At this time of the year some old friends come back to us. Since I work in an area that is considered a vacation destination, there are many dogs I only see for about 3 to 4 months a year. These are our summer residents, or Snowbirds, if you will. We love to see them all come back, and are sad to see them go when the weather inevitably turns cold again.
Some of these clients have been with me from the time I started, and for many of those, I am on the 2nd set of dogs with them. They are very loyal, and it feels like a big family reunion when they all start filtering in. Usually this influx starts around mid-April, with the last of them leaving in early October. They come from all over the country. The majority of these lucky pooches reside in warmer climates such as Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California. We even have one family that comes from Germany each year. Some have lake places, others park their camper in a campground for the season.
Many of these clients have one thing to say when they get back. "Those Florida(or where ever they live) groomers, just don't groom our dog like you do". It's not that we don't take alot of pride in our groomings, we certainly do, and we'd like to think we are the best around. But I find it pretty surprising, not to mention a bit sad, that they can't find a groomer that they are happy with. I can only assume that many of them live in posh areas where "boutique grooming" is popular. That teamed with the added bonus that we send along detailed instructions plus our phone number where we can be reached for questioning, I can't see how it all goes wrong. If these places are offering painted toenails, aroma therapy and massage as ala carte on their grooming price list, you'd think they could also provide a more than sub-standard haircut.
You're thinking...those people are just trying to be nice. A haircut is a haircut. Seriously..it's true. One particular pair of dogs, we have to spend nearly the whole summer re-setting their patterns, no clue what goes on there. I always wonder what that groomer thinks when those dogs get back home. "What the heck are those northern groomers thinking...now we have to fix this!" One client, whose dog looks especially bad when she shows up , tells us that she knows the haircut isn't good, but the groomer is nice to her dog. This Arizona groomer doesn't like people much, and doesn't give a choice how the dogs get groomed (she actually told us that), but he loves dogs. Wow. Another client refuses to let the groomers where she lives cut her dog's hair at all. They give her dog a bath...that's it, for 9 months. Meanwhile we give her a haircut every other week for the remaining 3 months. Thankfully it's a breed that can live without a cut.
At the end of the season many of these Snowbirds tell us "I wish I could take you with me!" We joke that they should fly us out, that we'd be happy to groom their precious pup, just send us a ticket! One lady did tell me that she has an extra bedroom...I would be more than welcome.
Here's where the fantasy comes in. I think we should take them up on it. J and I talk about travelling the southern states all winter long. We would stop along the way to groom our Snowbird's (as well as their friend's) pets. We'd make plenty of cash, and get to see what a warm January is all about! I'd like to try it, just once! Hey, everyone has to have a dream!