It is not often anymore that I am made to feel like a 'newbie' groomer.
Well, today was one of those days.
One of my first dogs of the day was a new customer with a medium size mix.
The dog was 14 years old, and had been being groomed by the same Mobile Groomer since she was a puppy.
The Mobile Groomer had retired, and the dogs owners had been looking for another groomer.
They had already been to two other groomers, but had issues with them both.
Now it was my turn.
I feel bad when I have an elderly dog come in as a new customer.
Especially one that has only known one groomer.
The dog was used to the way the Mobile Groomer groomed.
Now she had to get used to me and the way that I groom.
On top of all of that, her owner was so used to just handing her to the Mobile Groomer and saying "do the usual" that he had a horrible time trying to describe how he wanted her groomed.
I had just as horrible of a time understanding what he was trying to describe.
I must say, that I pride myself on being able to read between the lines when owners are trying to describe a cut for me.
I am usually able to understand what they are trying to say even when they are not totally sure what they want.
This owner knew what he wanted done, he just could not translate it to me in a way I was sure I understood.
The more questions that I asked, the more I was getting confused.
At one point, I was sure that the owner was wondering if I knew what I was doing.
Because of being unhappy with the two previous groomers they had tried, they had let their dog grow out longer than they ever had before.
Every time I asked a question, the owners answer would make me think of a different cut or blade length.
I would ask one question, and his answer would make me think, 'oh, okay, I'll do a #4f.'
Then I would ask another question, and his answer would make me rethink the #4f.
He kept telling me that; "we like her clipped to her coat."
I actually thought that I kind of understood what he meant by that description, then he would say short, but not too short, it's cold outside.
I just could not get him to tell me what 'he' thought short was.
Was 2 inches left short?
Was 1 inch short?
Was 1/2 an inch short?
Or, where they all too long?
The face was just as confusing.
They had been cutting on it a little.
The owners description was; "take it short and clean."
Again I asked questions to clarify and make sure that I understood what he wanted, only to be confused once again.
I ended up telling the owner that I would do what I thought that he wanted, and if it was too long, or too short we would fix it with the next groom.
So, I took her back and bathed and blow dried her.
The whole time I was driving myself crazy trying to decide how short to take her.
What was the owners idea of short?
A #7f blade?
A #4f blade?
A comb attachment?
A hand scissor?
While bathing and drying, I had been playing around with the idea of calling the wife to see if I could understand her directions better than her husbands.
I kept going back and forth with this idea, because I did not want the husband to be upset that I was going behind him to ask his wife the same questions that I had asked him.
While drying the dog, I realized that with all of my questions to the husband, I had forgotten to ask about the ears.
Goody... a legit reason to call the wife.
So, I asked my husband to call and ask about the ears and double check the clipping instructions.
Problem solved, right?
Wife did not answer her phone.
Husband was do back in half an hour.
I had to make a decision.
I decided to try the yellow Wahl metal comb attachment first.
I wanted to see how short it would take this thick, plushy coat.
I knew that it would clip the hair shorter than a dog with a thin, silky coat.
It is hard to tell in this picture, but the yellow comb took the hair down to about an inch left.
I liked it, but the voice in my head was telling me the owners want it shorter.
I almost picked up a shorter comb, but you can't put the hair back on, right?
I decided to stick with the yellow comb.
The wife called back....
...just as I was scissoring to finish.
I had this side left to finish and one side of the faces left.
The husband was do back any minute.
As per the wife, it sounded like they would have liked a #3f blade, or #4f blade length.
She wanted about half an inch left. :p
I offered to go over the dog again with a shorter blade if her husband could wait about 15 minutes.
She said to leave the cut the way that I had already clipped it and they would have me take it shorter the next time.
So, I finished the face.
I made sure to take the top of the head and over the eyes short.
I did understand that instruction from the husband.
I just was not a 100% sure about the rest of the face.
She was ready to be taken out to her owner.
Her owner seemed happy with the cut, but said that they usually go shorter, but this cut was okay for the winter.
Then something happened that broke my heart.
My little new furry friend started to dance around the lobby.
"She needs to go to the bathroom," her owner told me.
I looked at my furry friend with her fresh, clean, fluffy cut.
Then I looked out the door of my shop at the pouring down rain.
Her owner said thanks and good bye then headed for the door.
I stood there watching as he walked her out into the rain.
I watched as she squatted right outside my door, by the curb, in the parking lot.
It was not a quick pee.
It was a long, old girl pee.
I watched as the rain poured down on her back, that just seconds ago had been nice, dry, and fluffy.
I died a little inside as I watched the rain drops flatten the hair on her back.
All that work....gone....washed away..... just gone.
The wife hadn't even seen the dog yet.
Her husband was bring home a wet dog.
Only another groomer can understand how this drove me crazy.
Couldn't help but feel that I was not going to see the dog again.
How could someone judge your grooming when a wet dog was coming home?
We ended up staying 20 minutes after our closing time, because a customer had forgotten to pick up her dog.
It turned out to be good thing.
Just as the forgetful owner walked in the door, the phone rang.
It was the owner of my new furry friend from this morning.
They were calling to book grooming appointments for her for the rest of the year.
I guess she still looked good enough even when wet. :)
She was a very sweet dog.
I am glad she is coming back.