After spending most of my life handling all of my dogs’ grooming needs, I discovered the joys of engaging the services of a professional groomer. It was sort of a happy accident. Otto had rolled in an extremely dead, long-dead, disgustingly dead salmon, and had rancid salmon oil all over his head, neck, and shoulders. Every time I got close to him I gagged. And it was early winter, so it was too cold to consider washing him with a hose. I called the owner of a grooming salon who donates her services to the worst cases at my local shelter and told her about my predicament. i didn’t pull my punches, I told her I seriously was going to vomit if I had to do it, and someone else might vomit also. I told her that I’d pay ANYTHING she asked. I was serious.
She said, cheerily, “Oh, it happens all the time. I might charge you an extra $20, but only because it takes two or three shampoos to get all the grease and smell out.” (We live in a town with a river that runs through it, and there is a large salmon run that ends at a hatchery in the center of town. Salmon die after they spawn, and for months in the fall, their carcases litter the riverbanks. This was Otto’s first time, and ever since this incident, I avoid walking by the river until at least February. It’s just too tempting for most dogs.)
I put Otto in the back of our truck — if we hadn’t had a truck, I would have walked him to the groomer, over a mile away. No way was he going in my car. I walked him into the shop, warned them about his fear of slippery floors, and left. Two hours later, the owner called me and said he was ready. I was dubious; I drove the truck to the shop. But he was fluffy and odor-free. It was miraculous, as far as I was concerned.
From then on, when it’s too cold for washing dogs on the lawn and I don’t want to have to clean my entire bathroom after dog-washing indoors, I take my dogs to this groomer. They are never reluctant to enter the shop, so I know they are getting treated very well, and the groomer and her staff do such an amazing job — including expressing the dog’s anal glands, trimming toenails, and cleaning inside the dogs’ ears — that it puts my efforts to shame.
Not long ago, I was entering the parking lot of the shop to pick up my dogs when a woman exited the parking lot at a crazy-fast rate of speed. Sheesh! I thought. What’s her problem? I went into the shop and all the employees were talking about the woman. Apparently, she was unhappy with the grooming job they had done on her dog, and she had accused them of mistreating the tiny dog. The thing was, according to the shop owner, she was present for all but five minutes of the dog’s shampoo, drying, and clipping. She had stepped out into the parking lot to take a phone call that last for no more than five minutes, and then re-entered the shop and waited for her dog. But when she picked the dog up, she suddenly pointed to some bruising on the dog’s tummy and accused the shop owner of mistreating the dog while she was outside. WHAT? She had insisted, getting louder and more upset, and the owner and her staff tried to explain that nothing at all out of the ordinary had happened in the few minutes the woman had stepped outside. The owner of the shop told the woman, “Please take the dog to your vet; I will pay for an exam. You will see that we could not have caused those bruises — but they should be investigated; bruising like could indicate a number of health problems.” The woman refused — and of course, refused to pay for the services.
It gets worse. THEN the woman went home and started posting terrible things about the grooming shop on the shop’s Facebook page. She claimed the owner or staff must have abused the dog while she was outside. She posted photos of the dog’s bruised belly, and said it was proof that the shop was abusive to dogs. The owner of the shop had to take down the woman’s posts, and then block her from being able to comment on anything (after the woman started posting inflammatory comments on other patron’s complimentary posts!). The owner also called the woman the next day and repeated her offer to pay for a veterinary exam, which the woman refused, saying inexplicably, “My husband won’t let me take the dog to the vet.”
Then she posted a nasty review on Yelp.com.
I learned about all this after-the-fact stuff yesterday, when I took Tito the Chihuahua in to the groomer. He has been scooting lately — a clear sign he needed his anal glands expressed — and his nails needed clipping. He’s so hysterical when I try to do it (alone), and he’s never given the groomers any trouble, so it’s worth it to me to bring him in. I asked the owner if she had ever been able to talk that woman into bringing the dog to the vet (the answer was no), and that’s when she told me about all the activity on Facebook and Yelp.
Well, I can’t do anything about that. But I *can* post my own reviews about my own glowing experiences with the groomer, and I should have already. It’s too bad that it takes years for someone to build a good reputation, and it’s so easy for someone with some sort of agenda or nutty take on reality to give that reputation a serious tarnish.
I obviously don’t know what happened with the case of that woman. All I know is that I’ve never seen anyone in the shop mistreat an animal; I would hardly bring my dogs there if I had. When I bring in a baggies of treats and ask them to feed them liberally to my dogs to help them enjoy the experience, they do. When I ask them to let Otto pick his way slowly across the slippery shop floor, they do — no pulling or dragging. And that’s why my dogs are so eager to enter the shop, I’m sure. And I should let as many other people as I can know that the groomer and her staff have always done a terrific job for me (and for the worst cases of matting we see at the shelter, for free).
Do you leave positive reviews online for your favorite groomer, veterinarian, trainer, dog walker, pet supply store, or other dog-related business? Have you ever left a bad review?