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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Covering my Bu**...Warning, Very long

Back in January I posted a couple of blog entries about a Pomeranian that I had groomed.
The first post was about grooming the dog, and how the husband and the wife could not agree on the grooming. 
The second post was about what happened the next day, the ugly part of grooming.

I have not heard from this customer since then.
I never found out what the owner's Vet said was wrong with the dog.
I can not express how much the phone call from this customer bothered me.
Some people think I have over reacted.
Yes, I probably did.
I can't help it.
Maybe it's Premenopause.
Yes, let's blame it on that. :/

I have spent so many years building an excellent reputation for my shop.
We treat all of the dogs and cats as we would our own pets.
I have a lot of patience when it comes to working with pets, but I am not a Saint.
I have gotten upset when grooming, but I also know my limits.
I know when to put the dog away and walk away for a while.
I know when to ask for help.
I would NEVER intentionally hurt a pet.
AND I tell the owner everything!
I tell the owner everything, because one; it's the right thing to do, and two; I don't ever want to have a customer call me asking 'what did you do to my dog?'

In the 26 years I have been grooming, I have had accidents happen.
I wish I could say that I have never had a grooming accident.
I am somewhat happy to say that I can count the number of grooming accidents that I have had on only  one hand.
Unfortunately, there were a few more accidents done by employees of mine.
My employees were told, at the time of hiring, that if they nicked or cut any dog, the grooming was free, and they would not get paid for the groom.
I would cover Vet bills if there were any.
Every time an employee cut or nicked a dog, they told me that it was the dogs fault.

Every accident that I have had has been MY fault.
Yes, the Yorkie ear that I cut was on a 'Mexican jumping bean Yorkie' that could not sit still to save her life, but I was the one holding the scissors.

Yes, the Cock-a-Poo, that I nicked the neck, was matted to the skin, but it was my fault for not putting my foot down about shaving the dog, and trying to save the coat for the owner.

Yes, the end of the Lhasa's tail had a tight cork screw twist to it, but it was my fault for trying to cut through the mat on the end of the tail, and just assuming that the tail was straight.

Yes, the German Shepard absolutely hated being in a kennel, and was having a major fit, but it was my fault for not calling the owner and insisting that he leave work and pick his dog up until the dog pulled a tooth out trying to get out.

Yes, the Shih-Tzu has one of those dangling, hanging by a piece of skin dew claws on the inside of his back leg, but it was my fault for even trying to clip down the inside of that leg with a #5f blade.

I have to say, the owners were wonderful about these accidents.
The Yorkie's owner understood that her dog was a nut and was amazed that the dog didn't get cut all over.
Her husband wasn't so understanding, he would not let her bring the dog back.
Can you believe she apologized to me?

After I nicked the Cock-a-Poo's neck, I was so upset with myself that I got on the phone and called the owner, explained what happened and told her that I was taking her dog down with a #7f blade.
She was beyond understanding.
This was the first time I had groomed the dog.
I explained to her why the nick happened, that it was my fault for trying to save the coat for her and that I knew better, but I wanted to make her happy.
She became one of the best customers that I ever had.
I groomed her dog for 15 years.
The dog was never matted again.  :)

The Lhasa was one of my favorites.
I was so upset.
I drove that dog right to the Vet.
The tail didn't bleed, but I had sliced it open with the mat splitter.
That sweet guy never made a sound, he was one of the most laid back Lhasa's you would ever meet.
His owners couldn't understand why I was so upset.
They couldn't believe that I had taken the dog to the Vet.
They told me not to worry about it.
I still groom their dogs today.

The German Shepard.
What can I say about that.
The owner dropped the dog off at 8am and told us that he could not pick up until 5pm, after work.
He also told us that the dog hated being kenneled.
We told him he had to be in a kennel.
He said that is okay, but the dog will bark all day.
The dog was great in the tub.
Great for brushing.
Great for drying.
Put him in the kennel...OMG.

As a groomer you do learn to turn off the barking.
At least most of it.
Except for the little yappers that go straight through your head.  :/

Anyway, back to the Shepard.
He kept barking...we kept checking on him.
He kept barking...we kept telling him his owner wouldn't be there till 5pm.
He kept barking...we turned him off.

He stopped barking...

"Hey Judy, the Shepard stopped barking," I  told my bather when I suddenly noticed that the Shepard was quiet.
"Finally!" she said.
"Watch my dog so that I can check on him," I told my bather.
"Maybe you should leave him alone," she said. If he sees you he might start up again.
(My tubs and kennels used to be in another room, separated by a half wall.)
"I'll just quietly peek at him," I said, as I slowly snuck into the back room.
As I walked up to the kennel, the Shepard was laying there calmly looking out the door of the kennel door.
His front legs were crossed, and he was calmly panting, looking as if he hadn't a care in the world.
I walked up to his kennel and leaned down looking in at him.
"Hey buddy! So you finally decided to calm down," I cooed at him.
"What a good boy yo....." 
What is that? I thought as I noticed something in the bottom of the kennel.
I leaned down closer to the door to get a better look.


Not just a little blood.
A lot of blood.
A puddle of blood.
A puddle as large as a dinner plate!

"Judy! Get in here now!" I yelled as I opened the kennel and took the Shepard out.
My bather came running with the dog I had been grooming in her arms.
"Put him away and come help me find where this dog is bleeding from!" I told her.
The first place we checked was the dogs nails.
I was sure he must have pulled out a nail the way he was digging on the kennel door.
We had our hands all over that dog.

His nails were fine.
His legs were fine.
His ears were fine.
His tail was fine.
We could not find anything wrong with him.
 He was standing there so calmly, wagging his tail, enjoying all of the attention.

"Put him up on the table and check him all over again," I told my bather. "I will clean up the kennel."
I got on my hands and knees to clean out the kennel.
I started to soak up the blood with a sponge when I saw it.
A canine tooth, root and all!!
I ran into the grooming room and lifted the Shepard's lip.
His upper left canine was gone!

This Shepard was only 2 years old.
There was a tear in the gum where he had yanked it out.
He never whined.
He never screamed.
He never did anything to alert us that his tooth was caught.
Barking was all we ever heard.
He did not even scream when he yanked the tooth out.
(All of my kennels are now in my grooming room, facing my table, so that we can see all of the dogs at all times.)

We called the owner.
"You have to get your dog NOW," I explained everything to him.
He came right away.
The Vet could not do anything.
He said the dog would be fine without the tooth.
I was numb.

I had only opened my shop 3 weeks before this.
Was I crazy for openning my own place?
Did I really want all of this responsibility?

The owner, once again, was very understanding.
I never groomed the Shepard again.

I still groom the Shih-Tzu now.
The dew claw accident was a few years ago.
That was the last accident I had.

Knock, knock, knock...sorry I had to knock on wood real quick.

Anyway, the Shih-Tzu's owner is a nurse.
He wanted to know why I didn't finish the job, and take the dew claw all of the way off.  :/
I scissor the inside of that leg now.

Over the years I have also had a couple of customers call me to tell me that they would not be in for their appointment, because the dog had died the day before.
I always wondered; 'What if the dog had died the day after I groomed it?'

I did have that happen once.
A really sweet, hyper PooX.
The owner called me the day after the grooming to tell me that the dog had died in her lap on the way home.
I was in shock.
The dog had been happily running around my lobby, having a good old time, when her owner picked her up.
The owner asked if anything had happened while grooming, but did not accuse.
The Vet did an autopsy on the dog.
She had fluids around the heart, and an enlarged heart.
It was only a matter of time, any excitement could have killed her.
Of course it had to be the excitment of the owner picking her up after the grooming.
All I can say is, thank you for not letting it happen while I was grooming her.
The owner was very nice to call back and tell us, because she knew how upset we were.

The grooming on this Pom was so easy.
It was a simple, quick, uneventful, bath and neaten groom.
The dog was very sweet, and no problem at all.
I could have breezed through 20 of these dogs in a day without breaking a sweat.

To get a call the next day, asking if something happened while the dog was groomed, and finding out that the dog was now acting in pain, has brought home the reality of the fact that I have no way to prove that nothing happened while the dog was in my care.

Until now...

I have invested in a Home & Business Security System.
I think it is one of the best investments that I could make.
The one I bought has 4 security cameras.
One for my Lobby, the bathing room, the grooming room, and the Self-Serve.

I can set it to record only during my grooming hours.
The memory can hold weeks of recordings.

Even though I have not heard from the Pom owner, and they have not tried to come after me for any Vet bills, I will be ready the next time.
I will happily show my security recording to clear myself of any miss doing.
I always tell the owner everything.
I like having my butt covered.

Also, for the first time ever, I am using Release forms.
I have spent the last couple of weeks writing them.
No, I did not go to a lawyer, but I watch a lot of court shows, and I think they will hold up in small claims if needed.
I searched the internet, (not much out there) got some ideas, and wrote up my own forms.
If any groomers out there would like to use them, be my guest.
Just change the shop name.
Or use them to help write your own.

Matted pet Release Form:

     It is a pet owners responsibility to brush and maintain their pets coat between groomings. When a pet becomes matted it is necessary to remove the hair on the matted pet.

     I, the pet's owner, leave it up to the discretion of the groomers at My Furry Friends to decide what is the most humane way to remove the mats on my pet.
     The staff at My furry Friends have explained to me that the matting on my pet can be difficult to remove and will require extreme care and extra grooming time. This may result in extra grooming fees. I understand that the groomer must use whatever blade will safely cut between the matted coat and my pet's skin, giving the groomer no choice in the length of hair left on my pet.
     The staff at My Furry Friends have also explained that the matting may have already caused my pets skin to be raw and cracked from trapped moisture and urine causing fungus and bacteria to grow. Once the matted coat is removed, I understand that sores, hot spots and skin irritations, ect. may be found. In extreme cases, maggots may be found in open sores.
     I also understand that there may be after effects from the removal of a matted coat, such as, but not limited to;
       -- Itchiness                                      -- Sunburn do to an extremely close cut          
       -- Abrasions                                      -- Self-inflicted irritations
       -- Skin redness                                   -- Failure of the hair to re-grow
       -- Excessive licking and scratching after the pet is shaved
I do not hold My Furry Friends responsible for affects caused from shaving the mats off of my pet.

     My Furry Friends will bathe my pet in a Medicated Shampoo to help relieve some of the irritation my pet's skin may have from the matting, and, or removal of the matting. The staff at My Furry Friends will also inform me if my pet needs Veterinarian attention because of the matting.
     I have also been warned, that depending on how short my pet's coat had to be taken, I may need to keep my pet out of the sun until the hair has grown back enough to protect the skin. In some cases, pet's may also experience temporary behavioral changes, such as, but in limited to embarrassment or shyness.
     I understand that while all care will be taken by My Furry Friends in removing the mats from my pet, there is always the risk of a nick, cut or abrasions due to unseen warts, moles, or skin folds trapped in the mats.

     As the owner, I am responsible for the condition of my pet's coat as presented to My Furry Friends. I have read and understand the information above. I hereby release My Furry Friends and their staff from any problems that may be uncovered or occur during the grooming process. I agree to pay any and all charges for said service. Should my pet require Veterinary care during or after the grooming, I authorize My Furry Friends to provide necessary treatment for my pet and agree to pay any and all Veterinary fees.  

OWNERS NAME: (print)________________________________  PET'S NAME:____________________

OWNERS SIGNATURE:___________________________________________ DATE:_________________

Senior and Special Needs pet Release Form: 

     Grooming a Senior, or Special Needs Pet, can be very stressful to the pet. We here at My Furry Friends work very hard to make the grooming experience as comfortable as possible. In order to accomplish this, we groom for the pets comfort and cleanliness. We will only groom what your Senior pet will allow us to do comfortably. The cut will be in a style that will cause the least amount of stress as possible.

      Because many Senior, and Special Needs Pets have pre-existing health issues, their risk of an jury during grooming is greater. Grooming a Senior, or Special Needs Pet can also expose hidden medical issues and, or aggravate current medical issues during and, or after the grooming. All care possible will be taken in the grooming of your pet. My Furry Friends also holds the right to groom your pet only as far as the pets comfort will allow. If your pets shows any discomfort during the grooming, the grooming will stop and you will be asked to pick up your pet immediately.  

     The safety and comfort of your pet is our number one concern. We ask that all Senior and Special Needs Pets are picked up immediately, or no later then 30 minutes after we have called to inform you that your pet is ready to go home.

     In event of an Emergency, we ask that you grant an employee of My Furry Friends permission to seek Veterinarian assistance at________________________________________
              Vets Name:_________________________________________________

  In the event your Veterinarian is unavailable, you give My Furry Friends permission to take your pet to the closest available Veterinarian for care. If Veterinarian care is needed we will do our best to contact you at (phone #):______________________________

     I, the undersigned, understand the above and I authorize My Furry Friends to seek Veterinary care for my pet in case of an Emergency. I agree to pay any and all charges if Veterinary care is needed and provided.

Owners Signature:_________________________________________ Date:___________________

   Please use the space below to write any information a Veterinarian may need to know in order to treat your pet.___________________________________________________________

Don't wait as long as I have to cover your butt.  :)

I will still take pictures of matted dogs, sores, and anything else I think may be a problem.

The only thing is, is that I have found out pictures do not tell the whole story.

I have pictures of the Pom in question being groomed, but I only have my word that the dog did not jump or fall off of the table. 

It is only my word that I did not do anything to hurt the dog.


Now it will not only be my word, I will have proof that nothing happened.

And if something did happen?

Then maybe the owner would be able to see just how the accident happened when the dog moved, turned, wiggled, or sat down on my scissors while grooming.


I hope to never, ever have to use the recordings.

I will continue to groom as safely as I can.


I also have a Policy Form that all of my customers will be signing.

It is a page and a half long.  :p

Let me know if you would like to see that form.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Hi! I just wanted to add that you might want to toss in a sentence about photo releases while you're having the owners sign things. I am not a lawyer but releases are about covering your butt so why not cover it more completely? If you google "Property release" you can find the correct language.

    I enjoy your blog!

  2. Thank you for the suggestion. My Policies Form has a section about a Photo Release, I tried to cover everything. :)
    I am glad you are enjoying my blog.

  3. I would like to see the Policies Form...if that is alright :3 Thank you!!!

  4. Hi Abigail, if you send me your e-mail I would gladly send you my Policies Form. My e-mail is

  5. Can you please send me your policy form also. kaynickg@msn.com
    Thank you!

  6. Hi Barb,
    Sorry it took so long. I am sending the policy form to you right now. :)

  7. Great job with the release forms, seems like you covered everything they would complain about!! Could I also see what your policies form looks like? Thanks...my email is kailyn.little@gmail.com.


    1. Hi Kailyn,
      I just sent you an e-mail. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  8. Having a dog that I used to take to a groomer instead of doing it myself, I *always* forgive and forget if a good groomer accidentally nicks my dog.

    Pat the groomer used to call my Miniature Schnauzer 'Quicky' as she would accidentally quick one of his nails at least every other visit. It was understandable, because the dog used to be skittish and fearful of getting his feet handled- so right when his nail would be in the clipper vice, he'd shove his paw forward and pull back. Pat was a good groomer though, and if I didn't start grooming my own dog I'd surely use her services again.

    1. Hi Code 7,
      Unfortunately, in this day and age everyone seems to want to think the worst of people. Thankfully, anytime I have had an 'accident', my customer has been very understanding.
      Grooming can be a very scary business because of working on a living, moving target, with a mind of its own. You can only pray that the dog will not move at the wrong time, and if it does, that the owner will understand.
      Lisa, MFF

  9. I loved reading this thank u !!!! I have recently went through some of the same things,and it really sometimes makes me want to.close my doors. Most customers are understanding while others dont care we need to be magic workers. It gets frustrating sometimes but this made me realize its not only me its everyone in this field we all go through this.