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, March 9, 2015

It Feels So Good.....

....when a customer listens to you and takes your advice.

Six weeks ago I groomed one of my favorite dogs. (I have a lot of favorites lol)
This dog is a little Wesite.
She has got the sweetest personality.
She also has a really nice coat.

This little Westie comes in regularly for a bath and Westie style clip.
She is always very quiet and laid back when she comes in.
She settles right down in the kennel and goes to sleep, or lays down and watches everything that is going on in the groom room.
She never barks.

Six weeks ago when she came in for her grooming, I took her from her owner in the lobby.
She was shaking a little.
Now, of course it is not unusual for some dogs to come in shaking.
So many dogs seem to suffer from some degree of separation anxiety these days.
But, this little Westie does not, and has never shook before at drop off.
Her owner commented that she was shaking but tossed it off as her being cold, because it was so cold outside.

I thought it was strange too.

Her owner left and I took her back in the grooming room to put her in a kennel for a few minutes to wait her turn in the tub.
As I went to put her in the kennel, she instantly turned in my hands and clung to me.
This was not at all like her.
She was so used to the grooming routine that all I had to do was open the kennel door and she would jump in.
I held her asking her what was wrong because she was still shaking.
I held on to her and petted her a while then put her in the kennel.
Instead of settling like she normally did, she turned in the kennel and immediately tried to jump back in my arms.
"What's wrong girl? What is upsetting you so? Don't you feel well?" I asked her while I stood in front of the kennel petting her. 

She finally settled and stopped shaking so much. 
I decided that I was going to watch her for a little while to see if I should call her owner to pick her back up and take to the Vet.
By the time we had finished checking in all the 8am appointments, and I was ready to get her in the tub, she seemed more herself.
I put her in the tub and  started to bathe her.
I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was off.

As I started to soap up her face, she jerked it violently away from me and would not turn her face back to me.
'Somethings bothering her on her face;' I thought.
Then it crossed my mind that that she may have Lyme Disease.
We had gotten a lot of ticks off of her during the summer groomings.
Part of her owners property has woods, and being the terrier she is, she loves to roam in those woods everyday.
Even though her owners use a tick preventative it had not worked very well.

I started to gently wash her face, and even though she did not pull her face away again, I felt her flinch a little when I rubbed her muzzle.
Teeth!! (light bulb moment)
I gently lifted her lip to check her teeth.


They were bad.
Tons of tartar pushing her gums back away from the roots.
Red inflamed gums.
I felt so bad for her.
I was sure that this was what was bothering her.
Her teeth had more than likely been bothering her for awhile, but she most likely had an abscess that was really hurting her now.

I used to check dogs teeth all the time when I groomed and would tell the owners if I thought that they needed to get them cleaned.
But, over the years I have had so many owner tell me that they know their dogs teeth need cleaning but that they can not afford it.
I will admit the prices that Vets are charging for teeth cleaning have tripled or quadrupled over the last 15 years.
Sadly I have kind of gotten away from checking dogs teeth while grooming.

When the owner came to pick up her sweet little Westie I asked her if her dog had not been eating right lately.
She told me that she didn't think so but that she had been snappy with their other dog lately and that was unlike her.
I told her how her dog had been acting after she dropped her off that morning and then I told her about the teeth.
Then I showed her her dogs teeth.
I told her that I felt she should try to get her into the Vet right away, and that I thought she was in a lot of pain with a possible abscessed tooth or two.

I also made it very clear that it was just my guess and that only the Vet could really tell her what was going on with her dogs teeth.
I learned a long time ago not to step on a Vets toes by telling an owner that I knew exactly what was wrong even when I did.
It seems like most Vets don't like to hear "the groomer said....." :(

Fast forward to three weeks later and we get a phone call from the Westie owner.
"Thank you so much for telling us about "Missy's" teeth! We had them cleaned. They had to take a couple out but she is playing like a new puppy now;" she told us happily.

I like the Westies owners, but I have to admit that I was actually surprised that they listened to me and got the dogs teeth cleaned.
I have told so many pet owners over the years about things that I have found on their dogs, and told them to have it checked out by their Vet, only to have the dog come in for its next grooming with the same problem going on, and they never bothered to get their dog checked.

It felt so good to know that I had help that sweet little Westie. :-)


To top that off I had the owner of another dog that I groom every 4 weeks walk in the shop a few days ago.
She stopped by to cancel her dogs appointment for a week and a half from now.
She had taken her dog the Vet after I found a strange lump on his leg at his last grooming.
The dog had had surgery to remove the lump that I found and another one, and could not be groomed for six weeks while he healed.
She came with a check to pay for the appointment she was canceling.

MFF: "Oh, you don't have to pay for that appointment Ms. Considerate Customer;" we told her. "You are canceling well ahead of time and we will have no problem filling the appointment."
Ms. Considerate Customer: "Oh no, no, I want to pay." she said trying to hand over the check.
MFF: "No really it is okay. We have a waiting list and can fill the appointment. So it wouldn't hurt if "Wiggles" misses her next appointment. We just hope she gets better soon." We tried to tell her.
Ms. Considerate Customer: "No, I want to pay. Please take the check. You all have been so good to us and 'Wiggles' over the years." she said very firmly.

My husband thanked her and reluctantly took the check wishing her and 'Wiggles' well.

Such a thoughtful customer.

Again, another customer who listened to me when I suggested going to the Vet.
 A happy ending for each dog.
And, a very nice gesture from a very nice customer.

I have not deposited her check yet.
I still feel funny taking it.
At the same time I don't want her to get upset that I didn't deposit it.

The best thing to do is to pay it forward. :)
I will find a way to pay it forward.

Oh, and I am back to checking teeth again.

Even if only one owner listens to my advice it is worth it!!


  1. I have worked as a vet assistant for 23 years (one vet for 21 years and 2 for a young vet). I learned to groom at the first clinic and decided to make my life long dream come true. I opened my own grooming business 1 and 1/2 years ago at my home. I want to thank you for all your great advice. I am very glad you have recently started blogging again. No one realizes how competitive this business is and I think it is awesome you are willing to share your knowledge. I know first hand that veterinarians do NOT like to hear the words, "my groomer said". They don't realize the groomer spends a lot of time touching, feeling, brushing the pet. we look in the ears, mouth and eyes. we know what is normal behavior for that dog. All the doctors I have known bristled at these words. I see nothing wrong with advising the owners when we see a problem. I wish there was more respect for this profession.

  2. Being able to have a groomer tell you that your dog needs its teeth to be cleaned isn't a bad thing in my eyes. A friendly reminder definitely never hurt anyone. I think that it is incredible that you love your job so much to be able to know when a dog isn't as happy as it usually is. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. http://www.poshpetgrooming.net/Cat-Grooming-Millville-NJ.html