Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Just like that, it's over.

This year Christmas rush was 2 full weeks of mad chaos.  Normally it doesn't last quite 10 days, but since J had a part of that 1st week off, I got to reap the benefits. 

The schedule tends to fill slowly, fooling us into thinking "where is everyone??".  Then, it hits.  Grooming appointments go quickly, when everyone realizes there is a major holiday coming on, and people will expect the dog to smell nice.  The schedule fills in hours, reminding me of a Lady Gaga concert selling out in 15 minutes.  Then we start a waiting list.  There is invariably people who don't respect the fact that they actually got an appointment for before Christmas.  Like it's no big deal.  They no show.  They don't call.  They drive me crazy. I should also mention that this year the calendar made Christmas fall on a weekend.  This is a dream year for me.  I don't get paid for the holidays my place of business is closed.. this year that wasn't an issue.  This beautiful placement of Christmas also gave me FIVE full days before  to groom dogs.  People don't really like to try and keep their pets clean over a weekend before a holiday, so when Christmas falls on a Tuesday.. everyone fights for that Monday appointment.  I gave up working Christmas Eve years ago.  Too many crabby clients, no tips to speak of , and usually some dog who hadn't been groomed for 8 months managed to get in.

The first week I was ready. GAME ON.  I went to work with a great attitude, excited to be so busy and making money.  After the previous weeks of working only 1/2  the day, due  to everyone trying to wait til closer to Christmas, I was more than ready to start making money again.  When you've been doing a mere 6-7 dogs a day, and then go to 13 to 15.. it's a bit of a shock.  If I'm lucky the first few are in by 7:30, that really helps me get a jump on the day.  By the end of the day, I'm tired. Very tired.  We have a running joke that "after the next dog, I'm going to go to the bathroom".  Not kidding. We just don't have time.  Lunch?  It's a piece of chocolate or a Christmas cookie brought in by clients.  It's all good.. it's only for 2 weeks.

The second week was a bit tougher.  I had not had much of a laid back weekend, which really would've helped.  I started taking ibuprofen on Monday.. before bed, then again in the AM.. standing that long is tiring.  There also needs to be a perfect mix of dogs getting only a brush and bath (labradors, beagles, chihuahuas), difficult haircuts, and easy shave downs to make a 15 dog day work.  Also, it helps if each and every dog is well-behaved.  There were a couple of days during week 2 that were not ideal.  One dog has an accident and has to be re-bathed, can screw the whole system up.  Stress. Sadly, I had a Dr.'s appointment that week, where they found my blood pressure was a bit high.  Huh? I wonder why. 

All this craziness makes it a bit hard to enjoy Christmas.. only because you just want to sleep for 18 hours straight.  I didn't help matters much by going out with friends 3 nights during the Christmas crazytown weeks.  I need to have a life too, but maybe a different week would've been better.  All that aside, I did have a nice Christmas, I hope you all did as well. 

This Monday, December 26th.. it was over.  There were some dogs in our boarding facility that still needed grooming before they went home, and a few that didn't get in before Christmas who were still in need.  Mostly, we are back to 1/2 days again.  Heading into the great abyss of January.  Where it's either too cold to get your pet's hair cut, or you have spent every dime you had on Christmas, and there is nothing left for something as trivial as the dog's haircut.  Once February hits, we'll be back to normal again. This year I have something in my personal life forcing me to take a week off soon.  Yep, I planned it for January.. nothing else going on anyway.  That said, I've got more blog entries in my head, and I'll have plenty of time to type them now.

Until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm a Winnah!

I thought you all would love to hear about a blog I read.  It's called Shaggy Dog Stories  Rants, Raves and Doggie Stuff Galore. The blog focuses on all things dog.  You will find out all about new products to try, and find out how the blog writer liked them.  The really fun part about this blog is the many cool give-a-ways they have.  I have actually won 2 of these, but since the most recent one was grooming related, I thought I better tell you about it. 

As I was backing out of my garage this morning I noticed I had neglected to find the Fed Ex package propped up against the "people" door (ususally I just use my garage door opener to get in and out) the night before.  So, I scooped it up and brought it to work.  I'm lucky it wasn't frozen solid, but it was really well-packed so it was just a bit cold.  It was very convenient timing, since I was bathing my own 2 dogs today, so I got to try it out right away.

Here is what arrived from EO Products. We aren't talking little sample bottles either!

Lavender and Aloe Shampoo and Conditioner and Citrus Mint detangler

EO Products has lots of natural and organic human products as well. Check them out!  The scents were AMAZING.  I know I should be all about the chemistry of a shampoo, but I'm a sucker for great smelling shampoos (for me and my dogs).  I especially loved the citrus and mint scent of the detangler.  YUM!  The shampoo cleaned my dirty dogs very well (it was a good test, as they have been running agility in a dirt floor arena every week), and I was especially happy with the fact that I could dilute it quite a bit and still got lots of suds.  The detangler I think works pretty well, but the spray nozzle is pretty small, and with my hairy dogs, it didn't cover much with each spray.  So, I kind of used it as a perfume. :)  I'm going to try and put it into one of my bigger spray bottles and dilute it down a bit. (it's almost a lotion)
River didn't think it was necessary to try any new products today.


2 Clean Dogs!

Thank you Shaggy Dog Stories and EO Products!

You can also find Shaggy Dog Stories on Facebook! 

 Be sure you visit.  You could be a Winnah! too!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Spellcheck, please.

I'll admit it, I have a bit of an obsession, quite possibly an unhealthy one, with correct spelling.  Maybe it's the fact that I have lived for my whole life with a name spelled in an uncommon way.   My Father convinced my Mother that it was the correct spelling.  Considering I was born before such great inventions as the epidural, perhaps she was just too exhausted to fight it.  So, I spent my entire life correcting people. 

People like to spell their pet's names in odd ways.  Sometimes, they think it's the "cool" or maybe just unusual way to spell it.  Kind of like the girl I went to highschool with, whose name was Julie, she signed all her papers "Jewel Lee".  That's cool, right?  Some of the time, though, I do believe they just don't know how to spell the chosen name.  I could be wrong, though.  Maybe I'm just overly sensitive about it.  The dogs certainly don't care. As long as I can correctly pronounce the dog's name, I have nothing to complain about.  Yet, I feel the need to tell you all about it.

The dog's name that spurred this blog post , was pronounced "Logan", but in truth it was spelled "Low Gun"  I'm not kidding.  Does this have some hidden meaning?  Anyone??  It is a hunting breed...  but still, what would make you spell it that way?  We also have one that the owners' call "Tootie".. but they spelled it "2D".   It makes that dog pretty unusual, as we probably don't have any other pets with a number in the spelling of their name.  Then there is Cuyan, which is how they spell "Cayenne"  We actually have the correct spelling in parenthesis so we don't inadvertently call the dog "Cooyan" by mistake.  It's just uncomfortable to have to say "how do you pronounce his name?" when we 1st meet.  That is what I do, though, rather than butcher it. 

That is my rant of the week.  Now I better press that spell-check button.  It would be highly embarrassing if I had any typos in this blog post.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quote of the day

One of the most touchy subjects we deal with is telling clients that their pets are overweight.  They don't want to hear it, and they sure don't want to do what needs to be done to fix it. For most people, feeding their dog less, just isn't an option.

Today, a couple came in with their large breed dog, who actually has been on a diet.  The wife proudly told us that her dog had lost 2 pounds. 

The husband, apparently unimpressed, promptly took the wind right out of her sails.
"That dog losing 2 pounds, is like throwing a lawn chair off a cruise ship!" 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A day in pictures

On this particular day, I had plenty of dogs to groom, but most of them were not getting haircuts, so I had time to take lots of pictures.  Short-haired breed owners love our groomings, as we can cut down on shedding substantially.  Usually, however,  I don't do quite this many on one day.

New ribbon came today! The clients are going to love the new patterns.   We needed a few new holiday patterns and the red, but we ordered some more fun ones.   My favorites are the dragonflies and the ladybugs. 

First up, we have this little Poodle mix.  This is essentially the same haircut he has been getting for years.  Today, his owner had instructions, no idea why.  She said, "I don't want him to look like a Poodle you know, so be sure you leave his ears long so he looks like a Schnauzer" (??)  I don't argue.. I guess she's never seen a Schnauzer(?)  or even a Poodle (?)  I'm just happy she liked her groom.

Next?  Rub a Dub Dub, Shiba Inu in the tub!

Handsome Labrador Mix, #1.  This guy actually was a victim of a local tornado, he has a pretty large scar on his back, but was adopted by a very nice family.  It was his 1st groom ever!

Yellow Lab #1, looking a bit sad. Poor guy, I guess he had other plans for today.

Yellow Lab #2, distinguisted in grey.

Lab Mix #2, happy girl!

Shih Tzu Boy...

Shih Tzu Girl. Her tongue is always sticking out.

And, Mr. Black Labrador.

I forgot to take a picture of the final dog, another Lab, but Chocolate this time.

It was a full day of work, just not much variety! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Right under the bus.

Today we are going to learn about throwing your groomer under the bus.  It's not OK.  Don't try it when you bring your dog to me.  It doesn't work to suck up to me that way.  It's a pretty rare occasion that I'll take your side.

Me:  I see we groomed your dog a few years ago.  (a few years ago was 2005 in case you wondered)  What kind of haircut would you like on her today?

Client:  A cute one. 

Me:  Silence, hoping for more details... none came.

Me: Do you like her in a cocker trim?'

Client:  YES.  The groomer I usually go to (translation: couldn't get me in quickly enough for an appointment) always just shaves her down.  She says she is too matted, so it's always short.  I don't like that trim.
(right under the bus)

Me:  (not fooled by such talk) Well, sometimes if the coat is too matted, there is no other choice.  It looks like today we can save her coat though. (yep, cause your last haircut was a shave)

Client:  OH good.  I just want her to look cute.

Me:  So, should we still trim some on her legs, so it's a little less upkeep? (since you never brush her)

Client: Yes, maybe that would be best.  She does like to play in the wet grass, and there will be snow soon.

This dog had an insanely thick coat.  I can easily see why once it got to a length not much longer than it was today, it would've been matted beyond help.  I did make the dog look "cute" today.  I make no promises for the next haircut, because now, it's long.   Even with the trim I gave her, it's now much longer than it was when the last groomer shaved it  had no other choice but to shave it.  Now, when she returns and I have to shave it, I'm going to be the one under that big yellow bus.  I did make an attempt at educating her at go home time.  It went something like this:

Client: Oh, it's perfect, I love it, she is so cute! 

Me:  If you like this cut on her, it will take some upkeep at home and more frequent groomings.  Her coat is very thick, and I can see how it would matt easily.  I recommend she comes back to see me in 6- 8 weeks.  You may be able to push it to the 8 week mark by doing alot of brushing at home.

Client:  Oh, ok.  Will it still cost the same if I bring her that often?

Me:  Yes, that is the price we charge.  Today she was in very good condition.   If the coat is matted we will charge extra.  Can I make you an appointment for 6 weeks? (I chose 6 weeks due to the fact that she didn't respond to my brushing comment at all) Or, we could call you in 6 weeks to remind you, that it's nearly time for a groom. 

Client:  No... I will just call to get an appointment when it's time.  (translation:  3-4 months from now)

I get it that sometimes groomers do make mistakes,  I certainly have.   Maybe some groomers skills aren't the best.    Most of the time, however, I do not believe that is the case. They are getting blamed for haircuts that they had no other choice to do.  Blamed for something that could've been avoided by actually brushing their dog, and/or bringing them in for grooming more often.  We have a few clients that we have to proactively do shorter trims than the owners like, even though we actually could've left it longer, just so we have any hope of leaving any hair on the dog next time.  Sad that we have to be sneaky that way, but it's protecting all of us, dog, groomer and client. 

I wonder how many times I have been thrown under the bus...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Uncomfortable Situations

I believe I have admitted it to you.  I have a serious problem with recognizing people.  I'm quite sure I could NEVER pick out the correct criminal suspect in a police line-up.  I actually have decent memory skills.  I can remember haircuts I did 2 years ago, I remember birthdays, and remember the words to songs(for the most part).    That said, I have never been good with faces or really any details about people.  If you get kidnapped while you are with me... I may not actually be able to help out the police with what color shirt you were wearing that day, or what color your eyes are.  Sorry..

This can be a huge problem when I'm out in "the real world" away from work.  People find me in the grocery store, or at the mall.  They know me.  I have no freaking clue who they are.  I feel really bad about that.  So, I have learned (as well all have to at one time or another) to fake it.  I smile, ask how they are, and more importantly how their pets are.  If I can just get out of them what their pet's name is without letting on I have no hope of remembering their face, I'm golden.  Once I hear the pets name, it all comes back to me. 

I of course will remember the pet's name every time.  If pets were out shopping by themselves.. I'd be able to greet them by name every single time!  Give me 4 seemingly identical Shih Tzus, and I can tell you their names.  Sad, right??  I blame it on the fact that I spend a grand total of about 4 minutes with each human client that comes in.  I will spend at least 3-4 hours with their pet.  At least that is what I keep telling myself.

I leave you with my latest meeting with a client at a local art fair.  My facebook friends have heard this already.  Thankfully she spit out the dog's name immediately, so I was doing well.  She was quite excited to see me and wanted to introduce me to her Mother, a woman in her 70's.  She told me "This is "Molly's" Grandma!!"  Her Mother responded to this by telling me "It's OK that she calls me a dog's Grandma, because we all know what they call a dog's Mother".  I guess we do all know that.  I hope that I kept a fairly straight face when I told her "I guess you have a point".  HA!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

People trainers.

It never ceases to amaze me, just how intelligent dogs are.  I'm not talking about highly trained obedience, hunting or agility dogs.  I'm talking about dogs that no one has ever bothered to train. 

The story I always tell in the puppy classes I teach is a great example of this.  A Toy Poodle owner came in one day saying she wanted to buy a muzzle for her dog.  This dog certainly was no prize for grooming, and I did have to muzzle him, but it's rare that an owner wants to muzzle their own dog.  I had to ask what was going on.  She said "I have to buy a muzzle for him, so I can do my laundry".  Ok... I certainly needed more info.  "Every time I fold the warm laundry from the dryer on the couch, he jumps on it and trys to bite me if I want to move it".  Wow.  This dog weighed all of 5 pounds.  As I tell my students, he didn't just wake up one day and decide to guard the laundry.  It started with a snarl when the owner walked by the dog's food dish.  Then, he snapped at her when she tried to move him from her recliner.  Little by little, these dogs take over the house.  Most people laugh when I tell this story.  I mean really... scared of a tiny dog???   It sounds silly, but a small dog bite is still painful, so it's no surprise that she gave that reaction.  I try to teach my puppy owners to watch for the warning signs of a household takeover.  It happens before they know what hits them. 

Today, J groomed a small dog she has groomed many times before.  The dog had some pretty large matts in her tail and ears, and J was barely able to save them.  She mentioned this to the owners, and requested that they take some extra brushing time in these spots at home, to avoid having to shave them off all together.  The owners admitted that they knew about the tangles, however, brushing would not be happening with this dog.  Turns out the little brat turned nasty on them every time they tried.  In fact, they said that now when they even bring the brush out the dog snarls at them. 

Here's why I was impressed with this smart dog.  J had NEVER seen any agression in this dog.. not even when brushing out large matts, which probably was somewhat painful.  She was so surprised that this dog would ever show that kind of attitude.  So, this dog not only knew how to train her owners, she also knew which humans would not be good candidates for her training program!  I know it's not funny if you own a dog like this.. but it really makes me laugh!  I've got to give the dog credit. 

Moral of this blog post?  Please don't let your dog train you!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween is over, people.

My magic wand went back in the closet.

Believe me, I wish I had a magic wand, or some magical potion.  How about that "nose wiggle" thing Samantha had on Bewitched? That would be cool.  I'd certainly be the richest groomer EVER, if I had any of that stuff.

Lots of people think I have some special equipment; brushes, combs, cremes, lotions, you name it.  This special "groomer only " stuff works on matting, and tangles, not to mention bad home haircuts.

I wish. 

Sadly,  we are often heard saying "my brush doesn't work any better than yours does".  If people don't put in the work on a long coat, I can't save what's too far gone.  If you chop the hair above your dog's eyes back to scalping length, I can't perform a miracle.. it's going to have to grow back. 

Here's a great example of a call I took the other day.  Apparently someone had given them my name as a miracle worker, and I apologize to them that I couldn't be more help.

Client:  My dog rolled in something, and it stained his long white coat.  What can I use to get it out?

Me:  What do you think it is? Have you tried bathing him at home?

C:  Not sure, it's brown.  Yes, I've bathed him multiple times, even using laundry bluing, and nothing works.  I looked it up on the internet and they recommend a mixture of peroxide and woolite, do you think that would work??

Me:  Peroxide sounds like it would be a bit harsh.   Woolite could work, it would be worth trying, but be sure to heavily condition your dog's coat afterward. 

C: But the internet said it's the mixture of the peroxide and woolite that actually gets rid of the stain.  They also said it needs to be peroxide used by human stylists.

Me: Well, I guess it's worth a try, but I've never used anything like that, so I don't know how it would be on your dog's skin. 

C:  I tried to get the peroxide from a beauty supply store, but they won't let me buy it, because I don't have a cosmetology license.  I tried to get my hairdresser to buy it for me, but she won't.  I even tried to get them to bathe my dog, but they won't bath dogs at their shop.  <no kidding>  Do you think that peroxide would work?

Me:  I don't know, I've never used it. (maybe she think's I have a cosmetology license??)  My guess is that you have a very badly stained coat and nothing I have here will work to get it out.  It will probably have to wear out, or you may need to cut it and start over if it's really bad.

C:  But, what do you use on white poodles and show dogs???

Me:  If they are stained, I haven't found much that works that well.

C: Well, what do the show dog owners do when this happens? 

Me: (now getting a bit less patient)  Show dog people don't let their dogs run around outside and roll in things like that.  They protect their dog's coats.

C:  Oh, well, I hoped you would have something to give me that would work.

M: I'm sorry... Good luck..

I wish I could've helped, I really do.  However, anything I could have sold her wouldn't have worked.  I'm not in the practice of just taking people's money, when I know they won't be satisfied.  After all her bathing at home, I was sure any products I use, just would not have worked.

Yet again, no magic wand.  Bummer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Delivery Men

I'd like to take this time to encourage all owners of pets being dropped off for grooming to give the person actually in charge of the drop off itself a bit of information.

I know, I make fun of the notes I get sometimes.  But seriously, don't leave your delivery guy out of the loop.  In my experience at least 96 % of the clueless "just dropping off" clients are men... it's just a fact, that's why we are calling them deliver "men" in this case.   2% are teenagers who just got their drivers license and are willing to drive ANYWHERE, even if it's just to take the dog to the groomers.  That leaves 2% of friends and neighbors and the occasional wife who know absolutely nothing about the dog.

It's classic.  I ask the following simple questions, which generally get these responses.

How would you like her haircut done today?
1.   Blank stare and mild look of panic.
2.   Um... You guys are supposed to know that.
3.  I'm just the delivery guy.  (yes, many of them actually say that actually say that.)

What time will your wife/girlfriend/Mom be back to pick her up?
1.  See #1 above.
2.  Some time this afternoon. (great.. so could be 12:01pm or 6 pm or anywhere in between, really helpful)
3.  Didn't she tell you when she made the appointment????  (If she did, I probably would'n't be asking)

Sometimes, I think women do this just to mess with the guys.  Like when they send their wives to the hardware store for a box of nails.  They are always met with "what type?, how many?, what are you using them for??"  That's always fun.

So, I'm left to try and figure out what the wife "would've wanted" had she been here to tell me.  Sometimes, they are afraid to even guess what their wife  wants... so out comes the cell phone which after dialing, they hand off to me.  The wife either has specific instructions.. or she says "I TOLD HIM WHAT I WANTED"... yeah... I think he forgot.      Most of the delivery guys are in a huge rush to get the heck out of there, so you are going to have right around 45 seconds to ask the correct questions.  Most of them are just pushing the leash at you, and backing away. 

Sometimes, these delivery guys try to fake it.  They recover quickly from the blank stare stage and  go on to tell us some crazy grooming instructions that we are pretty sure the wife would never agree with.  "Just shave him."  Sure... then when the wife comes home you can play dumb and say "I'm not sure why they would've shaved him".  Yes, it's happened.  So, we track down a work number and call to "double check" what instructions we were given. 

We also have another variation, where husband and wife have completely different ideas of how the dog should look.  Then they will tell us, "well, it's me dropping the dog off, so I'm going to pick the haircut today".  In most of those cases... I have to agree, but it does make me a bit nervous.  One guy had me shave the ears off the family poodle, while the wife was away on vacation.  I wonder what that homecoming was like.  Thankfully, I never heard, but the husband never dropped the dog off again.  Sometimes they do come in together and argue over who will get to choose.  I've actually had to walk away for a bit to give them time to decide, and then I'll get involved. 

So, what I'm saying is, instructional notes are OK!  I cannot guarantee they won't help fill the pages of this blog, but they are helpful.  At least send a phone # where you can be reached.. unless you really don't care how your dog looks when I'm done with her. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Golden Years

I think we can all agree that a dog's life is much too short.  I love older dogs, the gray muzzles, the sweet, knowing eyes.  Since I've been grooming for so many years, I have the privilege of knowing many dogs through all stages of their life from 6 weeks old to 18 years old.  Dogs, like humans, all age differently.  Some are like energizer bunnies, aging gracefully, acting like a pup til the day they leave this earth.  Others, are affected by their golden years much harder. 

Most of the big changes we see are in mobility.  Their joints become arthritic, and some limbs just don't work as well as they used to.  In large breeds, many have a hard time standing for long periods of time, or even getting up into a standing position.  We also see vision and hearing problems, though most of the time the owners are more worried about that, than the dog is.

The hardest cases are the ones who have forms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.  These dogs are alot like humans afflicted with Alzheimer's.  They don't always know what is going on, and can become very agitated and upset by what used to be part of a good experience for them.  Interestingly enough, sometimes we get lucky and a formerly nasty dog will "forget" he didn't like grooming, and the final years of haircuts actually go better than ever before.  The ones that make me the saddest are the dogs that were the sweetest, loving enjoyable dogs to groom, who now want no part of it.  They don't want to be touched anymore, and show us with their teeth. 

We do our best to accomodate these geriatric pets.  I wanted to touch on some do's and dont's if you have an older pet who needs grooming, as too many times, we struggle with owners on what will be best for their elderly friends.

  • Give your dog any prescribed pain medication in the morning before a grooming appointment.  We are as careful as we can be, but there will be standing involved in any groom, and as you know, they spend most of their day sleeping at home.
  • Listen to your groomer.  If they are telling you that Fluffy no longer likes her feet shaved, let them try a different trim.  A certain type of haircut is not worth putting stress on your dog.  They may not have minded it before, but now arthritis may play a part. 
  • Give the groomer as much time as possible to groom your pet.  Most people think that you should get them done quickly as the dog "doesn't like it" anymore.  Leaving them longer during a day allows more time for breaks for your dog.  We have to go extra slow with these dogs, they can't straighten out legs like they used to, and sometimes they need support to help them to stand.  Nothing is worse than having to rush an older pet's grooming.  That said, I  sometimes am forced  get senile dogs done quicker, as that is the only way to get them groomed at all.  Each case is different.
  • Get your older pet all the vet care it needs.  Dogs with rotten teeth have faces that hurt every time we try to brush them, and sometimes tumors are uncomfortable.  We see too many people stop giving medical care because "he's getting old".  Older pets need the most veterinary care they ever will in their lifetime.  

  • Try not to be too picky.  Your older pet's finished look is not always going to look as good as it did when he was young.   
  • Don't insist on keeping his hair long.  If brushing is bothering him, sometimes it's best to clip it down.  
  • Please don't avoid bringing your dog in to be groomed.  Many people think they should wait as long as possible, since it's upsetting to the dog to be at the groomers.  Actually it's harder on them when their coat has gotten out of control and matted.  More frequent grooms will in most cases make it a better experience. Also, incontinence can be a problem, keeping them clean will make them feel (and smell) much better.
  • If the sad day is coming when you plan to say goodbye to your pet, don't bring it in for one last groom the day before.  At that point, it's just not fair to the dog.  I know this seems like a silly one, but we actually get dogs in so they can "look pretty to go to heaven".  That does not make for the best day for us, either.

I hope your dogs all age gracefully, and have long lives.  They are never with us long enough.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mohawk of the Month

I am working on a few real blog posts, but thought you all deserved a MOHAWK!

This guy is revisiting the mohawk after changing back to a more traditional look for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  He just couldn't stay away from this tough guy look.

On this particular day, J and I groomed 9 Cavaliers.  This was the only one sporting a mohawk, though.  (thank goodness, as the coat isn't really the best texture for this look)

On a sad note: recently the original mohawk blog post dog passed away.  I hope he got a chance to do everything on his list.
RIP, little guy.  For those who are new to the blog here is the link to his story.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The 3 L's

That would be Long. Luxurious. Lashes.

Not my favorite.  Customers seem to be obsessed with leaving their dogs eyelashes uber-long.  Now, before you all get crazy on me, saying "but eyelashes serve a purpose".  I'm very sure that is true.  However, the lashes of an extra long variety.. that's just weird.  Kind of like those people who grow out their fingernails for 8 years, just so they can get into the Guinness Book of World Records.  Yuck.

Really, we are talking LONG lashes.  Some dog's seem to grow them extra well, and some Shih Tzus or other flat faced breeds have lashes that reach well beyond their nose.  How would you like it if your eye lashes were getting in the water dish?  Annoying, Right??

However, the whole "customer is always right" deal makes sure we go to great lengths (HA HA HA..pun intended) to keep those lashes.  It's not as easy as it sounds.  Let's start with the fact that dogs don't always hold still.  A crazy concept.. I realize.  Nothing is worse that accidentally trimming off one set of eyelashes.  Whoopsie.. we'll have to grow those back. Try explaining that to a client who has been growing those babies out for 4 years.   Then, there is the whole logistics of it.  Breeds that grow these beauties will invariably have hair that grows over the eyes.  Of course, the owner wants the dog to be able to see.  That means trimming just the eye brows.. not the lashes, which will extend well past the eyebrow. So, we hold the lashes (once we get them separated from the hair of the eyebrow) down, then carefully trim the brow above it.  Dogs love this. Dogs hate this.  The other problem occurs when it's a dog that gets a banded topknot (ponytail).  Do we band the lashes up into the topknot?  No.. probably not, as that doesn't seem like it would be very comfortable.  Again, we are back to meticulously separating lashes from actual hair. 

Here is a fine example of the 3 L's.

That long black stringy thing.. yep it's his lashes.

Shoot.. he moved, so it's blurry, but you can clearly see it on the left. 
Note I said this is a "he".  Apparently long lashes are not reserved for female dogs.  We probably see just as many boys with this request.  Probably the most popular breed people like long lashes on is the Cocker Spaniel.. no clue why, but they must look really, really good in them.  I wish I would've taken a photo years ago when we had a Miniature Poodle who had lashes at least 3 inches long.  It was crazy freaky.

I hope  you've enjoyed your lesson on the the 3 L's.  I just had to get it off my chest.  This blog is just so theraputic for me, you have no idea.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I want my dog to look just like......

We get this all the time.  Everyone has an idea of how they want their dog to look.  "I want my dog to look like a Schnauzer."  "Don't make him look like a Poodle."  "Can you make him look just like this picture??"  (yeah, right).  Sometimes we even get referrals that way.  "Can you make him look just like Fluffy Smith??" Sure, why not.  The funniest one was the lady who wanted her Soft-Coated Wheaton Terrier to look like a cheerleader.  Yep, you read that right, a cheerleader.  But, only when she was laying on her back. (the dog was laying on her back, not the cheerleader.  I need to be clear, this is getting confusing)  It had something to do with her ears, looking like pom poms... luckily I wasn't the chosen groomer that time.  Thank Goodness!

The other day J got one of these requests.  She was to make the dog look just like Buster Brown.  Huh?  She brought this request to me, and I (obviously not up on such things) said "Isn't Buster Brown a Basset Hound, who was in the ads for shoes or something??"  The dog in need of said makeover was a maltese.. I wasn't sure how that would work out.  J didn't know.  Then I got the brilliant idea to google it.   Thank you smart phone!  Turns out Buster Brown (I'm sure many of you smart people know this) is a KID!  Well, a cartoon kid anyway..  we spent a bit of time laughing over that.   Seriously, isn't it bad enough we need to make dogs look like different breeds than they are?? Now we have to make dogs look like cartoon kids??  J did her best.. 

Here is Buster Brown:

So it turns out he did do advertising for the Buster Brown Shoe Co.  However, it seems that in this photo he is offering cigars to his dog?? Interesting.  This sort of thing would not fly in 2011.  That poor dog!

That's just plain creepy.. I really wouldn't buy shoes after seeing this ad.  It should read "Buster is coming to kill you in your sleep."  Cartoons have much improved over the years, don't you agree??   However, not too many people say:  "I want my dog to look exactly like Sponge Bob Square Pants" do they?  I guess it's the haircut the client was after, not the buggy eyes.  Here is the finished product, in it's crappy phone photo glory.

A fairly good likeness I think! 
The client did seem happy.  We'll see if she comes back.
I think the dog looks a hell of alot cuter than Buster Brown!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I'm sure you think I'm about to write about some horribly neglected dog. Nope.  I'm talking about my poor neglected blog.  I feel bad for it.. but sometimes my life just gets in the way of blogging.  I just got back from a week's vacation.  SO.. this week I spent making up for that week off, because it was an unpaid vacation (like they all are).  Lucky for me lots of people wanted their dogs groomed this week, so my paycheck won't be as bad as it could've been. 

Anyway, I'm working on a few new posts (ok, only working on them in my head so far), but until then, it's:

wait for it...


Kind of hard to see this one, as the dog had a white blaze right where the mohawk went.  I'm guessing that had a part in the owners request for this look.  This guy was a rescue that is now living the high life.

This boy  has the "tough guy" look down complete with underbite and crazy lower canine tooth that sticks out to the side. 

I bet when you started reading this blog you never thought I really did that many mohawks.. it's crazy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Isn't it Ironic?

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn't it ironic... don't you think

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
When your freshly groomed dog,
Meets a skunk the next day.
Who would've thought, it figures.

Isn't it ironic?

I think Alanis Morissette said it best.  Sorry, Alanis.. I just had to change the words a little a bit.  Our poor customer... pay good money to get your dogs groomed, only to bring them right back before 8 AM stinking to high heaven.  She said she wanted to sit down and cry.  I don't blame her.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I was once accused of "shaming" a client whose dog was very matted.  I actually never thought of it that way.  She had a high maintenance breed which she wanted kept in full coat.  I'll admit.. he looks beautiful in this trim.  That said, as usual, I don't believe in causing  pain to dogs for the sake of the owner's vanity. 

It's not their fault they became matted.  They didn't choose to be kept in full coat.  I really believe, that given the choice, (my own dogs included) dogs would choose to be shaved every time.  Let's face it, the long, beautiful flowing coats... that is  for us, not the dogs. 

The "shaming" in question happened when this client had her dog's coat get away from her.  She really does normally brush her dog, otherwise there would be no way to keep him looking like he does.  She went through a phase where brushing the dog wasn't top on her list.  The day in question he was very matted.  I barely saved his coat, by splitting through the matts,  and he still ended up with brush burn.  Brush burn is caused by constant brushing in one spot, causing a sore on the skin.  We avoid doing this as best we can. It's usually seen on pink skinned/white coated breeds who have had to have alot of brushing to get rid of matting.  I feel horrible me when this happens.  The poor dog!  It's one of the reasons why we many times refuse to brush out badly matted animals.    I told the client, though I had saved her dog's coat today, if he came back in this condition, I would have to shave him.  I suppose that did sound a bit like shaming. (?)  Kind of an ultimatum, I guess.. but that day I wished I would've called her and told her shaving was the only option, instead of torturing her dog.

The next time she came in, the dog was in much better shape.  I mentioned it, and it was then that she told me "well, last time you shamed me".  I felt bad.. I don't want to have my clients feel that way.  I felt I gave her a choice, but perhaps it could've been worded better.  That said.. it worked.   He never came back in that condition again. 

It does make me wonder, though.  Have I shamed others into going to a different groomer?  I realize I actually did nothing wrong.  But, people want what they want.  Sometimes they try to find someone who will give them that no matter what. 

It reminds me of a cat we used to groom, who absolutely hated grooming of any kind.  Her owners were told there was no other choice for us but to sedate her for grooms.  She was very unhappy with that choice and moved on to another grooming place.  She told us "they have no problem with her".  We found this really hard to believe, but hey, good for them.  Years later I spoke with a groomer that worked at the place she went.  She told us it took 3 people to hold the cat down, and that sometimes she would pass out from fighting so hard.  If that was my cat.. I'd want to know the truth, and would realize that sedation was a better answer for the cat.  How sad. 

My clients, when told that their precious pet was good for her grooming, will many times say "you say that to everyone" or " you wouldn't tell me if she was bad".  Wrong.  I do tell people.  They need to know.  Maybe they can change something with training at home, maybe they can't, but it's important that they  know. 

If that is shaming, I guess I'm going to keep doing it.  The truth hurts sometimes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today's awesome referral

I rely alot on referrals.  I appreciate each and every one of them.  Today I had a client get me some business and she didn't even know it. 

She and her daughter came in to bring the dogs in (all 5 of them) for grooms today. It was a crazy time of day and there were also dogs being checked in to see the Dr. in the lobby.  They handed me the leashes of the 1st two, and gave me the following instructions.  "I'm so sick of the hair, it's all over my house.  Take care of that for me, will you?"  I responded simply: "No problem, we'll de-hair them for you".  Off she went to retrieve the next bunch from the car.    On my way to the back with the first dogs, I heard a woman who had a large Labrador at the end of her leash, say "Wait!  I want that. I have alot of hair in my house!"  " Could I get that??"    Her dog was having minor surgery today, and sure enough the Dr. asked me to give them a quote.  I can't wait to de-hair her dog tomorrow.. she's going to be so happy.

In the meantime,  I need to send a card of thanks to that client, whose simple statement of what she  expected  me to do for her dogs that day, made another client pay attention.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Finally, a fresh excuse.

I blog about excuses alot.. I hear them every day.  This time of year the ever-popular "I was on vacation, and she got matted while I was gone", is heard often.  Once I even heard "We were on vacation, we didn't think we should have to bring the dog's brush along!"

The other day I heard a new twist on that old classic.

Me:  Oh, I'm sorry, it looks like I'm going to have to trim her short this time, these matts are too tight, and I don't want to hurt her.

Client:  Yeah... I went on vacation so I hadn't mowed my grass.  She's such a tiny dog, and the grass was so high when we got home,  she got more wet than normal in the morning dew.  That really got her matted.

Me: *Thinking to myself*  Good one!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Today's Special Gift.

No.. you aren't getting a gift.  Relax.  That would be nice though, huh?  Your gift today will be reading this post.  Nice, right?  I'm generous like that.

Today, while I was holding a tiny puppy in my arms, (she maybe weighed 2 lbs) I felt a warm sensation start on my shirt, then it spread to my leg.  Yes, I was peed on.  I jumped up from the stool I was sitting on and pulled my smock away from my clothing, but it was too late.    Thankfully, this doesn't happen very often.  This little dog apparently has the bladder of a Newfoundland.  I would have never believed that dog had it in her.  Especially since she had already gone earlier in the AM.   Lucky for me it was late in the day, and I was able to leave soon after, so I could get into some urine-free clothing.  So, that was the gift I didn't want. 

Once in a while when accidents like this happen, employees have been known to have to go home, and re-dress for the day.  One girl was cleaning kennels on the bottom level, when the dog above her lifted his leg ON HER HEAD.  Yeah.. she was allowed to go home and shower.  Some of our employees live too far to go all the way home.  One technician was holding a dog for me.  He was too big for a table, and he was not a nice dog.  They were going to sedate him for grooming.  While all this was going on he had diarrhea.  Right on her white shoe.  Off to Target for some replacement shoes she went.  (wearing another employee's spares to shop in)  There was just no amount of  cleaning that would help  the pair she came to work in, they went in the dumpster. 

I did actually get a nice gift today.  My friend brought in her Lab for a nail trim.  The dog is recovering from an injury, so she stayed to help hold the dog.  Apparently a nail trim wasn't what the dog had in mind for the day, and she gave us a bit of trouble.  Nothing too bad, just some snarky moments.  I thought nothing of it, as I see much worse every day.   When she came back to pick up her other dog, who had stayed for a bath, she came bearing a gift bag full of goodies along with this note:

How cute is that?  Of course, I'm not sure Jadah gave permission for her owner to write it.. pretty sure she doesn't think she's lucky to have me trim her nails.  She's like a little kid, whose  Mom made them apologize for something they are not sorry for at all!  Hilarious, though!  At least one of my gifts today was a good one.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A really random blog post...

Remember Wilson from the sitcom Home Improvement? 
I felt a bit like him today, when I was chatting with J today. 

What do you think?    This St. Bernard was on a table, yes, but the table was very low, probably around One and 1/2 feet off the ground.  This big guy is very tall..luckily he is also very well-behaved.  I had to reach up to shave his back.  J thought she should take my picture, because this is all she saw when she looked over to talk to me.

Here is my dog Logan, nearly finished with his brushout.  He always wears a pony tail..or he can't see a thing. 
Hush!  That is his head!  No jokes about  "I can't tell which end is which".  I've heard them all.  When his hair is down like this, I always think of this guy.

Sam the sheepdog of Looney Tunes fame. 

Or maybe this guy:

Cousin Itt from the Addams Family!

And one last random thing..

Every year, it gets earlier and earlier:  People's urge to warn us of the impending long winter.   Today, J got the 1st one.  The client said:  You can trim her short one more time, then she better start growing out for winter.

PEOPLE!  It's July 21st!  Yesterday a city in our northern state was being called the "hottest place in the world".   The heat index has been in the 100's.   How can you even THINK about  winter.  Also, FYI:  If you start growing out this dog that you rarely (by rarely, I of course mean NEVER)  brush now, by November (when it actually starts to get cold) she will be matted and need shaving again! 

I told you...really random. I just had to get that off my chest.  Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Matted Hair I.D. and Amazing Clients

Isn't this blog fun?  Where else can you find entertainment like this?  Ok, don't answer that.  If you are super bored, read on. 

Today, I took this matt off a dog today.  Any guesses what it was? 

That's it laying on it's side..a perfect hole in the middle of it.  I *might* have been using it as a finger puppet earlier in the day.

And...here it is standing up.  It was actually able to stand upright that way!  It's the little things that make my day fun. 

We'll get back to that. 

I wanted to post about our amazing clients.  How they give us little gifts at the oddest times, which sometimes make us cry.

Pretty, huh?  J got these from a client, who had just lost their beloved dog.  I know??!!  They lose their dog, and they send her flowers?? What is up with that, isn't it kind of backwards??  We should be sending them flowers.  I told you, AMAZING.  There was a sweet note that came with the flowers, thanking her for all the years she took care of their dog.

And look...they were Daisies! This is the really touching part.. the dog's name was Daisy! 

Our clients do things like this.  Our veterinarian staff many times get baked goods after a euthanasia, they also get flowers and beautiful  homemade cards.  It's so good to know we made such an impact in their dog's life that they take time out to do these things, even in the saddest of days.   We appreciate them so much.  I've always thought it was an interesting thing, how the death of a pet bonds a client to you.    You would think it would be cards for "thanks for giving my puppy her first haircut" or "good job on getting that dead animal smell out of him".  I guess it makes sense though, all that time spent with their pet over the course of a life, it's pretty important.

We do get little gifts at other times as well, and I actually did get a very nice gift card for fitting in a couple of skunk dogs!  Ha!  I think the funniest one was a card and bath salts I got from a dog because it was the 1 year anniversary of his 1st haircut!  I felt bad..I didn't get him anything!

Back to this..I know you are dying to know.  It's the tail I shaved off of a Standard Poodle!!  So matted it came off in one piece.  That dog went home a whole lot happier! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun with instructional notes.

It's been a while since I've gotten a note.  This one made me smile.  It even came in an envelope, which was a nice touch.   Click on the photo to enlarge it.

This note could've been shortened up to "Do what you always do, but trim his rear shorter, so poop doesn't get stuck on his hair when he goes to the bathroom."  But what would've been the fun in that??  I love notes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Here Kitty, Kitty..

Hi!!  I love Kitties.  They are so pretty and fun to chase.  I chased a kitty and my owners thought I needed a bath.  Humans are so strange.    Here is what he looked like:

We have a problem with skunks in the area.  If you haven't had the pleasure of smelling the fine aroma of a freshly skunked dog, count yourself lucky.  It's pretty awful.  Believe me, when we get one of these emergency baths in, they go in the tub immediately.  The worst part about skunk spray is that apparently when you add water to it, the smell gets stronger.   So, even dogs we thought weren't that bad, show us that isn't the case when we start their baths. 

Getting rid of the nasty smell is a bit tricky, and nothing is guaranteed to remove it completely.  I will say using tomato juice doesn't work.  We get alot of "red" dogs in for baths after their owners have tried that old time remedy.  One client didn't have tomato juice, so she tried tomato soup.  Yeah..that doesn't work either.  Wow..that was disgusting. 

If someone wants to try their hand at home, we give out the following recipe, which many of you have heard of.

1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup of baking soda
1 to 2 teaspoons liquid Dawn dishsoap.

We used this for a few years too, and it does work pretty well.  The key is the dish soap, as skunk spray is very oily and the Dawn helps to break it down.

We've changed strategies now, thanks to this bad boy:
It works VERY well.  We give a cleansing bath 1st...and if the smell is strong enough, we mix dawn into that shampooing.  Next they get the Smelly Pet.  After that, they get a leave in conditioner which smells amazing.  Smelly pet also makes a leave in spray.  The really bad ones get a dousing in that as well.  And, yes, we charge extra for this service.  Sadly, we still always have to give a disclaimer, as no matter what you use, for a month or so afterwards, every time the dog gets wet, you will smell it again. 
The worst part of doing these baths, is that the skunk smell will get into your nose...and that's all you can smell sometimes for 1/2 the day.  I'm asking everyone else to "smell this dog" and tell me if it still smells like skunk..  nice.    I always hope I can just go immediately home when this is part of my day..I always worry that I smell of skunk too.  Not cool.

Smelly Pet also works for dogs who have rolled in deer or bear poo, and the ever popular dead fish.   Lucky for me dogs love to smell bad, it helps keep me in business!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday blues?

Lots of people hate Mondays.  I have never been that way.    Monday is my day to get things done.  I usually book myself the heaviest that day.  I have actual energy after the weekend.    By Thursday I'm running out of steam and Friday is my day to take a lighter load when it's possible.  This energy continues into my evening. Tonight, I moved agility equipment, mowed the lawn, weeded my flower bed, and trained my dogs.  I HATE yard work on the weekends.  Maybe that's why I have so much energy on Mondays. What was your Monday like? 

Here's something that made my day even better.  I donate a grooming a month to the local Humane Society.  This little boy was brought in by animal control, and no one ever claimed him.  He arrived in pretty rough shape.  I think he may be an Australian Terrier, as his coat has some wire to it. 

He wasn't much for the camera.  That was all matted horribly filthy hair.  Here's the finished product.  I'm sure it's no surprise that I had no other choice but to take his coat short.

Who would abandon this dog?  He was the sweetest little guy, I'd guess he was about 7-8 years old, and neutered.  He had no issues with getting a haircut, as nearly all these humane society dogs I groom.  I think they are just grateful that someone is helping them feel better.  I hope his new look helps him find a forever home soon. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No real issues... and Mystery Mix of the day.

Today I had a new client come in.  I was expecting a Dachshund, which was what the appointment said.  As I've said before, many times people have ideas about their breed that aren't quite accurate.  I was expecting a small short-haired dog.  Yes, I know Dachshunds come in a long-haired variety, but most people are more than willing to let you know that is what they have. 

They also had another older dog along for a groom.  He told me all about that dog, his habits, the fact he had arthritis and has a hard time standing, etc, etc.  When it was time to talk about the other dog, he didn't have much to say at first.  "No real issues with this one".  "Well, except he might bite you".  HUH?  Thanks for letting me know, buddy.  "yeah, he can be touchy".  "Oh really, what is he touchy about?" I ask.  "well, he really hates it when people touch him".  That IS helpful.  Because, I'm sure I won't have to touch him at all today.  Thankfully, the dog had no problem at all with me, and no one got bit. 

Now, back to his breed.  Here is what he looked like:

Yes, my phone sucks as a camera..sorry.
 He actually does have a tail, apparently he wagged it right at the time I took the picture.  Cute, right?  I noticed that he had these big huge ears, so I held them up to see what he looked like with them pricked.

Suddenly, he's a Corgi mix!  Really cool dog, especially since he let me touch him.  It made grooming him tons easier!  Mix breeds are so fun, I wonder if I'm right? 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HOW much?

Quoting grooming prices is a very difficult thing.  Though our receptionists have a price list to guide them, prices always vary, and when possible they have us speak with the prospective new client.   We always ask lots of questions, and still by the end of the conversation we give a "range".   We don't dare set it in stone, as we never quite know if what the pet owner tells us is the truth.

For example, you might tell me your  Lab mix is around 75 pounds and has "pretty short" hair.   Surprise, surprise, your Lab mix hasn't been weighed since it was 6 months old, and I'm pretty sure it's Dad was a St. Bernard.    People tend to leave minor details out all the time.  The biggest problem we have is with people that say their dog is "not matted at all".  Yeah. Right.

We give people a price range, then tell them we won't know for sure of the price until we see their dog.   Quoting high is usually best, as it can be a nice surprise if the groom is cheaper.

Today, I fielded this call:

Client:  I have a 18 lb Cockapoo.  I usually get him groomed somewhere else, but it's pretty far to drive.  We were hoping to find a more local groomer.

Me:  We would probably charge $42-$45 for the type of haircut you are describing (I'm not going to subject you to all  the boring questions I asked).

Client:  Oh. Well, see the problem is that where I usually go they only charge me $37.00.  If you could guarantee me that the cost would be $42.00 I would come to you, but I can't do $45.00.

Really???  $3.00 is the deal breaker here??   I'm never sure what they expect me to say.  "Oh..I'm sorry, you are right, that is way too expensive, I will match your groomer's price".  ???  I don't think so. 

I know, some people are probably thinking..in this economy, she should be grateful for ANY new client.  I actually am.  However, I've had people tell me the "groomer in Florida" only charges me $20 for my Standard Poodle.  People lie. 

We do our best to quote a fair price.  This week a person brought in her two "Collie Mixes".  She was WAY over quoted, as when she came in for her appointment, she had two small Cattle Dog mixes with extremely short hair.  Nice surprise for her. 

I know it's frustrating, as everyone's budgets are tight, and you'd like to know exactly what kind of cash you need to bring.  I suggested the Cockapoo owner bring her dog in before she made an appointment so I could give her a better idea of cost.  She said she'd do that today.  She never showed up.  I'm guessing her phone shopping found her someone willing to charge less than $42.00.   We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Maybe a bit more sleep is in order.

One of my 1st clients of the morning had this crazy exchange with me today.

So, Joanna, what time will you have my dog done today?? 

Uh...those of you that read this blog  know my name starts with a "D".  Yes, she is a regular client that actually requests me.   Oh well, I answer to most anything.

My dog needs to see a Dr. today, she has been limping.  I'm pretty sure it's not reticulitis (sp??) again.  I think she just sprained something.

What the heck?? Reticulitus?? I suppose I should google it.  I'm guessing she thinks it's a tickbourne disease?? 

And, last but not least: 
Also, her hotflashes are doing great.  I really keep them under control with the shorter haircuts.  I have some salve at home just in case she gets one, though.

Ok, I did correct her this time.  She meant Hot SPOTs. 

I can't make this Sh*t up.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Backpacking, anyone?

Many times our clients bring "stuff" along with their dogs.  Sometimes it's a blanket from home, maybe a bone or a toy.  I'm sure somewhere in some dog book, this is highly recommended for any time your dog is away from you.  I'm here to set you straight.  That's why you read this blog, right?  The helpful tips?  The insanely accurate information?  Right?  HA!  Ok, so it's totally the mohawk photos...I know, I know.

Though I'm sure somewhere some dog is grateful their owner sent "binky" the bunny rabbit along for their day at the groomers.  But other than a select few that will eat a treat sent from home, no dog ever uses this stuff.  We dutifully put it in with them, we really do our best.   This stuff tends to be hard to keep track of, since we do have to remove it during the drying process.  Then, if we aren't the ones to send the dog home with it's owner, we have to leave a detailed list of what the dog brought, to assure it all gets back to it's rightful home.   Sometimes storage is a problem, like the time an owner brought half a 40 lb bag of open dog food for a dog that "missed breakfast".  Really? 

I know it looks bad that there are still 7 treats left over, and the food hasn't been touched, but for some reason, dogs just aren't interested in eating while we have them.   I'm sure the owners think we don't even give them what they bring.   Most dogs aren't visibly stressed, so I have no idea what the problem is.  One of our employees will walk along giving each grooming dog a treat.  She's always a bit offended when no one seems interested in her special treat.

Here is a backpack brought by a small dog.  Yes...a backpack.  I guess I should be glad it wasn't a suitcase on wheels.   She usually arrives a bit before 8AM and leaves by 3:30 PM.    Let's take a look inside, shall we?

Wow! That's a mighty big bone for such a small dog.  I'd also like to point out the high quality sealed containers.  Nice.

Ah..lunch.  Interesting food, very colorful.  I offered it to the dog. I came by 10 minutes later and she had spilled the whole dish all over her cage.  I guess she wasn't really that hungry.

Last but not least, dessert.  She did eat some of these.  I however didn't offer them all to her.  That seems like alot of treats for a 12 lb dog.  I thought she should save some for after supper.  

I'd like to clarify something.  If your dog has special dietary needs (like he becomes ill if he isn't fed on a strict schedule), of course bring his food.  We will absolutely do our best to get them to eat it. However if it's at all possible, save everything for later, when they are back at home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm toast.

I'm exhausted. It's been a busy week and it's only Wednesday.  I worked alone today, as my co-worker was off.    Here is how much hair I took off of dogs today..by myself.

I know..It's a photo of a garbage can.  Seriously, though, that is alot of hair for only one groomer.  Approximately 1/2 of that hair is from 2 of the 11 dogs I groomed today.  Those 2 are also the reason I'm exhausted, and why I cracked open the ibuprofen bottle when I got home. 

One was a 105 lb Golden Retriever, and the other was a 155 lb St. Bernard.  Both dogs got completely shaved.  UGH.  Neither dog could be convinced to jump on the table or into the tub.  Thankfully, I had people willing to help me lift. 

Here's a crazy tip:  IF you have a large breed, PLEASE, Please, PLEASE teach it to at least put it's feet up on something so it can be boosted into the tub.  Not all dogs have the ability to jump, but most can at least help out by putting their front feet up.  Your groomer will thank you.  Trust me, it helps for your dog to know this, when he gets older and can't jump into the car any more.   

We've been shaving dogs left and right.  You can tell it's getting warm and the dogs are in the lake.  J and I shaved 6 Golden Retrievers on Monday.  SIX!  If you are reading this and are disgusted with me for shaving double coated breeds, please see this post again, and try not to judge me too much. 

I haven't blogged for a while again.  I actually took two days off of work last week to attend the Canine Performance Events National Agility Competition with my dog.  You remember I like my dogs to look clean and fluffed.  This is especially true when I take them somewhere.  I realize these events are outdoors, and many times the dogs get dirty in the 1st half hour they are there, but I like them to look their best.  I bathed Logan the day before I left.  I also squeezed in one last agility lesson with him.  It was there that this happened:

My instructor, who I thought was my friend...laughed and laughed and laughed. My well-trained (?) dog  completely ignored my commands to stay out of the pool.  I guess he was hot...oh well.  As Shenna from  Project Go Dog said on facebook when she saw the photo, "Aw! But he's so happy and cute!! Now he will look like the working dog he really is this weekend. :)"  She was of course right, Logan could care less about being fluffy and clean, he's all about the sport.

Here he is doing what he does best.  Special thanks to Sarah from Border Collie Reese and her 2 Kitties  for taking this beautiful photo!

It was a great weekend, here's how it turned out: