Friday, February 25, 2011

True tales from the receptionist's desk

Client: Hi, I'd like to make a grooming appointment for our dog.

Receptionist: Ok, since you are a new client, we need some info from you.  What breed is your dog, and how old is it?

Client:  My dog is part Shih Tzu and is 1 1/2 years old.

Receptionist:  Male or Female?

Client: I don't know.

Receptionist:  I mean, is it a boy or a girl?

Client:  I DON'T know.

*** It was a girl...sometimes it's hard to tell....right??? Right???

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Silence is golden.

Sometimes the things that my clients say cause an instant reaction.  Most of the time, rolling my eyes would be that reaction.  Thankfully, I have learned to control that one,I've  actually trained myself to not react to a eye roll inducing statement.  It's hard.  Really. Hard. 

Some things that they say are  shocking, disgusting even,  but many times things don't come out exactly as they meant them, or perhaps more information is needed before a comment or response is warranted.  Today, I was very glad I withheld comment until listening for "the rest of the story".

Client (shih tzu cross owner):  You know, give him a good haircut, and a really good bath.  He really, really, stinks from that goat.

I pause...and all that comes to mind is "DO THEY HAVE A GOAT LIVING IN THEIR HOUSE???!!"  I know the dog lives in the house...and I also think they live in town...what the?  She then prompts me to remember that for a couple of months now, they have been feeding him a raw diet of goat meat to help with his skin problem. OH...yeah...  Whew...thank goodness.. HA! I'm really glad my filter was on today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Transformation

I'd really rather spotlight the beautiful haircuts we give dogs every day, but after yesterday's post, I thought this one would be good. 

This dog was groomed by my co-worker, J.  Luckily, nothing was caught in it's hair, and in fact it was quite clean.  A few too many baths without brushing.  Though there isn't much for style here, shaving down a dog with this degree of matting takes some skill.  The coat is so tight to the body, that nicking the skin is much easier. 

Here is what he looked like early on in the grooming process (sorry for the rotten photos..I had to use my phone again).:

Here is the view as the matting starts to come off.

Here he is in his "pile of hair", feeling better already!

And...J had to cut this off in one piece:
And...the finished product.  Short, not much style, but a comfortable and happy dog!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Very soon it will be the "shave down the neglected dog season"  Usually occurring in the spring months, these dogs come in after a full year without grooming.  In my early days of grooming, we used to joke that you know it's spring by the volume of Springer Spaniel shaves you do in a week.  Now, Springers are not as popular as they used to be, so we get more variety.  The lower the dog is to the ground, the more things we find.

Usually these are traditionally outdoor dogs, but it's not exclusive to them.  Sometimes, these smelly, matted, filthy messes are actually living in someones home.  Yuck!  Many times we find surprises underneath that coat.  Ok, certainly most of the time, it's a skin problem or a hotspot.  But, once in a while we will find something that got caught in the coat, sometimes months ago. 

Sure, there are twigs and burrs. I don't think there is much that thrills me more than picking up a dog and THEN realizing he is full of burrs.  OUCH.  Poor dog.  The worst part is knowing that our burr season is in the fall...and now it's spring, and the dog has had to lay on those burrs for months.  We also find gum (of course) and things like candy..or cough drops.  That stuff nearly always gets blamed on the children in the family.  Oh and stickers, we find lots of stickers in dog coats.  You the Chiquita banana ones, or the sale sticker off someone's loaf of bread.

Sometimes, though, we find really odd things.  Like the time we found a 3 inch long strand of barbed wire...matted into the coat.  That was really great on the clippers. Luckily, it was matted somewhere in the center of this dog's matting layers, so I don't think that it was actually hurting him.  Come to think of it, we find alot of wire in dog's coats, thankfully most of it isn't barbed.

My co-worker, J, once was shaving down a neglected Lhasa, and found what she thought was a  mid-size, oblong tumor on the dog's belly.  After clipping away the hair, the "tumor" fell off.  She unraveled the hair from the item and found that it was a curler.  A hard, metal, prickly curler, like your Grandmother used to use!  That poor dog.  We felt so bad for it, having to lay on the curler all the time. 

You may wonder what on earth the owners have to say, when they pick up their pets.  They just look at us and say "really, I wonder where he picked that up?" and off they go.  We can ask them to bring the pet in more often til we are blue in the face, and they won't do it.  It's a once a year bill they are obligated to pay. Why do it more often?   The dog turns out alright.  We often dream of charging people for the "missed" groomings.  Not that we don't charge extra for those messy dogs, but still, it never comes close to what our good clients pay to have their pets groomed every 8 weeks.  It really isn't fair.  Of course, I'm sure the car mechanics would also like to charge for all the missed oil changes and tire rotations too...such is life in a service industry.

I will keep making those dogs feel better, getting rid of the heavy matts, and whatever else is in there.  They will leave with a spring in their step, able to walk on the pads of their feet again, and scratch an itch they haven't been able to get at since last September.   Many of them act like puppies again, they just feel so much better.  Some things will never change, but I keep hoping they will, for the sake of the dogs.

PS:  I have no idea why blogger is highlighting my typing today...but I got sick of trying to fix it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Flat Stanley

 This week I had a visit from "Flat Stanley" in the grooming room.  For those who have never heard of him, it's a kid's story about a boy that gets flattened by a bulletin board, and then gets mailed to people so he can go on vacation.  Teachers read the book to their students, then they get to send their own Flat Stanley to a friend or relative.  You are supposed to send him back to the student with a letter saying what he did on vacation with you. The class then tracks all the places Stanley has been.  I included pictures.  Here is Flat Stanley with Maggie the Shih Tzu mix,while he was at work with me.  I know it's not really a grooming related post, but it gives me a chance to show off this little cutie! I love her~!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring weather, and Shih Tzus.

I think I've mentioned before, I live in a northern climate.  We have very long, very cold, snowy winters, most years.   This one has been colder and snowier than we've had in quite a few years.  Just last week at this time, it was -26F when I left for work.  This week we have had a welcome change.  This morning when I left for work, it was 32F, it may as well have been 50 out, it felt like spring, what a relief. 

During these cold months, with the exception of the week of Christmas, we have a substantial drop in grooming appointments.  This means I have a substantial drop in pay.  Not fun.  People don't want to get their dog groomed when it's cold, as they think they will freeze.  Of course they still bathe them, and if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you KNOW they don't brush them.  The result is a hairy mess of matted dog.  I knew the tide would turn as soon as we got some warm weather, and I was rewarded this week.  No one likes a wet, hairy dog.  All the melting of snow that is going on in this lovely weather leaves us with sloppy, muddy puddles everywhere.  The phones starting ringing as soon as we opened on Monday morning.   The owners of each dog that comes in says essentially the same thing:  Sorry he's such a mess, we just didn't want to cut his hair while it was so cold. 

I welcome this rush of work to do. So...I don't remind them that it's only the 15th of February...we have at least 6 weeks (if you believe that Groundhog) left of winter.  This time will be no doubt laced with snow storms, ice storms and below zero temps.  It's all good.  No one will freeze to death, get frostbite, or hypothermia, I promise.  I'm glad my clients are living for the moment, it will make the actual spring a bit less hectic.

OH yeah...Shih Tzus...I need to touch on that subject.  The MOST popular dog we groom is the Shih far.  I don't mind Shih Tzus, for the most part they are nice dogs.  However, today, 7 out of the 9 dogs I groomed were Shih Tzus.  My co-worker did 4 today...11 Shih Tzus in one day..that is crazy!  I like a little just makes the day go faster.  Not to mention the fact that our personal saying for the breed is: They don't call them Sh*t Zus for nothing.  Yep, you guessed it, I cleaned up after alot of dogs today.   I'm hoping tomorrow I only have 2 or 3...that would really be nice, but beggars can't be choosers.  It's great to have a busy schedule again, I'm loving it!

Friday, February 11, 2011


This one was relayed to me by my co-worker.  Lucky her.

Groomer: How would you like your dog's haircut today?

Mr. Client:  Well, my wife didn't really tell me what she wanted, but I like it when she looks like she is wearing Ugg Boots.

Groomer:  Hmm, I'm not quite sure what you mean.

Mr. Client:  (incredulous)  You don't know what Ugg Boots are???

Groomer: Well, I do, but I'm not sure what you want me to do for a haircut.

Mr. Client: Well, leave her feet she is wearing Uggs. 

Groomer: just want her feet left fluffy, and the rest short? 

Mr. Client: YES!

** I neglected to get a photo of said boot wearing dog...but it was interesting to say the least.  I'm going to guess that when the wife sees this groom...she's going to wonder why we forgot to finish the groom. :(  NEVER leave your husband in charge of grooming instructions.  Really.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Transformation

I need to get better about pictures for the blog.  Today, I remembered my camera and found that the perfect subject had made an appointment.  Schnauzer puppies have the best transformation of all for their very 1st grooming.   This little girlie looked a bit rough when she came in.

Then, she went out looking like this!  Can you even believe it's the same dog?  Her owners were thrilled!