Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Maxie's 1st Visit To A Dog Groomer

For our upcoming Christmas visit to Mom and Dad's (in Florida), and anticipating frequent pet therapy visits to Dad's rehab, I decided after 4.5 years of "doing it myself" to take the plunge and have Maxie professionally groomed.  A papillon friend highly recommended her groomer in Watson. I made the appointment over the phone for 10 a.m. yesterday, and was looking forward to it. It was NOT a good experience!

First off, I think a groomer should put you at ease, and having run a day care for nearly 30 years with hundreds of parents leaving their babies and preschoolers off with me, I know what that takes. Groomers should also have some showmanship, some pinache! I was so ill at ease leaving Maxie off with these particular strangers for 3 hours, I nearly threw up.
I've never left Maxie in a strange place with anyone -- ever.  Second, it was way down at the end of a lonely road in Watson, in a ramshackle house with a front yard/porch that reminded me of Sanford & Son.  Inside was old but clean.  The owner wasn't mean but just busy thus perfunctory, her hair was died purple, her daughter's hair was red and fluorescent pink. Next, they never checked the shot records they had asked me to bring, until I offered them the paperwork.  Next, they made no suggestions, just asked me to explain what I wanted, and especially what I didn't want (no shaved anus, bobbed tail, or trimmed ear feathers).  I, being a novice who doesn't know how papillons are supposed to look, was hoping they would examine Maxie and offer suggestions. NOT.  At one point the electricity went out.  Not a good omen.  Then, they said "We'll call you when we're done, maybe around 3.  OH NO, I REPLIED.  YOU TOLD ME AROUND 3 HOURS, AND I'VE ALREADY MADE AN APPOINTMENT TO TAKE MY CAR IN WHEN  I'M DONE HERE.  So the owner offered to "push my dog ahead of 12 others" -- an almost sure way to get a rush job!  I didn't like that.  After I snapped a few "before" photos, they grabbed Maxie out of my arms and disappeared into a back room, and just like that he was gone.  And their last words to me were "the more often you call, the longer it will take us to finish."  In other words, go away and don't bother us.

I drove off heavyhearted and trepidacious, worried about the power, the back room, etc. I called within minutes to check on the power.  Yes, it was on.  I called 10 minutes later because I forgot to mention how I wanted his belly shaved.  Okay, will do.  I argued with myself that I should trust my friend who brought her Papillon there regularly and recommended these people as "excellent".  I decided to call her for assurances, saying to myself that if she answered that would be an omen to leave him there.  (In all the time I've known her she has never once answered her phone.)  She answered.  I tried to talk but words barely came out, then I began to cry.  She talked me through a bawling jag with just enough assurances that I went ahead and left him there.

Nowhere near home, my plan was to go to Wal-Mart in Denham and finish my Christmas shopping.  I walked the aisles for 2.5 hours, with puffy eyes, an upset stomach, and dazed.  When they called I checked out immediately and rushed back.  Maxie leaped into my arms and curled up so close under my chin, when they asked "Do you like it?", I couldn't see his cut at all.  Paid my $40 and left.  Didn't care if he was bald or butchered so long as he was alive and well and back in my possession.  He was still damp, and very nervous.  But he smelled good.  They hadn't pottied him so I took him outside where he peed on his freshly washed paw.  He wasn't himself.

Once home I dared take a look and took some After pictures.  He looked freshly washed.  Yes they trimmed his nails a bit, bathed, conditioned and blow dried him mostly dry.  They trimmed his feet, but not in the rabbit foot cut Papillons are supposed to have, just a round cut.  They shaved his belly but didn't taper the chest hair like I do, so he still can pee on it.  They bobbed his arm feathers in a "straight cut", didn't bother feathering the bob so it looks chopped off, unnatural, and it's still so long he can pee on the bottom hairs.  I have to reshape and feather these.  They did not trim his tail or culottes, which still needed shaping.  They did nothing to solve the whispy hair problem on his back and chest which makes him look frumpy these days.  The anus trim is fine.  The runny eye stain I sent him in with was still there, telling me they didn't bother to wash his face.  In short, he looks about the same as after I wash and fluff him.

Very disappointing, not what I'd call a professional job, not what I was looking for.  I do as good or a better job at home.  It's about the same way I feel when I get my own hair styled.  I ask for a shape and trim and get a whack job I hate.  I ask for a "body wave" and get a pile of frizz that has to grow out for a year.  That's why I just wear my hair straight and cut it myself.  I guess it will be the same for my dogs -- no more groomers for us. Certainly not these ones.  Dog groomers should consider the trauma parents feel leaving their dogs with strangers, and work harder to gain their confidence.

L to R: Laura, John, Nathan, Portia,
Allison, Alex, Audrey. I, of course,
am taking the picture.

5 hours later, my heart still palpitating, face still puffy, I had to prepare for our family Christmas Dinner at Red Lobster, (my treat in lieu of my usual Christmas and New Years parties as I'll be out of town).  I was dragging, feeling stressed.  Once there, we feasted, enjoyed ourselves, swapped gifts, etc.  My son gave John and me a Kindle, there were gift cards, LSU gear, and tasty treats.
Shark Pet Vac
I handed out books, outdoor thermometers, and Shark Pet Vacs (in preparation for the new baby coming to our family), which are awesome for cleaning pet hair off of upholstery (far superior to the Dirt Devil which in my opinion is worthless).  I told my dog groomer story, which got some laughs, and others shared similar experiences about the emotional trauma of boarding their pets.  It makes me ponder . . . . . if I could set so many children's parents at ease leaving them with me 5 days a week, surely I could do as well with dog owners.  What are the ramifications of running a boarding house/school for dogs? I haven't the slightest idea, though I have boarded a few friend's pets and I enjoy the spare cash plus giving them the royal treatment.  John enjoys it too. 

Humm . . . . . my latest fortune cookie says "a new business venture is coming your way" . . . . . and this is an intriguing idea.  We have the room.  Yet the very thought of going into a full scale business again, managing staff, licensing, zoning, inspections, filing quarterly taxes, etc., makes me tired.  I ain't as ambitious as I used to be, nor as young, nor as hungry.

Upwards and onward!

1 comment:

tracey said...

Instead of a full scale business you could board dogs for club members in need. Kay does some such thing out in the Cental area.