In the twenty five years that Ive been grooming, training and handling dogs on a daily basis for my living, I can count the number of bad bites Ive been on the receiving end of on one hand and still have a couple of fingers left over.
Well, I almost lost those fingers (along with the rest of the hand) yesterday, courtesy of an Old English Sheep dog mix.
Years ago, many years ago, an old friend that use to groom with me for many years, dubbed me Darci Dundee, for my penchant for happily handling the wildest and meanest dogs. The ones no other groomer would touch. Some body had to groom them didn't they??
This dog was a matted pelt. It hadn't been groomed for over a year, and I had already gotten the coat shaved off, and everything else done, save for the nails. The dog had been extremely well behaved throughout the entire groom. Until I clipped that first toe nail.
Now I can read dogs better than most, but this dog didn't twitch. Didn't give any warning. Just nailed me fast and hard. He really meant it.
The most damage was done by the back molars if that gives you any indication of how far in his mouth he had my hand.
He didn't want to let go of my hand either! I had to thump him on the head to get my hand back, and when he let go of my hand, he immediately snapped at my face. The fight was on. Thank God for fast reactions on my part, or I'm sure Id be looking a little less attractive without a nose and lips on my face today. When I jumped back away from the Alpo breath, saving my face, and started to examine my hand, he promptly sat back down on the grooming table and proceeded to sit there starting at me, growling and showing me his pearly whites. And I don't think he was smiling. Though....maybe?
Damn, that hurt. Had me shaking for a few minuets. Hell of an adrenaline rush!
Funny thing about a dog. You show them their collar and leash and ask them if they want to go and wham! Instant good doggie.
I put his collar and leash back on him and took him off my grooming table and promptly put a muzzle on him and finished him straight through. I didn't want to have to put him back in the crate, cause I knew I may not get him back out. Not so sure however whether it would have been my idea or his, and wasn't willing to test any theories.
Ive fallen off this horse before, and climbed back on. But I'm starting to think that Dundee is done.
Not grooming, just being a lot more selective about the clientele I take on. After all, I'm not getting any younger. (or faster, and that was a close one)
Today, it was a cat that tried to get the best of me. I don't do many cats, as I am allergic to their saliva and have really bad reactions to cat bites. Puts me out of work for weeks and the physical therapy sucks! But I had acquiesced to doing this cat for this sweet little old lady, because she said it was a finished champion show Hymie and that it loved being groomed, but that she had tried to cut a mat out of it several weeks ago and ended up at the vets having stitches put in the cat, and was afraid to try to get any more mats out and would I please shave them out for her.
It had to have been one of the nastiest little fluff balls Ive ever met!
Needless to say, Dundee got the job done, complete with a bath and blow dry, but again, I really need to re-think things. By the time I was finished with the cat, my nerves were pretty raw. Not a good frame of mind to be in when you have 5 more little fur babies waiting their turn.
Everyone went home later than planned today, as I just had to slow down, take my time and remember to enjoy my job. Its no fun for a dog to have to deal with a grumpy groomer, (especially when its not their fault) and they will pick up on your vibes and become little turds to handle too, if ya go at them in a bad mood, and God forbid you act or feel the least bit intimidated by them, they'll pick up on that too, and become difficult. So I took a deep breath, sucked it up and went outside and had not one, but two cigarette's and a coke. When I came back in, I was very happy to see my tail wagging buddies eagerly awaiting my return, and we all had a good day.
One however, I was glad of when it was over. Groomer burn out is a big thing in the grooming world. It has claimed a many a friend and talented groomers.
So I have wiped my books clean for tomorrow, and am taking the day off. Going to do a bit of soul searching and see where I end up.
I wish folks would just be honest about their dogs, and tell me if there is going to be a problem. Id still have groomed the dog had the owner told me it was vicious about having its nails done, Id have just muzzled it to start with.
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