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, November 29, 2012

Too Close to Home

One of the hardest things to do as a groomer is groom a dog that you know will be its last time.

The owner of a Springer that I groom called yesterday to see if I would still groom her dog.
She had an appointment on the books for today.
The Springer is dying of bone cancer in her rear leg.
The cancer is all over, but the tumor originated in her rear leg.
The last time that I groomed her, last month, the tumor was fairly large and she was limping, but still getting around pretty good.
She loved her walks with her owner.

The owner asked if I still wanted to groom her, because her time is short and she can no longer stand very well.
Her Vet gave the okay for a grooming, but she was leaving it up to me.
The owner mainly wanted a good sanitary trim to help keep her clean in the back, because she can no longer squat to do her business.

I didn't hesitate to say yes, but at the same time I wasn't sure how I was going to handle grooming this Springer that is living on borrowed time.

You see, my LabX girl is also living on borrowed time.
There is a very good chance that she will not make it to Christmas.
She is only 10 years old.
She has  inoperable rectal cancer.
Her tumor is the size of a small watermelon.
The tumor has pushed her rectum over to the side about 3 inches.
She is still able to pass her stools although it gets to be more and more of a struggle.
In the past two weeks the tumor has started to effect her bladder also.
She is still eating but has lost a lot of weight.

I know that I have to make a decision soon, but I don't like playing God.
At the same time I will not let her suffer.
I think she is starting to suffer.....

So, as I groomed the Springer, I turned my brain off.

Yes, it's actually pretty easy for me...thankfully.

I sang to her.

I thought about the book that I was reading.

I thought about anything else other than this Springers passing, and my girl.

They hide pain so well, don't they?

Or, is just that we, their owners, don't want to see their pain?

My girl has the same sad look in her eyes.

It just rips your heart out.

Something that gives you such unconditional love, leaves this Earth way too soon.

I groomed the Springer lying down.
I trimmed her up the best that I could.
Her owners said to do what ever I could, they would be happy.

I saved her hair.

I put it in a heart shaped glass Christmas ornament.

I will get a special pen at the craft store this weekend and write her name on it.

I also took her picture.

I have picked three that I think are nice.

Which one do you think that I should put on a canvas for her owners, #1, #2, or #3?

Or, does she look too sad?



This one is a little blurry.

I need to make an ornament for my girl, but I can't bring myself to shave some of her hair off yet.

I will always and forever have dogs.

No matter how hard it is to lose them, I will always need one in my life.

Besides, they are all there waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.
They are running and playing and lying in the sun.
They are happy and pain free.

My 'Annie' will be running again soon, just like she used to.....

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. #1 is my vote- it makes her look regal.

    What a sweetie. Bless you for doing her.

    1. Thanks Laura,
      I think she looks regal in #1 too.
      Lisa, MFF

  2. I like picture #2. I think the ornament is a sweet idea too

  3. I started crying as soon as I saw the heart ornament. I cried for your girl, the Springer and my beloved Chow mix who left us 2 weeks ago. I wish I had had the frame of mind to do something like the heart...

    1. I am so sorry for your loss.

      It's funny, I make these things for my customers, but I forget to do it for myself.
      Lisa, MFF

  4. I am just starting out as a groomer. I was a Vet Tech for 13 years prior to embarking on this next chapter in my life. I just want to tell you how helpful and enjoyable I find your blog. You seem so big hearted and thoughtful when it comes to your clients and their pets, I will strive to be like you in my own environment. I like the way you do things. I like the first picture the best. Thank you and keep it up, I appreciate it!

    1. Thank you Angela,
      Good luck in your new grooming career. I am glad that my blog can help.
      Lisa, MFF

  5. I like picture #2 the best. I had one of the most horrible things ever happen to me yesterday. I work in a vet clinic and had a very old Border Collie mix come in for her bath and brush. She has had a big cyst on her side the last couple of grooms but the owner didn't want to do anything about it. That one was looking better yesterday but then I found a new one on her other side so I called the vet back to the grooming room to look at it and help me clean it up. After that the vet went to call the owner to discuss ointments for the cyst so we bathed and dried her and put her back in the kennel. The whole time all this was happening she acted completely normal for herself. 5 minutes later my assistant started yelling "Sox" stop it then yelled for my name and I ran in the kennel room. She was having a seizure so I ran as fast as I could to get the vet. The vet and vet-tech ran back and helped her the best they could but as it turns out the seizure was basically a stroke and the dog couldn't move anymore so after talking to the owner she decided she didn't want her to suffer. When the owner came in I went up front to console her. Much crying and hugging she proceeded to tell me that she was hearing loud noises the night before and went to check on her and found her with her head turned sideways like she was trying to bite her cysts. She had no idea the dog was having seizures the night before. To top it all off I made little Christmas treat bags for select dogs and she was one of those dogs. Worst moment of my grooming career so far and that was only in the morning and I had many more dogs to finish that day.

    1. Oh Peggan!
      I am so sorry that you had to go through that. Thankfully you had a Vet right there and he had just seen the dog.
      I had a Shih-tzu have a stroke, in the tub, years ago. It is something that I hope never happens again. I got the dog across the street to my Vet (and the dogs Vet). Just like your customer, my customer decided to put the dog down also. I loved that dog.
      To be honest, I don't remember how I got through the rest of the day. I am sure that you were working on auto pilot the rest of the day.
      Again, I am SO sorry that that happened to you.
      Lisa, MFF

  6. I like #2. Great idea.

  7. I know the feeling. I just recently lost my boy..
    its a terrible feeling.

    I think the best is #3, even if it is a little fuzzy. She doesn't look as sad.
    Otherwise, if you don't want the blurry one, #2 is my next favourite.

    I love the christmas ornament hair idea. that is an excellent way to remember past furries.

    1. Hi,
      I am sorry for your resent loss. I always try to concentrate on all of the good memories. The operative word being TRY. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  8. I like #1, she looks at peace. I groomed a poodle mix a few years ago, a long time client. Her owner called me a couple of days later to say she had suddenly taken quite I'll and they had to put her down. She mentioned to me that she wished she had some of Angel's curls. I still had some (yes, from the trash, but under the circumstances, it seemed ok) and put a few of the curls in a card for Angel's mom. She called me a few weeks later to tell me how much that meant to her. I know this sweet Springer's mom will appreciate your kindness.

    1. Hi Heather,
      I know that Angle's mom will never forget what you took the time to do for her. Under the circumstances, I don't think that there was anything wrong with taking the hair out of the trash. She was lucky that you still had it. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  9. I like picture #1 - I think she looks least sad in the first one.
    Lisa, the heart ornament and picture are such thoughtful gifts, I am sure owners appreciate all you doing for their pets - until the very (sad) end. Bless your heart!

  10. I like #1. This is the worst part of the job... losing our furry friends.

    1. Hi Marge,
      You are so right. You groom some of these dogs for so long that they feel like they were yours too.
      Lisa, MFF

  11. I really like #1 best.. 3 looks far too sad. 2 is ok, but I think 1 she looks more content? in the first? I agree, its horribly sad.. I'm sure you made a huge difference in their lives..

    1. Hi Kat,
      #1 seems to be the favorite so far. :)

  12. #3 is the most heartwarming picture for me, I don't notice any blur.
    I'm sorry :( it's always hard to let go. My baby is starting to have trouble walking, and can't get up by himself anymore.
    It hurts but it's a wonderful thing that they have had a great groomer and mommy too.

    1. Hi Zhitong,
      The blur does not show up as much when the picture is on the small side. I blow it up to work on it in Photoshop and can see the blur. :/ I am too picky too.
      Just tonight, I found that I had also taken pictures of her when she was in in September. She looks much happier and healthier in those pictures so I may end up using one of them. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  13. My doberman is dying of bone cancer. Just the other day he treed a 'possum in the persimmon in my yard, and spent the whole day laying in the sun under the tree, hoping the 'possum would make the wrong move. You learn to treasure those good days.

    I like pic #2. Spaniels always have eyes that seem to be looking at the depths of your soul.


    1. Hi StG,
      So sorry about your Doberman.
      Funny how some days they show us how nobody told them that they are sick. They show us how they can still be a happy dog, going about their business. :)
      I am sorry that it has taken me so long to respond.
      Lisa, MFF

  14. You have an incredibly beautiful and kind heart. I too am a groomer and feel all the compassion and love of animals. What a gift you give to the world!