Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2 Simple Words

Thank you.

They mean more than most people think.  Sure, we were all taught to say please and thank you as kids, but sometimes adults fail to use those words enough.  It doesn't always "go without saying".

I had a stressful day.  Lots of huge stinky dogs, plus some unreasonable go home times. I ran from 8 AM til 3 PM.  That doesn't seem so long, you say, but I did 10 full grooms in that amount of time.  3 Golden retrievers.. one of which weighed 106 lbs (it should weigh 75).  All 3 had been swimming all summer long, stunk to high heaven and were quite matted. Plus the other 7, no easy baths for me today.  I would have loved to have ended my day at 4, but everyone was in a hurry.  I did what I had to do, and made it work.

One of the dogs I did was a new client.  A girl in her early 20's and her 10 month old smallish mixed breed puppy.  She had lots of instructions, and lots of bad things to say about the dog's last groom, done somewhere else.  Apparently the dog had to be shaved, but she admitted that the groomer had no other choice, as it was matted. She told me she had a comb, and they were doing their best to keep the coat up, so they wanted it left long.  She actually had been brushing.. imagine my relief.  I COULD actually give her what she wanted, at least I hoped I could.  She was pretty specific.  Her first idea was that she wanted the dog to be the exact length it was now.. for winter.  Uh..  he was shaved bald 4 months ago.. I explained.  Oh, yeah, well, she didn't want that.  I explained the way it would work, that a longer cut would mean more frequent grooms, as well as her continued work on brushing his coat at home.  She wanted the tail like a fan.. but not too short.  She wanted the face short.. it drags in his water, but not too short, still cute.  The last groomer made it look like a Schnauzer, they didn't want that.  She stated that she did not want his anal glands expressed.  I told her that glands are included in the groom, but that would be no problem if she didn't want it done.  She said, maybe  I could do it next time, "we'll see how this goes first".  I don't want him traumatized this time (this time?).   The last groomer said he was very well behaved, but when he got home, he slept for the rest of the day, she was concerned something had happened.  I explained that any time a dogs routine is changed, there is a certain amount of stress.  She seemed doubtful, and then I made her even more nervous, when I told her he would have to stay 4 hours.  I could tell this was an "test" grooming, and I better pass.. or we'd never see her again, and of course the next groomer would hear how badly I messed up.

The girl's boyfriend picked the dog up, and though she assured me that HE was the picky one, all he had to say when he picked him up was "he's really soft".  Ok... guessing I failed this one. 

The day went on, lifting heavy dogs, etc, etc.  Right about the time when I really didn't need to spend time on the phone, I was told that the dog's owner was on the phone wanting to speak with me.  Many times this isn't good.. complaints coming my way.  But no!  She was just calling to tell me thank you for doing such a great job on him!  His cut was great, and she anxiously awaited bringing him back to see me again!  WHAT?  My bad mood lifted.. like magic.   She didn't have to call, she could have waited til the next groom to tell me that she loved the last cut.  But she didn't, and I appreciate that.

I am lucky to work in a place where thank you's are frequent among my co-workers.  I try to remember to thank the person who helped me lift a heavy dog, or held one still for me, or cleaned the messy cage I couldn't get to.   We have an amazing maintenance man, who keeps everything running smoothly for us.   I appreciate my receptionists so much, they try very hard to help keep my schedule livable, I'm sure I don't thank them enough. 

It's amazing what those two little words can do. Never underestimate their power.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm telling you.. Doodle HELL.

This was a crazy week.  Our schedule has exploded into booked-solid madness.  That makes me happy.  It also makes me tired.  Hard work = bigger paycheck, it's easy math.

Tuesday actually wasn't crazy.  I was annoyed at the time, but I now appreciate that easy day.  I had 3 no shows, all new clients.   The truth about this kind of no show is that they couldn't get into their regular groomer, and went into panic mode.  Since we are one of the few places with more than one groomer, we generally can get people in sooner.  Invariably, these people get in at their regular place, and "forget" to cancel.  Really rude. 

The rest of the week was pretty nuts.  Lots of big messy dogs, lots of time consuming haircuts.  None was worse than Wednesday. 

I was a bit overbooked.  OF course, no one ever no shows when I'd like them to.  I was doing pretty well, until I went up front to take in a new "Golden Retriever Mix" client.  I was a bit shocked to see this:

I'm sad to say.. my poker face probably failed me.  I'm sure I completely gave away the fact that I was completely deflated by the realization that there was a Doodle attached to this Golden Retriever Mix's lineage.  Damn.   I kind of wanted to cry. This was the before.. It doesn't look that bad, and thankfully it was in decent shape, but I cut off 1/2 it's hair, and it was much more work than a Golden Mix that looked like a Golden would be.  Thankfully, the owner was not in a hurry, and the dog was perfectly behaved.  The correct term for this mix (actually I'm really happy the owner KNOWS it's a mix) would be Standard Poodle mix.  Yeah.. next time.

Just to show you that even the little ones were a mess on Wednesday.. here is a Westie.. before.  Nope, no time for an after shot, sorry.

This one shows just how dirty this little guy was, I refused to touch him with my clippers til he was bathed.  He lives on a cow farm.:

But then, in the midst of all the running around trying to stay on time, came the really crazy part of my day.  A request from the front desk to give a quote for a bath.  A BATH.. that should be quick, right?? RIGHT???

Me:  Hi, this is D, how can I help you.

Mr. Crazyperson:  Hi!!! (yep, with enthusiasm)  I have a Goldendoodle.  How much would you charge for a bath on her.  She really doesn't need any trimming yet.

Me:  Is she a puppy?

CP:  OH NO! (he starts talking a mile a minute)  She is 2 years old, smarter than any 50 year old.  (at this point I really wanted to ask if he was 50, I'm guessing so)  She's such a nice dog.  She rolled in the swamp the other day, and she was black up to her chest.  I had to drag her into the bathroom to clean her up. She hates the bathroom, I wonder why? (doesn't wait for a response).  I just think she needs a bath, how much would that be?

Me:  Well, what size is she? Do you know how much she weighs? 

CP:  How much she weighs??? HMM.. Maggie, How much do you weigh?? Why won't you tell me?? HAHA.. she is just like any other female.. she doesn't want to tell her weight.

Me:  (remember, I'm on a time schedule.. and I honestly have paraphrased the conversation up til now.. it was actually more wordy on his part)  Well, is she a full-sized Goldendoodle?  We do see Miniature ones.

CP: Oh, around 50 lbs.

I give him a price, then he asks for a full groom price, which takes another huge chunk of time while we talk in circles about the correct cut for a Goldendoodle.  I then try to pass him back to the receptionist.

Me:  Well, I don't have my schedule in front of me, so I'm going to have you speak to F again, and she will get that all sorted out. 

CP:  Oh, ok.  Well, I'd like to get in next Friday.  My daughter and I are going on a road trip and Maggie is going with us.  He then goes on to tell me the exact route, including which roads he will take.  Seriously?

I finally disengage myself from him after 10 minutes of this discussion.  When F came back later in the day, I asked her if she thought the guy was drunk, or at least had possible taken one to many trips to Starbucks that day?  She had the same problem with him.  She started the conversation out with "when would you like to make your appointment" and ended the conversation with a discussion on artificial insemination.  Yes, my friends, he wants to breed his Goldendoodle.  He told her he had been reading up on it, and knew that sometimes dogs just "aren't in the mood" and you were forced to artificially inseminate.  He then went on to tell her all about how the semen is obtained.  Really?? It made my road trip story seem like the better end of the deal.

He did make the appointment.  I can't wait to see this guy in person.  It should be very interesting! I'm kind of scared.  Of course, who knows if he will actually show up.

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Anatomy Lesson and Randomness

1st, Randomness.  I've been too busy for blogging lately, so better catch up on these random thoughts before they leave my brain.

This past week was my birthday, and one of my awesome friends gave me this hilarious card

The inside says: Have a great birthday, any way you cut it!.

It's been extremely hot here, a few days it even made it to 100 degrees.  This makes everyone crabby, just FYI.   One client who walked into the clinic from the inferno which was the great outdoors told the receptionist:  "You people sure aren't afraid to use the air conditioner, BRR!"  Really?  The receptionist went and checked the temp.. it was 72.  Perhaps she'd rather her dog stayed somewhere that wasn't air conditioned?  Wow.

The receptionists called back to the grooming room, saying that there was a new client on the phone, who wanted to find out if we could do a certain haircut, before he made an appointment.  I figured for sure he had a Basenjidoodle, and wanted it in a puppy cut.  Instead he had a Golden Retriever, that he wanted shaved.  "Have you ever done that cut?"... "Yes, we do that cut all the time".  " You know, the one where the body and legs are shaved, and the tail is left longer? You have to leave the tail longer or the dog will go crazy." "Yes, we can do that (I ignore the tail comment)"  Well, I just need to know that someone can do it that has done this cut before, I don't want a hack job from someone who is just starting out".  "Yes, both J and I have been here over 20 years each, and we both can do that groom for you"  "Ok, I was just checking".

Would you believe after all that, he never even made an appointment?  He wanted to get in next week.. no way he can get in that soon.  *Sigh* I wish he would've started with that small detail, it would have saved us both some precious time.

Just to show you what lengths my clients go to cut down on their dog's shedding, here is a before and after.

No, really.  This IS the before~!  I have to shave this dog! 

TA DA!  What a huge difference! ;)  Hey, I do what they pay me to do, what can I say.  They tell me it cuts down on the shedding SO MUCH.  Whatever floats your boat, I guess..

And finally, best crazy client story of the week.  Warning: actual use (and some slang) of anatomy names to follow, don't read if you are easily offended by such things.

There was an appointment on the books which said that the client had requested that a technician do the dog's anal glands, and also that they should shave the dog's vulva.  When the client came in, she nervously started dancing around the subject, saying that the dog had trouble if "her rear" wasn't shaved close due to a skin issue. 

I just let her talk, which apparently made her nervous and wonder if I knew exactly what she meant.  So, she said, "You know... well, I don't even know what to call it...  Where she pees?"  I finally took pity on her and said, " Yes, her vulva needs to be closely shaved".  "Does the clinic need to do that? I always do that as a rule with her grooming." 

The client said that would be fine, but then leaned in to whisper to me.  "Just make sure you do it really short, the clinic did it so short last time, you could see her balls." (??????)

I just smiled and said, Ok.  It's been a long week.  When I relayed the story to my kennel helper for the day, she said "does she mean the dog's ovaries?"  That would be REALLY short! HA!  I needed that laugh.