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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To Pluck or Not to Pluck

To express or not to express.

Can you guess what I am going to talk about tonight?

Ears and Anal Glans.

I will get back to the ears and Anals in a minute.

I wanted to follow up a little on yesterdays rant.

Someone left a comment about charging a late drop-off fee and a boarding fee.

First, thanks for the comment, I am sorry, I don't know your name.
The comment was from a non groomer.
She feels the way a lot of my customers feel, you should pick up your dog as soon as it is finished.
She also feels that I should charge the fees that I wrote about above.

Thank you for the suggestion, but I have tried that.
 The late drop-off and pick-up fee.
About a year after I opened my shop, I wrote a letter to my customers and made a sign telling my customers that we were implementing a late fee.
If I remember correctly the fee was one dollar for every 15 minutes you were late for your appointment, and the same for every 15 minutes a customer was late picking up their dog.

I know, I know, the fee wasn't much, but that was over 20 years ago.

Two weeks after I implemented this fee, I had a new customer come in 1 hour and 45 minutes late for their appointment.
The dog was booked on my other groomer at the time.
She came back to me and asked what she should do.
I told her to tell the customer that they were late, and that there was a fee for being late.
The owner could keep the appointment, and pay the fee, or the owner could reschedule, and not pay any fee.

The owner blow his mind, and said that he was told he could bring his dog in anytime, and that there was no appointment time given. (I had been grooming by set appointment times for 3 years, even before I opened my shop)
There was no way my husband had told this customer to come in whenever he wanted.

Anyway, the owner practically tossed his dog at my groomer and said that he did not have time to take the dog back home because he had to be somewhere.
He upset my groomer so much that I wasn't even going to let her or anyone groom the dog at all, but the dog was so sweet and my groomer really wanted to groom her, so I let her.
My groomer also did not want to wait on this customer when he came back.

I waited on him.
He came in ready for a fight.
He accused me of purposely telling people that they could come in anytime just so we could get extra money by charging our late fee.
He accessed me of robbing people.
He accused me of being a dishonest person and a lair.

I had calmly shown him my appointment book with all of the dogs scheduled at specific times throughout the day.
I pointed out his appointment on the books.
I asked him how I was supposed to have any order in my day if I let customers walk in anytime they wanted.
Lastly, I told him to just pay for the grooming and that I did not want any extra money from him.
I mean really....we were talking about $7.
He insisted on paying my 'highway robbery fee'.
He wrote the check and took his very sweet little dog.

I was a bad person.
I could not help having the last word when I handed him the dog.
I don't know where it came from, because I had absolutely no backbone back then.
I handed him his dog and said, "you have a very sweet dog there, you could take a lesson of two from her."
He walked out and I never saw him or the dog again.

Later that night I was doing the bookwork for the day.
I picked up his check and took a good look at it for the first time.
My mouth dropped open.
This man who had been so rude and had called me so many names, and accused me of being such a bad person and a lair......was a Reverend!

After that major encounter, I didn't feel that my new fee was worth it.
I stopped charging a late fee, and never tried again.

As for boarding.
I can't, I don't have a boarding license.
I have to stay at the shop until the customer shows up.
The latest that I ever stayed so far was 8:30pm. (we closed at 4pm)
It was a  long time, regular 4 week customer.

The worst was the customer with two Bichons that never came to pick them up the day my first son was born.
I wrote about this before.
We did bed those dogs down for the night so that my husband could get to the hospital in time.
He didn't make it.
He had waited for the owners till 7pm.
I had my son a 7:20.
Those people didn't come for their dogs till noon the next day.
No apology.
They just forgot about the dogs.

Yes, we charged a boarding fee of $20 for each dog.
This was before I found out that I was not allowed to keep dogs overnight.
I am supposed to turn them into the pound as abandoned dogs.
I'll stay at the shop all night before I do that!

Oh, and today....one of the 8am appointments (regular customer for 24 years) 45 minutes late for her appointment.
And, another regular who is booked every 4 weeks for the year, came in wanting to change three for her appointments, because she scheduled three of her summer vacations on three of the weeks her dog was supposed to be groomed.

I am telling you, there is something in the air.
This is a very large Standard Poodle.
June, July, and August are already booked for the year.
We could only move one of the appointments.
She was very upset.

One of the new dates that she wanted fell on our vacation.
She could not understand why we could not groom her dog on that date.
"We will be on vacation," my daughter told her.
"So you can't groom him?" she asked, very irritated.
"No," my daughter told her again, "we will be closed for our vacation."
"Well, I guess I will have to take him somewhere else for that grooming," she informed my daughter.

Big mistake!
That crap doesn't flush with me.
You are more than welcome to go somewhere else.
Be my guess.
Please do.
Try to find a groomer that will follow all of your picky instructions.
Find a groomer that will hand dry your very thick haired Poodle.
Find a groomer that will do Poodle  face and feet without shaving them.
Find a groomer that will groom your Standard Poodle for the same price that I do.
Maybe what happened to another customer of mine will happen to you.

Today I had a Poodle customer booked to come in with her Bichon friend.
The Poodle missed her last appointment because the owner had been sick for a few days.
The Bichon owner told us when she came in that her friend was not coming.
She never called to come in later, so we thought that she was just going to wait until her next scheduled appointment.

I happened to look out of my window when they pulled up.
My jaw dropped.
The miniature apricot Poodle that I had been grooming for a couple of years now was with the Bichon.
This Poodle, whose Mom was so particular about the way the dog is groomed, 11/2 inch Puppy cut with long ears, puffy feet, round head and face, but short around the mouth without making it pointy, (God help you, don't make it pointy) was unrecognizable.

What happened!!!!

I could not believe my eyes.

Was there some medical problem?

Did the Vet have to shave her for some reason?

Where did all of her hair go?

"What happened?" my husband asked when they came in.
"She missed her last appointment and I could not get her back in here," the owner said.
(You never called to get her in!)
"I had one of those grooming trucks come to my house," she continued.
"I learned my lesson, I'll never go to anyone else again," she told my husband.

Holy naked dog Batman!

I have no idea why in the world that groomer shaved everything off of this dog.
Head, ears, tail, everything.
No, this dog was not matted.
This customer gets this dog groomed regularly.
She has never been in bad shape.

The Standard Poodle customer will not take her dog anywhere else.
She only said that because she thought that it would make us fall all over ourselves not to lose the  business.
She likes to throw out comments like "I've been coming to you for a long time," and the "I'll have to go someplace else" when she is not getting what she wants.

They just don't realize that I don't play that game.
If I can move an appointment, or give you the time you want, I will, but you are not the only customer that I have.

I did it again didn't I?

I rambled on and on.
I didn't even get to what I was going to talk about tonight.

Ears and Anals.

Tomorrow....I promise. :)

I know that you could not wait to read about ears and anals.
Especially the anals.

Oh, there was the Vet that I was pissed at too.
I know, you really wanted to read about that.
Maybe it's better that a couple days go by before 
I relate that story.

Nope, I'll probably get worked up all over again just writing about it.
After all it is a long time pet peeve of mine.

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Me again (Shannon).what about a three strikes and you're out policy? Or something like that? I can't fathom taking advantage of my groomer like that...people ate so inconsiderate...

  2. We are a unique industry, not quite service and not quite sales, but a bit of both. Getting people to understand the intricacies of what we do would take way longer than the groom itself ever could.
    Don't apologize to us for feeling frustrated and for "ranting and rambling"! This is an excellent way to let off steam in a way that can even be beneficial - other groomers as well as customers are able to read and learn and perhaps even come to understand why it is that their groomer can be so intense... Because we can, can't we?!
    I know I have to remind myself to focus on my goal when I deal with some clients. My goal is to improve the quality of life for my doggie clients. So sometimes I have to employ all my communication skills training, ask open-ended questions to find out why they do or think a certain way to find a means to help change a behaviour or a belief so I can show them why I (or my fellow groomer)are so upset about something they do.
    Phew. That was a long sentence. I try to remind myself you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar. I use humour a lot to disarm them so I can make a point effectively without provoking a defensive reaction.
    Sometimes, we are successful.
    Sometimes, we have the conversation about finding a groomer who can better meet their needs.

  3. Hi Shannon,
    I did implement a policy like that. The only problem was, I didn't follow my own policy. lol 99% of the time, I like the dog too much, even if the owner pisses me off to no end. I put up with the owners inconsideration for the dogs sake.

    Hi Bev,
    You are so right, we are a unique industry. We are also a very personalized industry. We take care of a member of our customers family. Most of them loved more than the two legged members of the family.
    Unfortunately,because people pay us to do a service, some of them feel it is their right to boss us around whether what they are asking for is right or wrong. Also, because we are working with animals, that it is somehow a menial job, not to be taken seriously.
    You are so right about having to remind ourselves why we are groomers and who we are really working for....the dog or cat.
    I have written about how important communication skills are when dealing with your two legged customers. Sometimes it takes more skill dealing with them than it does dealing with a biting dog. lol
    Yes, yes, yes, I can't tell you how many times my husband and kids have stood there shaking their heads at me after I finish talking to certain customers. "Lisa, you could not have had anymore sugar dripping off of you while talking to that customer." Most of the time, if a customer comes in in a pissy mood, I am able to get them smiling when they leave.
    I look at it as a challenge. My goal is to get that customer smiling. I myself can not stand when I walk into a business and a sour employee waits on me.
    Even though I can get 99% of my customers to smile and work out any miss understandings, some of them can really get to me. Writing the blog does help, although I do feel bad bring other people down by having to read my whining.
    Of course I did name my blog the good AND the bad. I like writing about the good more. :)
    Lisa, MFF