You might not think so after reading this post, but today was a better day than yesterday.
Just like yesterday, today started a little strange.
My first customer of the day was new.
I did not take the appointment, so I did not know what was coming in.
I learned a long time ago, for me at least, not to look at what was coming in the next day.
I watched a good groomer once worry herself right out of grooming.
She would look at the book at the end of the day and then worry all night about the dogs she had for the next day.
She quit grooming, it was a shame.
Anyway, when this customer walked in, I thought that he was a Self-Serve customer.
He had a short hair Shepard mix.
"Hi. Are you here to use the Self-Serve?" I greeted him.
"The what?" he asked.
"Are you going to wash your dog?" I asked starting to feel that something wasn't right.
"Nooo, your going to wash her. I have an appointment," he said very sternly.
"Oh," I said with what I am sure was a stupid look on my face.
It flashed through my brain for a second to explain that I wasn't mentally challenged, it was just that we rarely ever do a full groom on a short hair dog.
Almost all of our short hair customers use the Self-Serve.
Intuition told me this man would not care what I thought.
"I am sorry, I thought you were here for the Self-Serve." I said quickly.
"Is this 'Diva'?" I asked to make sure he was the new customer that I had on my list.
I was already beginning to doubt my sanity and it was only 8:05 am.
"Yes, this is 'Diva'," he said.
After taking all of the customers information, and asking the usual questions about the dog and what he wanted done, I went around the counter to the dog.
She had been cowering next to her owner the whole time.
'Diva' is 9 years old.
I walked up to her, talking to her the whole time, and kneeled down in front of her.
I have to stop here for a second and say that I am one of those people that believes you should look right into a dogs eyes.
I always look into all of the eyes of all of the dogs that I groom.
I want to see what they are thinking.
I want to feel what they are feeling.
AND, I want that dog to see me, and know that I will not hurt them.
That said, I am not stupid, (even though some people might argue that) I am very careful and very prepared in case the meeting does not go well.
Back to my story.
'Diva' was scared to death, and she was shaking out of her skin.
I talked to her and very gently rubbed her head.
Then I rubbed between her eyes and massaged her face a little till I felt her relax just a little bit.
"Okay girl, are you ready to go?" I said as I put my arms around her and picked her up.
"Is that how you do it?" I heard the owner say as I started to carry 'Diva' back behind the gate.
"I am sorry?" I questioned, not sure what he was asking.
"Is that how you get the dogs to trust you?" he asked again, then before I could answer, he continued by saying "Watch her."
"I am sure she will be fine." I smiled.
"No. You have to watch her!" he said forcefully. "She will get violent."
She will?" I asked surprised.
I did not get that vibe off of her at all.
A fear biter maybe, but not what he seemed to be implying.
Okay, I'll be careful." I told him.
'She'll get violent, be careful, she'll get violent. Petsm**t told me she could never come back, be careful," he repeated as he left.
She went in the kennel very good.
She came out of the kennel wagging her tail.
She had stopped shaking.
She did really good in the tub, she just wasn't crazy about her legs being touched, but she did let me touch them.
I worked slowly talking to her the whole time.
I rubbed her head a lot, she really liked that.
'Diva' was defiantly a potential fear biter, but she was not a mean dog.
She even did great for the dryer.
This old girl was very sweet.
I had a feeling that she had not been treated well in other grooming shops.
She even trusted me to use the dryer on her head without getting upset.
I felt that if she was going to fight me on anything it would be her nails.
I used the Furminator on her, and cleaned her ears.
All that was left was the nails.
I picked up her foot and ran my finger over her nail.
She went off.
She growled and snapped, but she did not go after me.
She was scared out of her mind.
Just the anticipation of having her nails clipped was enough to make her have a break down.
How many time in 9 years had this dog been pinned down and had her nails forcefully clipped.
It was time for my daughter and I to double team.
I put the muzzle on 'Diva', calmly talking to her and explaining everything that we were doing and going to do.
Yes. That is another crazy thing that I believe in and that I do.
I tell the dogs what I am doing when they are scared.
I walk them through.
I let them know what is coming next and that they will be alright.
And yes, I believe it helps.
My daughter held her head, gently rubbing her.
She only applied pressure to her neck when she started to fight, releasing the pressure as soon as she stopped fighting.
When 'Diva' stopped fighting, my daughter started to pet her again telling her she was okay.
Meanwhile I was doing 'Diva's' nails from behind, with her head under my arm, so that she could not watch me do the nails.
Yes, she fought.
We worked her through it.
By the last foot, she had calmed down.
Not all of the way, but about 70%.
I was able to do all of her nails.
After I finished, the muzzle came off and I praised her to death.
She was happy, so was I.
That was my morning.
In the afternoon, my husband walked in with 'Snowball', a little Bichon that I have been grooming for 12 years.
'Snowball' had a bandage on her leg.
"What happened to her?" I asked.
"She lost a toe nail," my husband said.
"Your kidding me. They wrapped her up like that for a nail?" I said shaking my head.
"Do they want me to take it off," I asked.
It wouldn't be the first time.
"No. They don't want you to get it wet," he informed me.
"Oh, for the love of pete," I said making a face.
"Why do people do this to me?" I said, not really expecting an answer.
"Now I have to figure out a way to keep that dry while I give her a bath, goodie,"
I said, as I left the room to look for something to rig up.
This what I came up with.
We will see what happens.
First I wrapped her bandage in foil.
I tried to get it as tight to the bandage as possible.
Then I put the baggie over the top of the foil.
I found some plastic rubber bands that were big enough not to pinch her leg, but would tightly close the top of the baggy.
'Snowball' is so sweet.
Okay, we are ready for the tub.
Let's see if this will work.
I held her foot up as I wet her down.
Before I soaped her up, I decide to wrapped her foot in a towel also.
I bathed her as usual, being as careful as possible with her foot.
How did my little rigged up whatchamacallit do?
Uh oh, the bag has water in it.
Not a good sign.
Well, as my kids would say; "you failed Mom"
The bandage was a little wet at the top and on the toe.
At least it was not soaked through.
It was just a little damp.
I dried the bandage before I dried 'Snowball'.
I was able to get the bandage totally dry.
If you ask me, that bandage was a little over kill for a missing nail.
Oh well, that's just me.
'Snowball' did great as usual.
Doesn't she have a sweet face?
This was my last dog of the day.
His name is 'WooWoo'.
Yes, I said 'WooWoo'.
He is a very sweet Wheaton.
He is a very matted Wheaton.
This is the second time I have groomed him.
The first time was in May.
He hasn't been groomed since.
I was able to get a #4f through his mats.
His Dad said that he got this way rolling in the leaves in the back yard.
It could not possibly be because no one brushes him, and the fact that they only get him groomed twice year.
Damn those leaves!
The clip is not as smooth as I would like, but that is the best I could do with a #4f on a matted coat.
I didn't want to take him any shorter, his coat is very thin.
Is it Saturday yet?
Two more days of grooming.
What will tomorrow bring?
It is suposed to snow tonight.
A dusting to an inch.
It should be a fun rush hour, since no one in Maryland knows how to drive when it snows. ;)
We shell see, we shell see.
Happy Grooming, MFF