Today I lost a friend. This little dog had been my customer for many years. He was different than many of my grooming dogs. When it was time for him to come in for a grooming, much of the staff was not thrilled.
Here's the thing...except for his owner, Rusty only liked me. He was nasty, I mean really, really nasty. He didn't want anyone to touch him, really even look at him, especially not the hospital staff. Years ago, his owner switched Veterinarians, for a short period of time, and decided to try their groomer as well. The groomer refused to do him anymore, unless he was anesthetized (I've certainly been there, with other dogs). He was brought back to me, where he and I had "an understanding". I respected Rusty. I had seen what he was capable of, many times. However, for some reason, he would let me do what I needed to do. I knew all his quirks and of course, he would still need to be muzzled for part of his grooming. (I'm brave, but not stupid)
His owner, appreciated me immensely for dealing with his dog. Some customers that own difficult dogs, don't realize how much extra work these dogs are for us, but he knew. He would always jokingly ask to see my hands to make sure I still had all my fingers, as he handed over my tip. I know how much he loved that dog. It is certain to be very empty house for him tonight.
Today, I did one last favor for this dog who made me feel "special". I held him for the technician who gave him a sedative, so he would be peacefully asleep when they euthanized him. I wanted his last few moments to be with someone he trusted.
Rest in Peace, Rusty. I'll miss you, old boy.