....why I enjoy grooming so much.
When you come to think about it, there are quite a few reasons not to like grooming.
❖Slobber: That loooong slimy string that hangs from some dogs mouths.
By the time you notice it, and reach for a towel to wipe it away, the dog either shakes his face, wrapping the string of slobber around his muzzle and into his clean hair, or they shake their head and send that long, slimy string sailing right onto you.
❖Drool: Drip, drip, drip. Another form of slobber. Only, the drool is a constant dripping slobber. It drips off the end of the dogs bottom lip. It drips all over your table, arms, hands, clippers, scissors, comb, brushes. It never stops no matter how many times you wipe the dogs mouth.
Then to top it all off, the drooling dog continues to drool even after you finish grooming. So when the owners shows up to pick up their dog, the dog has managed to soak its neck, chest, and front legs with slimy drool that refuses to dry when you quickly try to fluff the dog back up for their owner.
❖Cleaning Poop: They poop in your lobby. Their owners like to blame it on the fact that they are scared of coming to the groomer. It couldn't possibly be because the owner didn't let them out to the bathroom before they brought them.
They poop in the kennels. Less than two seconds after you closed the kennel door, because again, their owners did not bother to let them out to the bathroom before they brought them in to be groomed.
They poop in the tub. At least this is the most convenient place for them to poop.
They poop while being HV dried. The only problem is, you don't notice till you hit the poop with the HV air and send it in all directions around the drying room.
They poop in your apron pocket. They poop while you are carrying them. You smell the poop, but for the life of you you can not find it. There is no poop on the dog, not on the floor, not in the kennel, but you can still smell it.
Then 10, 20, 30 minutes...2 hours later you stick your hand in your smock pocket and wha la, the elusive piece of poop...stuck to your fingers!
❖Pee Feet: Yes, I said pee feet. You know what I am talking about.
Pee feet is what I call those dogs that pee in their kennels while they are waiting for their bath. Only you don't realize that they have peed in their kennel, because they have danced all through the pee until their feet have soaked it all up.
You pick the dog up out of the kennel and suddenly those pee feet are all over you.
Or, the dog jumps into your arms spraying pee all over you and into your face before you can do anything to stop it.
❖War Wounds: I can't complain. I have brought it upon myself when I agree to work with difficult dogs.
Bites, bruises, scratches and scars that I will have for the rest of my life.
You do get some strange looks from people when they see all of the red marks going up and down your arms.
❖The picky customer: That customer who drives you insane with knit picky things. You know...like how the ears just don't look right. They were perfect 3 grooms ago, but ever since then they just have not looked right. No, the owner is not sure why...they just don't look the same as they did 3 grooms ago. You figure it out.
❖The Boss: Not your real boss. The customer boss. They are sure that they know more about your job than you do. They tell you what blade to use. The only problem is there is no such blade. They describe the cut that they want in detail. Only their directions make no sense.
Oh, and they know exactly how long it should take you to groom their dog. They will be back then.
❖Bad Breath: I don't think that I have any words to properly describe the smell that emanates from some dogs mouths.
You have recommended to the owner to have the dogs teeth cleaned, but they haven't had it done for one reason or another. The little dog with the really bad, old teeth tends to pant as you are trying to scissor the face.
You try to hold your breath, but the smell is so bad that you can almost taste it.
You hold your breath, scissor, turn your head, take a breath, and then you hold your breath again and go in for more scissoring. You repeat this step for as long as it takes to scissor the face, which feels like forever.
Sadly, sometimes you forget to turn your head before you take a breath. That is when you get a nice big whiff of that bad breath... you struggle not to gag.
❖Stinky, Slimy, Infected Ears: They smell almost as bad as the bad breath.
Every time the dog shakes its head, which is often, the stinky ear smell fills the air around you.
You try to clean out the ears. They are so full with wet, slimy, sticky wax that you can't get a hold of the ear hair to clean it out.
So, you use ear power in hopes to soak up some of that wet mess so that you can clean the hair out, the only problem is, now you have a pasty, wet, slimy, sticky mess.
❖Eye Crust: Not the little eye boogies that are easily removed. I am talking about the gooey, crusty, scabby eye crust that practically seals a dogs eyes shut.
The eye crust that you spend 20 minutes in the tub just trying to soften up so that you can get it off of the dogs eye without hurting them.
❖Projectile Diarrhea: (Don't worry. I don't have a picture for this one ☺) an intestinal disorder characterized by abnormal frequency and fluidity of fecal evacuations.
There is no warning with this disorder. The dog is standing very nicely on your table. You are grooming away.
As a matter of fact, you are almost finished the groom. The owner is do to pick up the dog in about 10 minutes.
Then it happens...
You notice the dogs tail raise up.
He doesn't squat.
He does not whine.
He does not move...except for that tail.
At the same instant that your brain registered what is about to happen...it happens!
When I say 'squirt', I am telling you that that brown liquid shoots out at an unbelievable rate of speed, half way across the room. All over everything!
The dogs rear.
And everything in between.
❖Hair Storms: Undercoat. Undercoat. Undercoat.
Clouds and clumps of hair flying round and round the room. In your eyes, your mouth, and your own hair.
You are left with a heck of a mess to clean up.
❖Wet Clothes: There is nothing like having the first dog of the day soak you straight through to your underwear with just one single shake in the tub.
Or, to be reaching up to rinse off a large dogs face and head, only to have a stream of water run down your hand, down your arm, into the sleeve of your shirt to continue on, all of the way down your side to the top of your pants.
❖Hair Splinters: It is amazing how such a teeny, tiny sliver of hair can drive you mad.
It started as soon as I started clipping dogs in Grooming School. Those little cut hairs that would get into your skin.
The worst were the hairs that would work their way through your shirt, then through your bra into your skin. I have lost count, over the years, the number of times that I had to stop grooming to go into the bathroom to half undress just to find and remove that offensive sliver of hair before I went totally batty.
Last but not least.....
❖Expressing Anal Glands: The smell...need I say more?
Why, with all of the disgusting and uncomfortable parts of grooming, do I love it so much?
I love the dogs!
I love the wagging tails.
I love the happy dance of the dogs who truly like coming in to see us.
I love looking into their eyes!
I love the hugs!
I love the kisses!
But most of all.....
I love that I have the skill to take this dog from a painful, matted mess.....
....to a clean, happy dog!