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 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 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:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Let's celebrate!

Today one of my good clients brought in her dog that really struggles with weight loss.  Translation:  My client struggles with not feeding pounds of treats to her dog.  Today, when the dog stepped onto the scale, she had lost one pound.  On a 15 pound dog, that is a big deal.  We were all very happy for her.

My customer's reaction however, really made me laugh. 
"One pound!?" " That's great!!"  "I'm going to go home and have a beer". 

My client is in her 70's and it was 11 AM.   She knows how to celebrate, wish I could've joined her.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Translations

Today, J gave me a pop quiz.

She was getting instructions on a Golden Retriever.  The client gave the following directions, and I was to guess what the client wanted. 

Client: "Get her as short as you possibly can."

My guess was of course a shave, a really short one...right??

WRONG.  She wanted the dog to have a bath and her feet trimmed, just like she always gets.  This is a perfect example of why we rarely ask just one question when taking in a pet.  We'd have alot of unhappy clients if we went with whatever they say, without asking how they want the dog in many different ways.  It could've been a huge shock when the dog went to go home.