About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stress and a Full Moon

I have a question for the groomers out there...

How many times have you had days that you feel like every ounce of energy has been drained out of you?
 Some times just one dog can do that to you, or maybe it is just me.

Friday, I had a day like that.
I had a couple large jobs, and a few medium jobs.
Everyone of those grooms had to fight or fuss in some way or another for the entire groom.
Usually I have one or two like that and then the rest of the dogs are really good.
Even the ones that are usually good where acting up.
It was a Full Moon or very close to one.
I have noticed this before.
When dogs act up that normally don't, it is almost always a Full Moon.

I was half dead when I got home on Friday.
Too dead to type.
Too dead to fool with my photos.
Too dead to do anything.  :/

 This was my second energy draining groom of the day.

He is a 11 month old Wheaton.
This was his 3rd grooming.

 This was him back in September for his first grooming.
He was a round 5 months old.
He did not have any mats in him.
His owners were doing a great job brushing him.

After the first grooming, I had told them that if they wanted to keep him long they should get him groomed no later then every 6 weeks.
They decided to go 8 weeks the first time.

He came in again in November.
The second grooming, he only had a few little mats in him.
Both times I hand scissored a round an 1 1/2" off.

When the owner left after the second appointment, they said that they would call for their next appointment.

They waited too long to call.

They had to wait a few weeks for this appointment.

He was matted this time.
Too matted.

 The wife is very nice.
She knew that the dog was matted and would have to be clipped.

Her husband was another story.
I could tell by the way the wife was talking that the husband did not want his dog short.

I could also tell that they had really been trying to keep the dog brushed out.
There were a lot of places that were mat free, the problem was, the places that were matted were bad.

 I don't mince words on matted dogs.
I tell the owner up front that it will be very short.
I use the word shaved.
If I am able to leave it a little longer, they will be pleasantly surprised.

I have worked with groomers, and have had groomers work for me that don't believe in trying to save the coat or leaving the dog a little longer.
In some cases I do agree with this thought.
But, I don't think it applies to everyone.

If I have a customer that comes in with a dog matted every time or does not come regularly to have their dog groomed, yes, I will not try to save the coat.
The dog gets shaved with whatever blade will go safely through the coat.
If I have a customer that I know is trying to keep the coat brushed out, I will work with them.
I will try to keep the coat as long as possible, without hurting the dog.

This was the case with this dog.
He was still going to be short in the owners eyes.

I managed to get a 5/8th blade through the coat.
I had to work slowly on a moving target.
This dog has energy to burn.

It also didn't help that his male owner chickened out of having him neutered last month, and the dog spent most of the grooming trying to sit down and protect the family jewels.

I took these picture and saved the mats for the owner to see when she picked up the dog.

 Oh...and to help the grooming along, he had these little monsters in his coat.
You know the little pieces of evergreen that poke your skin like a needle as you are clipping.


I think my hand hit everyone of them.

 He is a very sweet dog.
Still very bouncy.
Still needs training.

Still needs to be neutered!

I got the 5/8th through most of him.
His chest, belly, tuck-up, and inside the back legs had to be clipped with a #4f blade.

I showed the wife the mattes.
She asked if she could take them home to show her husband.
No problem.  :-)

I was drained after grooming him.
Not that the clip was hard.
It was the holding him up to scissor his legs because he thought I was going to cut something else.
(Oh by the way, he had matted hair all around his scrotum...lucky me.)
It was also deflecting his big feet when he tried to climb over my shoulder every time I tried to stand him back up.

This was my next dog of the day.

They wanted her longer for winter.
This is a picture of her with her usual cut.

I don't want to talk about it.

I still had three more grooms after her.

Did I mention it was a Full Moon?

I once had a dear friend of mine turn to me at a party, and say;
"It must be wonderful to have a stress free job," she smiled.
A group of us had been talking about stress in the workplace.
At first I just stood there and stared at her for a minute.
Then I said, "your kidding, right?"
"No. What is stressful about playing with dogs all day," she answered.
I shook my head and said, "Actually there can be a lot of stress."
The smile faded off of her face, she disbelievingly, and almost  a little irritated asked,"What stress could there possibly be washing a dog?"
"Well lets see," I began.
"I am working on a living, moving animal, most of which are spoiled and untrained. I use sharp blades and scissors on that same moving animal, that at any moment could move the wrong way at the wrong time and get nicked. Some of the dogs want to eat me because they are scared. Some want to eat me just for the fun of it. Some are very old and I have to worry whether they are going to make it through the grooming. Some dogs are insane, some hyper messes, a lot of them are wonderful to groom, but the potential is always there for accidents to happen." I paused.
"Then there are the owners...." I finished.

It was my friends turn to stare at me.
"Wow. I never thought of any of that. I thought it would be fun to have your job," she said with an amazed look on her face.
"Oh, it can be fun, but it can be stressful too, just in a different way from other jobs," I said
"Don't you tie them to the table?" she asked.
"It's called a grooming noose, kind of like a small leash. It can help hold them on the table, but it does not stop them from moving. A dog can even injure itself while on a noose, if it is crazy enough." I explained.
"Oh, I never thought of your job as stressful." she said with an amazed look on her face.

I had one other friend that I had to set straight when he went on and on about me owning my own business.
"It must be nice to own your own business, and take off any time you want to, have no boss and not answer to anybody," he said.
I smiled at him and answered, "Well lets see, if I take a vacation or a day off it is without pay. My shop also losses money because I am not there to bring in the money. I have around a dozen bosses a day telling me what to do on their pets, and God help me if I don't get it right. Last but no least, I have to answer to my Landlord, the Phone Co., the Electric Co, the Government, and any other company standing with their hand out."

I don't remember what he said after that, but he has never said anything again about it being nice to own your own business.

I have to stop here and say that I do love grooming, even on the bad days.
I also love owning my own shop.
I just wish that friends, family, and pet owners realized how hard we groomers work. :-)

Happy grooming, MFF


  1. Exhausting grooms- be glad you never had to groom my foster puppy :) She was a Shepherd/Lab cross whom hated grooming with a vengeance. Yup- this is a *shorthair* I'm talking about!

    You had to physically hold her in the bath- or else she'd pop out like there were springs in her paws. The only way I could clip her nails (and believe me, I tried EVERY way) was to spread peanut butter all over my face and I would clip them really quick while she was busy licking it off. You couldn't really brush her because she'd attack the brush and injure herself. Yet somehow, I was able to turn her coat from dull, patchy and mange-ridden to sleek, thick and shiny. (Part of the secret was frequent deep massages with Cowboy Magic detangler)

    She was also extremely hyperactive and I made the mistake of trying to paint her nails for a fun local dog show. She would not sit still for more than 25 seconds at a time. It took me 4 hours to paint all her nails :P

    1. I truly enjoyed reading this blog of interesting moments in the life of a groomer. I am also a groomer and own my own business.I can totally relate to your truthful statements especially the ones you you chose to remain relatively silent on. Even though I have a very successful grooming business I don't think I will be doing this another 20 yrs. (to catch up with you at 28 yrs.) I constanly wear a pain patch on my right shoulder 12 hrs. a day due to the pain. I am exhausted mentally after catering to the needs of the owners and their beloved perfect pets...I love when an owner comes to me after trying to save money and groom at home. They are so much more understanding and appreciative of all that we , as groomers go through to try and meet the expectations and needs of the pet and their owners. At the end of the day I just do my very best and let the Lord take care of the rest...Blessings to you

    2. Hi,
      I feel your pain...literally. Sometimes I wonder just how long I will be able to do this job. Hopefully a lot longer.
      Thank you for reading my blog, I am glad that you enjoy it. :)
      Take care and hang in there. All you can do sometimes is put things in the Lords hands.
      Lisa, MFF