I had a customer come in today that, quite honestly, I thought the dog may have passed away.
The owner used to have two Bichons, but one passed away late last year and the other was having some health issues.
I have not groomed this Bichon since before Christmas.
It is very unusual for this customer to go so long between appointments.
Especially because she likes a full hand scissored Bichon cut on her dog, with a very large head and neck.
Her Bichons were almost always a little matted, especially the head and neck, when she came in fairly regularly.
This is what he looked like today.
This is him after the bath.
I always forget to take a picture before I put them in the tub. :(
Yes, he was matted ...very matted.
Now, I am sure that your thinking; 'just tell the owner that it has been too long between groomings and he is very matted and needs to be clipped very short.'
That is a lot easier said than done with this customer.
First of all, she is a nice elderly lady.
She likes playing that elderly card.
I have a lot of elderly customers that like to play that elderly card to get what they want. :/
She is also Japanese with a heavy accent, but we are pretty good at understanding each other, until...
...I try to tell her that her dog is matted.
Then she struggles to understand me, and just repeats that she likes him long and full.
I am really not trying to speak against her, really I am not.
She is a nice lady, but it is amazing how she uses that accent to suddenly have a hard time understanding me when she doesn't want to hear what I am telling her.
She will smile and pat my arm, and tell me that she trusts me and knows that I will do what she wants.
"You always do a good job," she says with a big smile on her face.
I got lucky today.
Her son was with her, and he speaks excellent English, and he said that the dog was matted, right in front of his Mom.
Now, I didn't take this to mean that I could just take a #7F blade to this dog and be done with it, but he was going to be shorter than she liked.
His head and neck were matted worse than the rest of him.
I bathed him in Best Shot and Blue shampoo.
I also really worked the Best Shot creme rinse into entire body and face.
I had HVed the mats as far away from his skin as possible.
I was able to get a #5/8HT blade through his body and legs.
The big neck had to go.
Now what to do with the head and face.
It might look nice and fluffy in this photo, but under all of that fluffy hair, are some really big, large, tight mats.
Most of the time this dogs hair is fairly forgiving with the mats, but when they are this tight, it is too painful to demat.
His muzzle and cheeks were packed with mats.
So, what did I do?
I used an old trick that I taught myself back when I was a newbie.
I can't tell you what made me start doing this.
It may have been out of desperation at the time.
I didn't know how to say 'no' when I was new at grooming, and found myself dematting a lot of dogs that should have been clipped short.
I took that matted face and scissored it up just like I was scissoring it to finish it...mats and all.
This is the side of the face after I scissored it with the mats still in it.
**Warning: Be very careful when scissoring matted hair. Make sure where and what you are scissoring at all times. Make sure that the mat does not pull the skin up into the scissors.
After I scissored the face, I was able to brush the smaller mats out in less than 5 minutes, without hurting the dog.
I have found that this trick works on most matting but not all.
It helps if the hair is the forgiving kind.
I have saved many a face, tail, and ears with this trick.
This is the finished, mat free face and head.
It is not as full and large as she likes it, but it will do.
It is not the groom that the owner is used to, but hopefully she will get back on schedule.
I'd say that he didn't care how he looked.
He just felt a lot better.
Side note: I have a lot of comments waiting for me to post them.
I will try to get to some of them tonight.
If you asked me a question...I am getting to them. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF