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.