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 !