goodness for the receptionists, who are so diplomatic in the face of so much whining.  I appreciate them so much!! If I had to take these calls my self , I'd never get anything done!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Weird stuff

My job is never boring.  If you have read much of this blog, you already know that.  People have strange requests.  They do strange things with their dogs.  They are just odd.  I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course. 

Right now we are in the middle of a very late spring in my area.  The snow is almost gone.. it's May 1st, for crying out loud!  The lakes are still frozen.  Fishing opener is in less than 2 weeks.  Some lakes still have 30 inches of ice on them.  The high was 45 degrees today.    This makes my income go down.

Why?  A couple of reasons. #1 because people think they can't get the dog  groomed if it's cold out.  They might freeze to death.  We had 2 warm days in a row, and I shaved 2 Golden Retrievers and at least 5 Springers.  What are those dogs doing now? Freezing?  I wonder if people think I'm cruel.  My dogs don't get shaved, even in the summer.. won't they die of heat stroke??   I don't think so.    People are starting to come around (or get desperate).  In any given day, we can have 1/2 our clients say "give him a summer trim, I think it's going to get warm soon", and the other 1/2 will say "leave him long.. he'll freeze".  Sigh.  Also, we rely greatly on seasonal residents.  Guess what?  They are smart enough to stay in FloridaArizonaTexasNewMexico until it gets warm.  If it was nice out, and the lakes were open, they'd have had their dogs groomed twice by now.  Oh well, this too shall pass. Watch out when it finally gets warm and stays warm.. the schedule will be crazy.

Weird stuff people do with their dogs:
I have a a client with a breed that is going to weigh close to 90 lbs at adulthood, and she still lets him jump into her arms at 6 months of age.  REally, people, think about it!  Hope she has a strong back.

We have a client who says her sibling dogs cannot walk on a leash, or even be on a leash.  They were "rescues" who were tied up when she adopted them, so they have been traumatized by having something around their necks.  She got these dogs at the age of 7 weeks!  I don't think they remember it (nor do I even think they were ever tied up)! She has been told many times that she must have them on leash when inside our facility.  In the past she has let them run willy-nilly around the place.. which is fine, until some Rottweiler decides to take a chunk out of one of them.  She now has her Dad meet her when she brings the dogs, then he carries one, and she carries one.  God forbid she just take them in one at a time.  Wow.

Weird requests:
Today I had a guy tell me to shave down his Springer, but leave her some "wings" so she still looks like a spaniel.  Wings??  I'm thinking, Feathers?  Skirt?  No.. he wanted some left on the ears.  Alrighty then.

Just plain funny stuff:
Today a client brought in her dog along with her 3 year old daughter.  As the dog was handed over to me, it became apparent that the girl was not happy.  Her face got sad, then just plain MAD.  "I DON'T WANT MOLLY TO STAY HERE!!!"  No matter how much we told her that Molly needed to get pretty today, or offer to let her choose Molly's bow color would make her happy.  She left crying.  When the owner came back to get the dog, she said that her daughter had cried all the way to preschool. When she picked her up from preschool, the teacher asked "What happened to Molly???"  Apparently this had been going on all day.  The client assured her that Molly had just gone for a haircut, nothing horrible. Poor kid.. can you imagine the sad story she was telling everyone at preschool?

Just plain dumb:
A client who had a dog in a very high maintenance scissored "show-type trim" had him groomed by J for the 1st time.  After a day of sweating it out, and working hard on the dog, who looked beautiful, we were holding our breath to see if she'd like the groom, and accept the price that was charged.  She had told J all about the horrible other groomings the dog had in the past.. that is never a good omen.  Surprisingly, she said she loved the groom, and gave J a large tip.  (another surprise).  She called yesterday to speak with a manager regarding her "bad experience with the groom".  The catch?  The dog was groomed a MONTH ago!!!!!!!!! NOW you are complaining?? What the heck?? I swear some people time these late complaints to get a free groom when the dog is due for the next haircut.  Not going to happen this time.

And finally, just plain crazy:
We had a boarding pet come in with his own nightlight.  It was in the shape of a cross.   Are cats afraid of the dark?