Wednesday, March 30, 2011

24 Hours of Fame.

Yesterday was my dog, Logan's "day" on the 365 page a day dog calendar.  I submitted his photo along with one of both my dogs and hoped for the best.  Mr. Photogenic was chosen to be  March 29th.  It's really fun to have your dog picked out of the many (I'm guessing millions, right? HA!) submissions. 

I know, this blog is supposed to be about my job, but every once in a while my personal life will show up. Let's face it, I somewhat consider my dogs to be walking advertisements for my mad grooming skills.  Especially since when people see my dogs, they generally say something like "of course that would be a groomer's dog".  I wonder what they'd say if I owned an Italian Greyhound?   I think most groomers would disagree.  I think I'm in the minority.  I think most groomers have short-haired breeds that take little maintenance.  There are days, usually during my busy season at work,  when I think they are far more intelligent than me.

I like the look of long hair,  I'm not really a smooth-coated breed fan (sometimes during the muddy season, I could easily be swayed however).  I also knew, when choosing a breed, that I wouldn't want a dog that needed a haircut on a regular basis.  I give haircuts all day long...who wants to do more, especially FREE haircuts.  So, I found the Bearded Collie to meet my needs.  A fun loving, happy breed.  I can mindlessly brush away, no need for much trimming. 

My dog's coats do take alot of upkeep.  It's the most popular question I get about my dogs..."So, do you have to brush them much?"   I find that a funny question, as I wonder if they really expect the answer to be no.    I brush them on average an hour per week, per dog.  They still get matts, and I really could brush them more often, but this has been working for us.  I bathe them every two weeks, mostly because I like really clean dogs.  I've had the breed since 1989, I got my 1st one while I was still in grooming school.  That dog and the subsequent one, I eventually clipped down for one reason or another.  That worked too.  They of course no longer look very Beardie-like, but it's the same dog, underneath all the hair.  I have yet to find a breed I like as well, but they are most certainly not for everyone.  The comment I hear from many people is, "I would have a Beardie if it wasn't for all that coat care"  Smart people, if you like the breed for the "look", in addition to the personality and athletic ability.

Wow..this post really got off-track.   Sorry about that.   You must want to see the picture now, right?  Here it is!  I didn't write the little description they have on it.  I did give some info, but found it funny that the caption is all about the color of dog show ribbons, but they never mention the green ones Logan is pictured with.  They are qualifying ribbons, for those who may not know.  If you are interested in submitting one of your photos for an upcoming calendar visit this link.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Evacuation Plan

Client:  I'm not sure who is going to evacuate my dog today, you or the vet.

Me:  Silence...I'm thinking, does he mean vaccinate?

Client:  I just want to make sure someone evacuates her anal glands, she has had problems with them in the past.

Me: (trying not to react)  The vet will probably take care of that for you today.

I am quite proud of myself for keeping a straight face during this exchange.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Might as well talk to the wall.

Mr. Easyfix:  My puppy has horrible gas in the evenings.  It just about peels the paint off the walls.  What can I do for that??

Me:  What food are you feeding.

Mr. Easyfix:  XYZ Fancy chow.  It's really good food.

Me:  Yes that is a very good food, but it's also very rich.  I would recommend you change his diet to something else.

Mr. Easyfix:  Well, you see I have this dog, and then I have 2 others, and they are really big dogs, and they eat alot of food.  I buy my food in bulk right from the distributer.  So, I have alot of food in my house right now.  I don't see how I could switch dog foods, I have so much of this food.  My other 2 dogs don't have gas.

Me:  I really think that would be the best thing to try right now, obviously the food doesn't agree with him somehow.

Mr. Easyfix:  I really have alot of food right now. That won't work. What can I do for his gas?

**  It went on this way for a while, and I finally told him to speak with his Vet.  Perhaps they have the magic pill.  *SIGH*

Monday, March 21, 2011

Your Mission, should you choose to take it.

Yet another note from a client. 

It's always appreciated when we have an objective to shoot for.  Especially on a Monday. The wording is probably due to the fact that the owner is a lawyer? Maybe?  This was a German Shepherd, and he lost plenty of old hair, not to worry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's in a name?

This is a subject I think anyone in the pet industry can relate to.  Whether you are a Vet, Technician, Dog Trainer, or Boarding Establishment Employee, you know what I'm talking about!

There are some really cute dog names out there.   However, when you work in this business, I guarantee there are a few you'd NEVER name your new puppy.  Perhaps it's regional, I don't know, but there are names that are the kiss of death when chosen for a new dog.

The thing is, dogs tend to take on the personality of the name.  Seriously.  Sparky, Cujo (Sorry, Molly M. I know your Cujo isn't a bad boy) Nipper, Chewy... dogs with these names tend to bite. I'm serious. 

Then we have the names that even though they seem innocent enough, ALWAYS mean the dog will be a brat.  Angel, Princess, and Prince are some great examples.  Of course we all know that the reason these names don't go well is because their owners actually treat them like a Princess, instead of a dog.  They let them do whatever they want, and they rule the house.  I know this is the reason.  Does that mean I would EVER name a dog of mine Angel...just to try out this theory? No way in hell!

There are some names where I work that have bad dogs attached to them, no matter who it's owner is.  I've got to say, nearly all Tuckers we see are horrid monsters.  Who knows why.  Today I found a new name that goes with cranky dogs.  Elvis.  I groomed a very crabby one today, and the only other one I know, sent my coworker J to the hospital  for surgery to remove a bone chip in her finger, put there by that Elvis. She was out of work for 6 weeks.

Naming  your dog isn't easy, but some people just come up with the best names.  We had one dog named "Onza"  Her owners named her that because she was always "onza couch" and "onza bed". HA!  One that really made us laugh was the dog named "D.L.D."  The initials stood for "Don's Last Dog"...he apparently didn't want any more after that one. 

My biggest complaint is people who just can't manage to think up a new name for that new puppy.  We have lots of  "Max the Second"'s or Gretta the 7th's.  Come on!!  I just think it's rude to keep naming your dogs the same name over and over. :(

So, be careful what you name your next pet.  Just because you name your dog Chubby, doesn't make it ok that he is obese.   If you want it to be well-behaved, don't name it Rowdy or Trouble. Yep, most of the Gabby's I know are barkers!   And for gosh sakes, please don't name it Puddles.  Training would be great too...but, give the poor dog a chance!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Things could be worse.

My co-workers found this article in the March 2011 issue of the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) Trends Magazine.  Wow.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's Ok to go short, too!

This post topic was suggested by one of my blog readers, Catalina. She has a lovely Tibetan Terrier, named Tibby, who you can see here:  Catalina's Blog.  Tibby is currently sporting a short haircut, and she looks adorable (no, I'm not her groomer, I just "met" her through this blog).  She told me that after having Tibby shaved, people gave her grief about it, saying she should just brush her more, so she could have long hair.  The part I loved about her note  was that though she admitted that she could brush Tibby more, she'd rather train her and play with her.  Amen to that! 

I want to go on record as saying that lots of people don't have time, or the inclination to brush their dog.  Actually most people don't.  It's work.  It takes time out of your week.  It especially is hard if your dog likes to be "a dog".  By that I mean, run through the swamps, or forests, or go swimming.  That picture to the right, that is my dog flying over a jump.  I'll admit it, he has alot less fun than he probably could have, if he was shaved down.  I control his environment...because keeping that huge coat up is already hard enough without adding more to the mess.  Sometimes I feel bad about that. 

When I was fresh out of grooming school, I thought all breeds should look like "they are supposed to".  The horror of someone shaving down their Cocker!  A Poodle without fluffy legs, how awful!  Then, I got a job in an area where half my clientele have a lake home and their dogs swim every day. Many of the rest live "out in the country" with no fences or boundaries.  These dogs have the run of acreage (yes, even the little ones).   I quickly learned that by leaving extra hair I was just going to cause grief to the dog and the client.   

So, I clip down dogs that technically shouldn't be.  I'll admit, it's kind of sad to have to shave down a Yorkie that has a beautiful, easy to care for coat.   I'll also be writing about the mass Golden Retriever shave-down that is coming to my area very soon.  Catalina's comment reminded me that there are many reasons why people choose to clip down their dogs.  As long as they don't let the dog get matted and uncomfortable inbetween these groomings, I understand.  

Many of my readers will ask, "why did they get a breed that takes coat care, then?"   Some people just didn't know what they were getting into.  "Breeders" don't always disclose such important information, they just want to sell a puppy.   Of course, the #1 reason is usually that many of these breeds don't shed, and even a shaved down double coated breed will shed.  For myself (and I'm guessing many of these clients), however, I just love my breed.  The 2 Bearded Collies I have right now are still in full coat.  The 2 previous ones I had spent the last 3rd of their lives clipped down.  I didn't have time, and also, they hated being brushed.  Shaving their coat off, didn't change their personalities at all.  They were still the same dogs I loved, just  with short hair. 

So, I guess the point of all this is that not all the dogs I shave down are because of neglect.  I'm sure it seems that way.  I have some very regular clients that don't let an inch of hair accumulate on their dogs, they just don't like it.  If your lifestyle is busy, or you just don't feel like brushing your dog, there are lots of cute short clips to try.  Thanks, Catalina, for reminding me of this!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Does anyone have a secret decoder ring handy?

I get interesting notes from clients.  You may remember this example.  People just like to write things down for me,  in case I forget, I guess.  Maybe it's so they don't forget what they wanted to tell me.  Most of the time, the owner is standing right there, and then they pass me the note, which I read, then I go on to interpret what I think it says.  At that point the owner then tells me if I was right or very wrong.  Sounds easy, right?  They are always in english (thankfully) and most of the time they are legible.  However, the trick is that they are sometimes in code. 

Sometimes, someone other than the owner is dropping the dog off.  In these cases the notes are much more important.  I prefer, that they are accompanied by a phone number where the actual owner can be reached so they can help with the decoding, however,  I don't always get that lucky.  You can be sure the drop off person knows absolutely nothing about the dog or it's haircut.  Today, it was the wife dropping the husband's dog off for his haircut.  He had these specific instructions regarding the length of his dog's haircut. 


I just did the same haircut we have done in the spring on this dog for the past 10 years.   I hope I got it right, and that the length I chose was average to a little shorter than average, but not too short.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Exceptions

I know, I vent alot on this blog.  Most of the time it tends to be about my clients who don't take care of their dog's coats.  It's true, 98% of my clientele don't use a brush.  They don't pick one up, they don't know where they keep it, and if they do know where they keep it, it hasn't moved from that drawer for 3-5 years.  They want their dogs left long, and they want their dogs to look "the way they are supposed to".  I want that too...really!  But, if that is going to cause the dog pain, then I don't won't do it.

There are exceptions.  The owners who listen to me.  They buy the brush I suggest, then use it, and use it often, and correctly. Their dogs look exactly how they want them to, which makes us all happy.  Me, the dog, and the owner.  One of those exceptions came in today.  I adore this dog.

Isn't he the cutest?  I wish you could meet him, what a character.   Ok, he's not in full show Bichon coat, but he looks alot closer to it than any other Bichon I groom.  He is also the only one I groom that has champion parents, and he came to me fully trained to stand like a rock on the grooming table. He is such a handsome boy!

Now, the owner is a good brusher.   It's not easy keeping this thick curly coat up, especially in the dead of winter with deep snow everywhere you look.  She also brings him to me every 3 weeks.  A haircut this time, then in 3 weeks a brush and bath.  We tried going longer in between grooms, but she needed a bit of help from me to find and remove the tangles she was missing.  I'm fine with a few tangles. 

I so appreciate these clients.  Thank you for taking care of your dogs!  (If you are my client and are reading this, you all know who you are!)