One of the draw backs of grooming for 30 years is watching so many of your furry clients grow old and sadly, eventually pass.
Today I had one of my senior furry customers in for a groom.
Sadly, he is failing fast from several different health issues.
He did so good for his groom today.
I can no longer use the HV dryer on him, so he gets dried with the small hand dryer.
He can no longer see, so I scissor as best I can around his eyes.
He jerks his face a lot when he senses the scissors close to his eyes.
Thankfully he still stands still on the table.
So many of the blind dogs that I groom tend to have a habit of walking forward even though they can not see.
If you didn't stop them, they would just walk right off the end of the table.
It has always amazed me how a dog, that I have groomed all of its life, and has always stood very good and still on the table to be groomed, will suddenly become a 'walker' on the table when they become blind and can no longer see where they are going.
That can be a source of many heart attacks (for me) while grooming.
It is also hard to watch some of these senior fur babies become senile.
You may have been grooming them all of their lives, but they no longer remember you, or remember what you are doing.
You need to spend extra time grooming and reassuring them that all is well.
Sometimes it is like grooming them when they were a puppy and you have to show them that what you are doing is okay.
They do not remember you or what it was like to be groomed before.
Some can't see anymore.
Some can't hear anymore.
Some can't no longer stand up.
Some dribble pee constantly.
Some do all of the above!
The saddest thing for me is when a dog, that I have groomed since it was a puppy, becomes senile and aggressive.
I am talking about a dog that has always been very, very sweet and gentle.
They suddenly become very mean and very aggressive.
Biting for everything.
It is the saddest thing.
I have had this happen to at least a half dozen of my very favorite dogs.
I once read about a groomer that refused to groom any dog over 10 years old.
She would also stop grooming dogs that she had been grooming for years once they turned 10.
I can not imagine doing something like that.
How could anyone groom a dog for so long and then just say "no more".
No matter how hard a senior dog has become to groom, I have and always will try to continue to groom and make that dog feel good for as long as I can.
I do make sure that my senior dog owners understand that I will only do what the dog will allow and that the groom may not be the best that it used to be.
All of my senior customers have always understood and been grateful for any grooming I was able to do on their old pets.
I will say that I do tell all of my very senior, or sick pets (and I tell this to them right in front of their owners) that they are not allowed to pass on my time.
All senior pets owner must be available to pick up their dogs the second that I finish them.
The owners also understand that the grooming will come to an end if I feel the dog can't handle being groomed that day.
They are also booked as an in and right back out dog.
I have actually had customers tell me not to worry if their dog does pass away while I am grooming it.
That they will not blame me or be upset.
Well I will!!!
I always tell them to "bite your tongue!" or "don't wish that on me!"
I actually had one customer that was hoping that her dog would pass away while I was grooming her, because they did not want to make the ultimate decision that was coming.
For the last two years of that dogs life I thought, that every time I groomed this clients dog, it was going to be the last time, but that dog just kept on going like the energizer bunny.
Scared me to death to groom it sometimes.
A small Terrier....need I say more?
The hardest part of watching my furry customers become seniors is when the owners ask me to tell them when it is time to help their dog pass.
It is amazing how many times I have been asked when, or how they should decide...
Receiving that finial phone call from the owner of a long time fur customer is hard, but I am so very grateful to have been able to make that fur baby clean, happy and beautiful for so many years.
Even though it can be sad sometimes, I will always groom the fur seniors to make them feel good in their golden years. :)