I am not the kind of person to create conflict. In fact, I tend to avoid it if at all possible. But today, I got angry. I actually felt a bit of rage inside me that came out in an I-don't-care-what-comes-of-it sort of way. Unfortunately, I do care.
Story is: there is a specific dog, whom I've groomed four times now, and every time I have groomed him, someone other than the owner has brought him in and paid for him to be clipped. Today was no exception. The only thing is that today the person who brought him in asked for his nails to be clipped because the dew claws had grown right into the pad by about a half inch.
So I did. There was blood because of it. Poor dog took it well. He hasn't been groomed in over a year. He was matted to the skin. The lady who came in with him said she might also make an appointment for him. I said it wasn't her responsibility to pay for the groom, but that I would do a quick shave down to get rid of the matts for free. It wouldn't be pretty, but the dog would be more comfortable. She was like, "Yeah okay."
So I did. He took it well, yet again. He's such a good dog and doesn't deserve to have to live in that state. Within half an hour I got an angry phone call from the owner.
"What the @;$( did you do to my :@(,ing dog!"
I said that it wasn't pretty, but that the dog was more comfortable this way. And he replied, "Say that to him when we're out in the bush! He's going to get sick because you took away all his hair!"
I explained that if it's that cold, he's better off shaved than matted. At least the short hair will dry out rather than cause skin problems such as frost bite.
Then he proceeds to tell me that if I'm going to do the job to do it right. Well, even if I had taken the time to make it look good, he would have been the same length because of the severity of the matts. And I said that to him.
"Don't ever touch my +}!~ing dog again!"
Okay I won't.
But that leaves the dog groomer-less (almost). So now this dog gets to live out the rest of its life matted and uncomfortable? I'm such a bad guy for trying to prevent further issues for the dog. (Oh, did I mention that on top of the two nails that I had to remove from the dog's pads, I also uncovered a cyst or something on the dog's foot that needs to be drained?) Yeah, I'm the one putting the dog at risk.
I wish I had taken more pictures. I usually do when I get severely matted dogs. But I was in a blind rage where I just wanted to help the dog and I didn't care what the owner thought. But it still hurts to be accused of putting the animal at risk.
What bothers me most is that the owner really does believe that he's acting in the dog'a best interest. It's really a matter of education. Of getting people to put themselves in the dogs' shoes. They cannot talk. They cannot tell us that they are uncomfortable or in pain.
And I get to see first hand how much they suffer when it does come time to remove the matts. They scream, wiggle, fight, bite, yelp and twist to get away from the pain. The pain that wouldn't exist if they came in more often and/or got to see a brush at home. There are fantastically well behaved dogs that end up biting because of the discomfort. But because they aren't sitting there screaming all day, it's the groomer's fault that they feel pain at the salon. *sigh*
The terrible things that are being said about me right now.... Well, I guess I'll have to live with the consequences of my actions. In that moment, I felt like I was doing the right thing. But I feel like I might have been doing the dog a better service by going about it differently. And maybe I would be in a better state of mind right now, too.