Monday, November 29, 2010

Nice present.

Today a client was in to see the Dr.  as well as getting a grooming.  The owner made a point to tell me that her dog was getting his ears cleaned by the Dr. "for Christmas".  I'm sure the dog did appreciate it, as he did have an infection, but really.... for Christmas???

Friday, November 26, 2010

Typical Day after Thanksgiving.

I work in a place that has boarding services.  Holidays are of course our busiest times.  This year was no exception. 

When others are out shopping on Black Friday, looking for the best deals, I'm bathing and grooming dogs.  It's the perfect situation.  Many of those dogs that are boarding are going home on Friday (today) or sometime this weekend.  It's the perfect time to get in a grooming before they go home, very convenient to the client (as well as to me).  The dogs are already there, ready for me to start bathing.  Of course a few were scheduled appointments, brought out by the day off of work many owners had.  Sometimes it's hard to schedule a groom when you are working all week. 

Today there was 4 Labradors, 2 which had been groomed Tuesday, but were back, since they decided to roll in something really disgusting. (their owner was NOT smiling).  Then there were 2 Springer spanieals, 2 Dachshunds,  2 Springer Spaniels, 1 Pomeranian 1 Spaniel Mix, 1 Lhasa Apso, 1 Shih Tzu, 1 Pomeranian Mix, 1 Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and finally 1 Golden Retriever.  What a crazy day.  I do love days like that though, just the right mix of haircuts and brush/baths to make it a day that is workable. 

Now for a relaxing weekend...I can't wait!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

Today is the Monday before Thanksgiving.  In a prior post, I explained to you that many of my clients are unware that a holiday is approaching fast.   Today my grooming schedule was fairly light, certainly not too strenuous. 

Tomorrow the phones will start ringing at 8:05 AM.  By 9:37 AM the few appointments I have available, as well as those for my co-worker will be full (and there aren't very many left).  By Noon the whiners will start calling.   "But Thursday is Thanksgiving" (Really?)  "We've got a house full of company coming."  "The dog is really shaggy"  (perhaps because he hasn't been groomed since July??)  Our receptionists are saints for patiently fielding these endless calls.   The calls will continue until Noon on Wednesday, when they will have finally given up the chance of getting into ANYWHERE to get their dog groomed. 

Now, I, like most professional groomers, work on commission.  That's it.  No hourly wage at all.  So, obviously the more dogs I groom, the more money I make.  It's this time of year that I wish I had a few more hours in the day (or at least a few more days before Thanksgiving) and a couple of extra hands.  I'll cram appointments in the best I can, but I can only do so much in a 9 hour day. 

I guess the point of this post is that I will be too exhausted to blog for a few, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  By the way:  I'm thankful for my wonderful job, where there is never a dull moment!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just a suggestion.

If you feel the need to trim your dog's "bangs" so it can see, this may be a small clue that your dog is actually DUE for a haircut.  The hair growing over your dog's eyes, actually doesn't grow any faster than the rest of his hair.    However, if you need to trim his face, because there is just no way you can get him into the groomer, and he will likely run into a wall if you don't, PLEASE, just cut the hair hanging down in front of the eyes, not the entire top of the head down to the skin.  I can't fix that...when you finally do bring him in.

Ok, once in a while I do cut my own bangs..but that is different, right?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your bad planning is not my emergency.

I feel like most holidays are pretty well advertised.  Somehow they always seem to take people by surprise.  Not quite a week until Thanksgiving, and it's already starting.  Mrs. Procrastinator calls at Noon today.  "I need to get my dog in this afternoon for grooming"  Receptionist: "we are full for appointments today, but we could get you in tomorrow"  Mrs. P:  "OH NO!  If I can't get in today, then I won't be able to come in until after Thanksgiving."  Sorry Mrs. P...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

False Advertising

Many times I have to fix home haircuts, many of which involve some bloodshed for the poor animal.  I get it,  that to many people, shaving down a dog seems very easy.  "What's the big deal, just shave it down!?"  Surprisingly, it does take some skill, and more importantly, the correct equipment. 

One client (who had 4 dogs, so I certainly understand why she would want to save some money) thought that she'd buy a $40.00 clipper from the local big box store and give the dogs haircuts.  She soon realized that she was in over her head, and called to make an emergency fix appointment for the first victim.  Luckily, she hadn't caused him any harm, but he did look pretty funny with 1/2  a haircut, most of which was shaved down to surgical blade length.  She came in for her appointment in tears, saying, "It said on the box: saves you time, saves you money!"  "It took me half the day to do this, and it still isn't finished, and now I have to pay you to fix it."  "Talk about false advertising!"  I felt bad for her, and fixed the dog to the best of my ability. (some of it just wasn't fixable, luckily hair grows)  I'm guessing the new clipper went in the garbage, or on the next garage sale, an expensive lesson, all the way around.

Just FYI..I will give people suggestions if they ask what they could use to trim their dogs at home.  I get it that money is tight.  I feel that if I give them good info, they will still recommend me to others, as well as come back when they decide it's just easier for me to groom their dog (which honestly, is usually what happens).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lost in Translation

As a groomer, I have learned a second language.  It's the language of pet owners dropping their pets off for a grooming appointment.  It is extremely cryptic.  Here are just a few examples:

"I brush him as often as I can" translates to:  I don't brush my dog

"The kids were supposed to brush him" =  No one brushes the dog, but let's blame the kids.

"I don't know where these matts came from, he was all brushed out last night" =  ???  (Seriously, we get this one ALL the time!)

"He's never bitten anyone" = He's great until you try to touch him.

 "She can be a little nippy" = The last 2 groomers we tried, now refuse to let us come back.

 "She gets really cold if you trim her hair too short" = I know she is really matted, but I like her left long.

 "I've been grooming him myself!" = He will no longer allow me to do anything with him, so I thought I'd take him to a professional.

"That awful groomer I brought him to last time SHAVED him!"  = My dog was horribly matted/hadn't been groomed in a year,  and the groomer had no choice.    (I realize there is a chance that it really was a bad groomer, but many times that is not the case)

Stay tuned for more..I get them every day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Clueless Clients

Mrs. Designer Dog  has a Pomeranian/Poodle cross, who looks more like a Pom.  She wants to breed this dog and wondered if we could help find her a suitable male.    I ask (my 1st mistake) what type of dog she would be looking for.  She responds, quite annoyed with me:  "A Pomeranian, of course, I'm certainly not going to breed her to some MUTT!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Did his owner ask for that???

I am going to try to educate, as well as entertain on this blog.  Sorry...I just feel I must clear up some misconceptions about what I do for a living. 

Case in point..Mr. Mohawk.  We get requests for mohawks frequently (even on cats!).   People have  a vision of what haircut their pet would look good in.  We try to advise them when certain things will look ridiculous, but the bottom line is, it's their dog.  Not mine.  As long as they are paying me, and what they are asking for will not be painful or uncomfortable for the dog, I really have to oblige them, to the best of my ability.

John Q. Public thinks I obviously don't know what a certain breed should look like, when they see some of my grooming clients on the street.  When in fact, I actually do.  I went to a grooming school, where all we learned, is breed standard haircuts, and a few "pet" trims.  I also have shown dogs for many years, and try to keep up with the changing styles in the breed rings.  It wasn't until I got a job in the "real world" that I realized the public just doesn't care what their dog is supposed to look like. 

People insist I shave dogs that should not really be shaved, and want me to leave dogs long and natural that would be adorable in a haircut.  The most common plea I get?  "Don't make him look like a Poodle".  Now, this isn't just for actual Poodles, I hear it for nearly all breeds (Shelties, Schnauzers, Pomeranians) and mix breeds, when in fact there would be no way I could possibly make their dog look like a Poodle.  The worst part is, 99% of them don't have a clue what a Poodle should look like (and I'm not referring to the "show cut" either)

The flip side is the times I can't give people what they want.  I actually can't make your dog look just like the multi-Best in Show dog that you saw on Westminster last's just not going to happen.  Also, if your Shih Tzu hasn't been groomed in 9 months and hasn't seen a brush since I used one on it, I can't won't leave it long.  I am not in the business of causing pain to animals.  I will shave your dog, or you can leave.  Those are your choices.  I have no magical tools.  I have a brush and a comb, just like you do.

So, next time you see a "crazy" haircut going down the street, try not to judge the might not be their fault.  Oh, and in case you were wondering..I've never suggested anyone's dog would look great in a mohawk! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bucket List?

I thought I'd start with one of my all-time favorites.  Many times, as groomers, we are forced to give haircuts we are not proud of.  Clients have their own ideas about what would look good on their precious pups.  In this case, a dog came in with the following  note accompanying him.

The name of the dog is of course hidden to protect the poor guy from huge embarrassment.  Here is the finished product.  I repeat, SOMETIMES we are forced to do haircuts we are not proud of!

Sorry, Dude!

A New Blog

As a professional pet groomer for more than 20 years, I've heard every excuse in the book.  Literally.  My clients have excuses for everything, from why they are late, to why their dog is horribly matted and dirty.  Many of the things my clients say may seem a bit unbelievable.  I can only tell you it's all true.  Every last bit of it.  Some of the stories you will read here are my own, some have happened to my co-workers.  Names, of course, have been changed to protect the semi-innocent.   All that said, I love my job, don't let my sarcasm fool you.  Every single day, amidst the anal glands and nasty, biting dogs, there are sweet puppies and kind, loyal clients. 

I have no idea who will read this blog..maybe no one will, but these stories are just too hilarious not to share!  Enjoy.