Thursday, 8 September 2011

A Special Skill.

 Im sure that each and every one of us has a skill , some of us have more than one . Some little thing you are able to do that others may find difficult . Maybe you can touch your nose with your tongue , recite the alphabet backwards or know every joke from every episode of " Frasier ".  My special skill is being able to deal with my clients while keeping a straight face !  Anyone who comes into contact with members of the public on a regular basis will know that many of them have certain foibles and eccentricities that make them unique and many of the people I deal with in the  "Dog Grooming " business are no exception .

 We have a lovely lady with a Poodle , who has been coming to us for years and each time she says the same thing , " You  wont do him too short, will you ? I dont want him to be bald ". Every time we trim him exactly the same as the time before and she is always pleased . But on the next visit we get  , " You wont take too much off will you ?....................."   

 But at least she likes her Poodle to look like a  Poodle  !  It would seem that many people wish their dogs were another breed entirely . We have a lady who doesnt like her Poodle done too  " poodley " ! Now I can hear many of you saying   " Oh, I dont blame her , I hate all those bobbles and pom-poms and shaved bits and puffy bits on their bums !" ,  but NO , I am not talking about  " Show cuts " and anyway show people trim their own dogs . No , she just doesnt want it to look like a  Poodle ! So , we do a poodle  " puppy trim "  and each time she is delighted . Although I do wonder why she didnt just get some other breed of dog in  the first place !!

 One chap likes his West Highland White Terrier to be done like a Jack Russell !  Apparently he wanted a JR but his wife and daughter wanted a Westie , so they compromise . I have no idea what he imagined I could do to make the Westie look more like a PJR but he is always happy with my interpretation ..........I just clipper it rather than hand-strip it and make the hair on the head shorter .  It is a rather uneasy compromise though , as when either the wife or daughter bring the dog in , they ask for a Westie cut !!

Some requests border on the  " very weird " as one gentleman brings us his un-docked Yorkie and asks for it to be shaved  short everywhere except for its tail . The hair there has to be left long and silky as he likes to cuddle the dog in the evening and stroke its tail  !  Hmmmm , maybe we should move swiftly on .....................

 I  find that some dogs can change their persona to suit their owners . One particular Yorkie is a bundle of nerves and insecurities and clings to its owner whenever its brought into the shop . This chap is convinced that his dog depends entirely on him and hates to be parted from him  for a second . He places the dog in my arms and after much petting and kissing ..........of the dog , readers , of THE DOG !!!......   he says , " Now dont worry Joey , Daddy wont be long "  Then he goes to the door , turns , gives a wistful sigh and comes back to Joey and says , " Really, its OK , I wont leave you for long . I know how much you miss me !" . This performance usually lasts about 10mins , with Joey milking it for all hes worth . Then, when the owner leaves little Joey gives a sigh as though to say  , " Thank goodness that idiot has gone " and he becomes a happy , confident little dog , racing round the shop and enjoying a  " rough and tumble ". When Daddy returns , Joey immediately becomes a shy , dependant little dog again  and the owner is convinced that  " darling doggy " has hated every minute they have been apart !

 You must be getting the idea that all my clients and their dogs are nutcases , but really  , I love them all and they never cease to brighten what is often a very long day . Sometimes they brighten the day in more ways than one . Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know about our wonderful , Pomeranian owning " fashion icon ".  This chap is such fun but his dress sense does leave a lot to be desired . He is a fan of tight T shirts and lycra cycling shorts..... but I doubt he ever cycles ! He wears XS on a clearly XXXL figure......bless him ! And I wouldnt be surprised if his colour combinations can be seen from space . He particularly favours magenta and fucshia..............sometimes together , and his footwear of choice is usually lime green socks and bright orange Crocs . But a nicer bloke I have yet to meet .

 These stories could go on endlessly  but I will just tell you one more for the time being . A while ago I had a new client who I only knew from her initial phone call to book the appointment . Well , I always groom the dogs of new clients so there I was waiting  for someone to arrive with a Jack Russell   . Well , arrive she did  and it was , indeed, a lovely friendly JR called Pete ............... and the owner was a lovely , friendly lady who I can only describe as ......... a  " hooker " ! Not even faintly disguised or trying to hide the fact .  With a straight face I listened as she explained that Pete needed  to be tidied up as her  " clients " were getting dog hairs on their suits . I said he probably needed stripping and that I would do it by hand  and she nodded in agreement . Strangely it all sounded like something she would do in her  " job " and I hoped she didnt think I was trying to be funny ! She chatted to me like we were old  pals , all cosy and friendly . She really was very nice even though  her boobs were almost falling out of her blouse and I was trying to avert my gaze . Well Pete was a delight and very well behaved and when she picked him up she gave me a very generous tip and booked lots of future visits . She tottered to the doorway in her tight leather skirt and gravity defying heels and then turned , winked and said ,
" Ya know , sweets, we're both providing a good , useful service for the community ! "

And I still managed to keep a straight face !      



  1. Right you, all joking aside, a book - you must write a book about your shop. I know you have written in your blog about other times of your life and there are obviously lots of stories there too, but I can so see a book like this blog, witty and charming and funny, pretty please......... Grooming book, cooking for aristocracy book, adventures up North book, adventures on the dog show circuit book........

  2. Ohh yes i'd love a book as well!! I could read your blog forever, absolutely fantastic reading, specially love the dog ones of course ;) Paula xx

  3. Totally agree with feline9 and Paulagriff, Rosalie. You must write books, books and more books! Seriously. Remember my offer of copyediting/proofreading.

    Incidentally, dogs are a totally different world to me, and not being all that familiar with the various breeds, I had to search Google Images to get the full hilarity of your West Highland White Terrier vs Jack Russell mash-up. Might you fancy learning how to insert images into your article? I'll teach.

  4. Yes a book of your experiences would be wonderful. In fact just writing a BOOK would be good, you have such a fantastic way with words. I know I would love to read a book on your "adventures in dog grooming"!!!!

    yet another fantastic post!