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Thread: Grooming Horror Story

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2000

    Grooming Horror Story

    I subscribe to a daily story from a site called Petwarmers. I was not prepared for what I read today (actually it was from another day but I am just getting around to catching up on e-mail).

    I know that this was a freak occurrence and probably would never occur again with any dog, but frankly it makes me glad that I do my own grooming.

    by Angela Walker

    On December 14, I took five of my Collies and an English Setter
    to my groomers.
    When I arrived at 6:30 to pick them up, one Collie was finished,
    one was on the table and the English Setter was finished. I loaded
    the one Collie in my car and sent my neighbor home with the one on
    the table and the Setter. That left three still drying and needing
    to be brushed and trimmed.
    The groomer put Peaches on the table to be groomed. She has
    never liked to be groomed and I take her to the vet to tranquilize
    her to clip her nails. In the past, I have never accompanied Peaches
    when she was being groomed.
    When the groomer started brushing her out, Peaches started
    really giving her a hard time, so I was trying to hold her as well.
    We finally ended up putting a muzzle on her because she had lightly
    bitten me and tried to bite the groomer. At this point, I should
    have taken her off the table!
    However, what happened next, I will live with for the rest of my life.
    I decided if I went outside she might calm down. I walked from
    the groomer's room and out the front door. I turned to look back
    through the window and thought I saw my dog do a flip on the table --
    ending up hanging herself.
    I ran back in and lifted her up while the groomer struggled to
    get the noose off her neck. Peaches tongue was hanging out and the
    look on her face was sheer terror. The groomer used a choker collar
    leash like you get at a shelter when retrieving a dog.
    When we finally got her back on the table, I noticed another
    choker collar leash around her belly, apparently to restrain her as
    well. When I took her to the car I noticed she was not walking
    The next morning, she was not any better so I called my vet. I
    took her in and she said her neck and back were swollen. She kept
    her overnight and called the next morning to tell me she was having
    problems with her kidneys and she was going to try and flush them
    out. Sunday morning she called and said her kidneys were failing.
    She called the emergency clinic in Beaumont and they had a surgeon
    waiting for me.
    My friend and I picked her up and rushed her to Beaumont, with
    her throwing up blood a couple of times on the way. Within 30
    minutes she was in surgery.
    It turned out that the leash around her waist caused her bladder
    to burst, causing a hole the size of a thumb. Urine was seeping
    into all her internal organs. Also, when it burst, it caused all of
    her organs to move up towards her head. The vet thinks her bladder
    was full when the leash tightened around her stomach. The emergency
    clinic jumped started her kidneys and released her back to my vet
    Monday morning.
    She came home Tuesday afternoon but will have to be kept quiet
    for a couple of weeks while she heals internally. She is still at a
    high risk for infection so I am watching her closely.
    This has cost almost $3,000. When my friend called the groomer
    to ask her to stop using the belly strap she got all defensive and
    said Peaches was fine when she left and she did not do anything
    wrong. It was my fault because I got Peaches all worked up and that
    I lied to her about Peaches only being 2 because she believes she is
    a senior dog. She told my friend to never call her again and do not
    step foot in her shop. As if I ever would.
    The warning: Make sure your groomer uses the correct grooming
    straps, not choker collars. I don't know if the belly strap is
    common practice but I would think they would use a grooming loop and
    not a choker.

    -- Angela Walker <karasaunt @>

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North East Ohio
    Thank goD Peaches is okay!
    I hope she goes after the groomer for the vet bills!
    ~Angie, Sierra & Buddy
    **Don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die!**

    I suffer from multiple Shepherd syndrome

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Binghamton, New York
    OMG!! Poor dog!!

    I didn't slap you, I just high fived your Face!
    I've Been Boo'd!!

  4. #4
    If the groomer had the proper equipment and know-how...well, it shouldn't have been a problem. A belly strap is sometimes used for excessively difficult dogs, but I've seen them used mostly for dogs that want to continuously sit when the groomer needs them standing.

    The groomer should ALWAYS be directly next to the grooming table while the dog is on it. If she has to move away from the table, an assistant should stand next to the dog.Generally the grooming loop would have a "quick release" buckle thing. There is a piece of metal that slides upwards and makes the loop bigger.

    I feel sorry for the dog and the owner...I believe it was poor practice that caused the damage.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Pensacola Beach,FL
    OMG! Poor Peaches! I hear so many bad groomer stories it makes me happy I don't have to take any of my dogs to the groomers!(no offense to any groomers here)
    Owned by two little pastries!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Kelowna, BC
    Just earlier this week a groomer in Vancouver was sued because the dog jumped off the table and the noose damaged it's trachea -- the trachea swelled up and suffocated it in the night.
    Doesn't make me happy as a groomer -- I've seen how many dogs jump off tables when you are standing there trying to hold them. It's happened to me several times, and it's always unpredicatable. If we think a large dog is going to fall or jump off the table, we get someone to hold it or we groom it on the bench. But I've groomed dogs that suddenly leap off the table with the noose attached and hang themselves until we can get them back on the table. I had a border collie do it once, and none of us could even get near him to put him back on, he was trying to attack us. The noose eventually broke. It was very sudden, and certainly not predicatable. We were trying out a new noose and it did not release the dog like it should have.

    Using a choke chain as a noose is just irresponsible, in my opinion, as things like this happen all the time. The noose should atleast have a CHANCE of coming off if the dog jumps or falls. We use choke chains as nooses in the tub, but the dog is not able to get over the tub edge. We will definatly use a leash around the belly to keep a dog standing. We would never do it for an older dog who can't help but sit -- for that we will get extra help. But for a dog that is just being a pain, not standing and moving it's feet off the table, a leash around the belly is definatly encouragement -- it isn't going to put all of it's weight on the leash unless it has to, and a young dog shouldn't. We wouldn't use a choke chain though -- I wouldn't even think of it, it's just such a strange thing to do. We use regular nylon-type leashes.

    I feel that the groomer just didn't use the proper equipment. It never said she stepped away from the table, and she certainly didn't have to. Every single time I've had a dog jump or fall off my table, it's been while I've been grooming it.
    I've been BOO'd!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Tennessee, USA
    That is horrific!!!! Thank God I have a new groomer now who was highly recommended by my vet. She has been in the business for many years and is wonderful working with AnnaBelle and her special needs! In fact, Miss AnnaBelle has a beauty parlor appointment tomorrow!!! So stay tuned for her picture thread tomorrow afternoon!
    Kim Loves Cats and Doggies Too!

  8. #8
    Poor Peaches. I hope she fully recovers.
    ~Kimmy, Chipper, Zam, Logan, Raptor, Nimrod, June, Mei, Jasper, Esme, Lucy Inara, & Morla
    RIP my sweet Kia

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Aquidneck Island
    What a nightmare! I'm glad that Peaches is recovering, as I read this I thought maybe she wouldn't make it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    New Hampshire
    I've heard of stories happening like this.

    Now I'm going to be scared to bring Fenway to the groomers.
    I love Fenway, JoJo, Olivia and Nonnie!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Wyoming, USA
    I agree with wolfsoul.

    Even if you are standing right by the dog, even if you are holding the dog ... if it decides to jump, it's going to jump. This isn't much of a problem with a small dog. Ten or twenty pounds of dog is easy to stop. However, with a large dog, take the weight of the dog ... which is sometimes more than half a person's weight ... and add the velocity and force the dog is using to propel itself, and you have a 150 pound groomer trying to stop 75 pounds of solid dog, plus at least that many additional pounds of velocity/force. Sometimes it is NOT physically possible. Of course, you do all you can and others immediately help, but ANY groomer is flat out lying to you if they say this never happens. It happens with the normally calmest dog, and the best, most experienced groomers in the business. Animals are unpredictable, at best. They can't speak and tell you, "Hey, I really have to pee. I'm going to try to jump off the table and try to run to the door." or "Hey, I really like to snap at flies, and there's one over there!"

    Choke nooses are not a good idea, IMO. We don't use them. But, I know of a lot of groomers that do. They are not that uncommon.

    Belly straps are very common, and normally very safe. If you are trying to groom a dog that sits down constantly you have no other option. You can't use one hand to hold up the dog's rear end during the entire groom ... you can't groom a dog with only one hand free! I've personally never heard of or seen any damage ever come to a dog from a belly strap, and I've been doing this a long, long time.

    Personally, I think some irresponsibility lies with both the groomer and the owner here. Obviously the owner knew before this groom that the dog was difficult to groom. She said, "She has never liked to be groomed and I take her to the vet to tranquilize her to clip her nails." IMO, if you have a dog that has to be tranquilized for something as simple as nail clipping, and it is a large, strong dog like a collie, you ought to assume that there are going to be problems with an entire groom. If that were my dog, I would have had it groomed at the vet's when it is already tranquilzed for nail trimming. She knew it was such a problem that it had to be tranquilized, she saw the groomer having problems to the extent that she had to help hold the dog. The dog had to be muzzled after biting both it's own owner and attempting to bite the groomer. And yet the owner wants to not only continue the groom, but goes outside for a while. I understand her reasoning to some degree - sometimes dogs DO calm down when their owners are gone - but it sounds like it should have been obvious by this point that the dog was very stressed and should have just been taken home.

    And, likewise, the groomer should have, "I'm sorry, but this dog is too stressed, too strong, and too aggresive. You and I together can't control her, and she is biting us both. You need to speak to your vet about sedating your dog to be groomed." Then she should have sent the dog home. There are dogs that simply are NOT groomable. Many groomers try to groom them anyway because they don't want the owner to be angry with them for not grooming their dog, or to speak poorly of their grooming shop. I've had people call me and say, "I took my dog to ABC grooming shop and they said they couldn't groom him. Can you imagine? They are dog groomers - and they can't groom a dog! I'm so angry with them. I want to make an appointment with you instead." Some groomers try to avoid unpleasant situations by attempting to groom dog they should just send home. It frankly takes some years of experience in dealing with both dogs and customers to learn to be assertive enough to say no. Sometimes, the customer is NOT always right.

    The groomer could have certainly been more gracious and understanding with the owners. That is not good customer service, to say the least. Of course, we are hearing one side of the story. Perhaps it absolutely accurate, but perhaps, the groomer would have a different take on the conversation entirely. We'll never know.

    There are, sadly, horrible groomers in the business. And there are, sadly, owners who aren't aware of or don't want to admit that their dog is not a little angel by any means. And of course, there are wonderful, kind, caring groomers and onwers as well. We hear about the 1% of dogs that have a bad time at the groomers, and we hear from the 1% of groomers who had to groom Cujo. The other 99% of the time, the skilled, careful groomers grooming basically well-behaved dogs, no one hears about. Grooming is a TOUGH job. If it were simple, easy and fun ... everyone would do it at home in their bathroom in an hour.
    "We give dogs the time we can spare, the space we can spare and the love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made" - M. Facklam

    "We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams."- P.S. Beagle

    "All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king." - J.R.R. Tolkien

  12. #12
    Poor, poor Peaches and parent. I hear many grooming horror stories as well.

    There is only one groomer, locally, that I would take my dog or cat to. Annie is very sweet and has taken excellent care of my cat before!

    I would, however, trust the groomers from PT. You all know what you're doing!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Pensacola Beach,FL
    I hate seeing dogs get hurt because of someone "improvising" or being careless.

    One thing that urks me big time is at dog shows a lot of people just leave their dog on the grooming table and walk away. I'm always so scared that the dogs are going to hang themselves. It only takes a slip of the paw.
    Owned by two little pastries!


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    When Bella was still a pretty young dog I took her to a groomer several times. This particular groomer did mention to me that she had to use a belly-type band, that she had bought while at a trade show, on Bella. She used it on dogs with bad hips who can't stand for long periods of time and also on dogs who would like to sit down frequently during a groom (that would be Bella ). That does not sound like what was mentioned here though. They mentioned a choker collar leash around the belly.

    My reason for not continuing with the groomer was that Bella was getting lots of water in her ears which was turning into a breeding ground for yeast infections. This all began after her very first visit to the professional groomer. She had never had a problem the entire time I was grooming her myself. Coincidence? I think not, but that is another whole subject.

    I know the groomers on this board are probably the best around and I appreciate your honesty. This article I think was a tragedy and that is it, pure and simple. I guess the lesson to be learned is to research your groomer well or use a groomer that comes well recommended.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Midwest USA
    While I realize this thread is primarily about dog grooming and nooses, I do however have a couple cat grooming horror stories myself, both concerning the same cat, Jack.

    Jack is a slightly difficult cat to groom (by grooming I mean bathing, blow drying, brush out). He isn't hard to actually bathe, but bites, hisses and swats at a blowdryer. So basically he has to be cage dried somewhat then air dried for the rest.

    When I first took him in from outside he was a horrible mess; fleas, grease, oil, mattes, earmites, and stunk like crazy. So we scheduled an appt with groomer several hours before the vet appt. (we wanted him to be clean for the vet so they could actualy look his body over, not the filth, although I got a reaming out from the groomer who thought I was a horrible cat owner for his condition. lol) Things went well with this groomer, their prices were terrific and Jack always looked nice and seemed calm when I picked him up. They did good with Dusty also (that's all the cats I had then)

    Then place changed to all new groomers. That's when the problems started. First time I went back after the canges, they call me about 1 hr before I was supposed to pick him up, and said he kept peeing when they'd try to blow dry him. So they kept on giving him another bath, at this point he'd had 4!!!! I had warned them ahead of time to cage dry or air dry him, and NOT to use the regular dryer!! Grrrrr That was the LAST time I used that groomer, although shortly after that I was told they stopped doing cats at all because of not having a supervisor on shift or some such nonsense.

    Next bad experience was with a more local groomer (with 4 cats). I warned them about Jack also. At least they did listen and used the cage dryer, however.... When I picked him up (right before close, he'd been there almost 7 hours!) Jack was still WET underneath, and very damp on the rest of him, they hadn't even brushed him out yet, and he wasn't WHITE like he should have been, still had faded yellowing in his fur. All the cats were damp and not brushed out, they had cage dried ALL of them (which I told them was unecessary) And they charged me TWICE the $$ of the other place.

    After that experience I bought my own mini pet dryer (The dog house shaped one that doesn't get hot enough to hurt), a suction cup leash thing for the tub, a big bottle of whitening shampoo, a sprayer thing for my tub, and a bathmat. I groom all my own cats, and when it was said and done, based on the prices most places charged, the equipment paid for itself after bathing 4 1/2 cats lol My mom's cat is the most challenging, but I still manage. I don't have to worry if they get any of my cats 'white enough', or if they dry Jack properly anymore. I found out the best way to do Jack is to bathe him, let him sit on a towel and bathe Pooky, then when I'm drying Pooky, I half aim the dryer at Jack and I can dry two at once (although Jack takes alot longer from that distance) but I dont' get hissed at anymore for it. lol

    RIP Dusty July 2007 RIP Sabrina June 2011 RIP Jack 2013

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