I took this photo in Germany, but thought it would illustrate the point of the following story to some degree.
Lacy is a Shih Tzu that is normally groomed with an O comb all over, her head and face shaped with blenders into a cute "teddy bear" style. Her owner takes great pride in the way her dog looks, and has her groomed often. This has been the pattern for the last 6 years.
Today Lacy's owner brought her in and I couldn't quite believe my eyes. "I trimmed her up some myself," she said. "To save some money. Just even her up, and make her look like you usually do, ok?" Sadly, "evening her up" was not really going to be possible. Her coat was trimmed in some places right to the skin. Her little face, normally full and round, was chopped so that she was barely recognizable. A sort of sad, crooked little donut mustache perched at the end of her nose. One ear was a good two inches shorter than the other. And the hair over her brows? Scissored flat so the poor dog had a very credible receding hairline, half way back her skull. It wasn't a good look for her. I smiled, took the pathetic thing into my arms and said, "I'll do what I can."
I had to use a #4 blade to even begin to even out the mess her owner had made. And her face ended up looking nothing like what I "usually do."
What is a groomer to do? When her owner picked up she said, "She wasn't too bad, was she?" My answer options where:
- "Oh no. You did a fine job."
- "I was able to even her up, but she is shorter than you are used to."
- "Yes, it was bad. She was very uneven. I fixed her up a bit but she'll have to grow back to look like herself."
- "PUT THE SCISSORS DOWN! What were you THINKING?"
In the past, (when I was younger and more diplomatic) I would have gone with option 1 or 2. I really WANTED to go with option 4. I settled for #3. In my experience the greatest percentage of home grooms are just awful, and I refuse to pretend they are not just to humor the owners. Of course they have the right to trim their pets all they want, but I have the right to tell them the truth, it looks yuck! (Disclaimer: I have known one or two pet owners that did a darn good job grooming their pets at home, and I give them full credit for a job well done. It is the folks that go after Fluffy with a pair of nail scissors that make me nuttier than I already am!)
There really isn't a point to this post. I share just because I bet most of you who read it have experienced similar situations. And one nice thing about telling a story like this to other groomers is that you understand. Sometimes being understood is enough to help me move past the rotten way poor little Lacy looked today.
P.S. I put HUGE red and green bows on her, a jaunty Christmas bandanna, and a good spritz of glitter. Her owner thought she looked "FABULOUS!"