A new potential customer called me today. She sounded like a lovely person, and was very anxious to tell me all about her 6 month old Cocker Spaniel puppy. She told me that she had raised Cocker's for many years, but had been without one for a while. And this new puppy... well, you could tell that she was totally and completely in love with him. She went on to describe him to me. "He looks like leopard. He looks like a zebra. I am sure you have had a lot of experience with the breed, but I know you have never seen a dog marked like this one." My curiosity was piqued. She went on to describe how beautiful her dog is, waxing poetic about his virtues. I smiled to myself because I know full well how it feels to love a dog like this woman clearly loved hers. Before she hung up she asked for my email so she could share a picture with me. All day, as I worked, I looked forward to having time to see what this fabulous puppy looked like. My mind fairly reeled. I was picturing something like this:
A very cute puppy, to be sure. But not quite what I anticipated based on her description.
And all of this made me think, people can be awfully touchy about their pets. I remembered back to when I first adopted our Pug, Smooch. He was an adorable puppy, and I was head over heels in love with him. I took him to my vet for a check up. "Isn't he CUTE?" I gushed. My vet is a really nice man, and an excellent doctor. I like him, a lot. But when he looked at me and said, "Yeah, if you like space aliens," I was crushed.
I had to have a firm talk with myself to prevent changing vets. It hurt my feelings, and my puppy certainly did not look like a space alien.
(Well... maybe a little.)
And on this same note, my sister made up a song about her daughter and son in law's dogs, in which she called one of the dogs a mean name. She taught the song to her toddler granddaughter, and was surprised when her son in law took great offense.
So what is the point? The point is that people are awfully sensitive about their pets. And that is why we, as groomers, need to be careful when we talk to people about their beloved dogs or cats. For instance, I know a groomer who told a customer, "Your dog is getting fat." The customer was so offended he found a new groomer. I had that thought in mind today when I told a customer that is Westie was getting a little pudgy. I chose my words carefully. "It seems like your girl has been eating well over the holidays." He laughed and said that she had, indeed, been given a lot of extra treats. "Well, just like people, we all need to cut back a little once the holidays are over. You don't want to put strain on her joints." He nodded in agreement, made another appointment and headed out the door, telling his dog they were going to do more walking and less snacking.
Keep this thought in mind, as you care for the animals entrusted to you. A misunderstanding or even a joking remark taken the wrong way can cause a customer to walk out and never come back. People love their pets, I sure love mine. I bet you love yours, too. Take it from a woman who gave her heart to a space alien and choose your words carefully when taking about the objects of big love.