I Would Rather Lose You As A Client Than Hurt Your Dog
I Would Rather Lose You As A Client Than Hurt Your Dog Today I lost a client that I had been serving semi-regularly for years. Since they posted an online comment, I want to tell everyone I know that might be a client of Love Fur Dogs why I lost this client, and what that says about me as a business owner. This client came to me […] The post I Would Rather Lose You As A Client Than Hurt Your Dog appeared first on Love Fur Dogs - Chicago and North Shore's Finest Dog, Cat, and Pet Groomers.
Today I lost a client that I had been serving semi-regularly for years. Since they posted an online comment, I want to tell everyone I know that might be a client of Love Fur Dogs why I lost this client, and what that says about me as a business owner.
This client came to me years ago with a small older dog that she had been grooming elsewhere for years with a very, very short shaved haircut – so short the skin showed. The little old sweetie had several issues, but her skin was extremely dry, distressed, scabby, and riddled in dandruff. We conditioned her as best we could but mom would never let me do the two things we needed to do to help improve the situation: apply regular spa-level therapeutic products for intensive conditioning (yes, for a small extra charge) and let her hair grow a little longer to protect her thin skin better from the sun and other environmental elements. By the time I became her groomer she had more bare spaces on her skin showing than hair follicles. I felt I was looking at an old human – balding with very thin dry dandruffy hair.
I would gently ask to leave her longer and explain how dogs have such thin skin, but much thicker hair – we humans are the opposite. We have very thick skin and very thin hair. Our skin is very protective for us. But for dogs it is the coat, the hair, that largely protects the dog. She would not listen and continued to insist on the very short shaved hair cuts.
You may read elsewhere on this blog about why short cuts are generally not good for dogs and the whole science about this.
And because the dog had already been done that way for years , the dog was older, the skin was awful and the damage done, I continued the very short shaves as the owner requested, despite the little dog’s screaming distressed skin.
I was wrong to do so.
Today she brought me their new puppy for a second visit. She is a Yorkie mix – cute as a button. Still with very scruffy minimal puppy hair still in formation. The first visit a few weeks ago had been just a puppy socializing training groom- short and minimal as she was barely over two months old. The family had bought her to replace the old sweetheart with distressed skin who passed away recently of an organ disorder and old age.
But today Mom asked me to cut the new little angel equally short. At 14 weeks of age.
I said no, and explained that the hair follicles were still in formation and that, while I could do a “bath and tidy” to trim face, feet, tail, and sanitary areas – pads, genital, rectal – it is not recommended to begin cutting the hair on the torso until after 5 months of age when puberty begins and adult hair follicles begin to fully form.
I reminded her of the damage done to her previous dog by frequent short cuts. I referenced veterinary dermatological source material which I later sent to her as support, about the hair follicle forming until 28 weeks of age, and how prior to that puppies don’t even produce primary hairs, only secondary hairs.
When she continued to insist that I give this youngster a full short cut, I even asked why she just didn’t get a smooth-coated Chihuahua if she wanted all her toy sized dogs to be short haired. No answer. I stood my ground in refusing to do the short cut all over.
She called me at the end of the day and yelled at me on the phone for not doing what she wanted. She was going elsewhere where they would cut her dog the way she wanted. I repeated my reasons and then said I was sorry to see her go. I stated that while she would surely be able to find a groomer that would do the harmful cut to the dog, that was not good for the puppy. I would never agree to hurt the dog just to keep her as a client. The name of my business is its mission – LOVE for dogs.
Because I would never hurt a dog to keep a client.
That is just who I choose to be – Love for the dogs. And I feel blessed that I have this last-of-my-working-life job/retirement business that has put me in a position to be of real service to dogs who I love so much.
Over the years I have lost a few clients because – “me and my big mouth” – I will speak out, sometimes boldly, on what is best for the dogs. I can be opinionated and preachy, I guess. Passionate for sure. I never stopped being a teacher even when I retired from my years in history classrooms. The ancient Greeks have a great teaching: Know Thyself. I do know that this is who I am.
But I really do try to GIVE generously of my internationally respected expertise in dog grooming to my clients in free consulting and advice – I give more of my time without charge – because I care.
I will never hesitate to speak out – gently, diplomatically, and respectfully – if I know of something the owners should be doing to better care for their dogs. Most clients appreciate the advice and information. They often thank me for it and write great reviews online about how knowledgeable I am and how much it has benefitted their dogs. I also love learning and seek it regularly and often! I am still learning from others who know more than I do, and am grateful for it.
I am sorry that this client did not want to hear that what she wants to do to her new cute little puppy is not the best grooming choice for her pup. But I am more sorry for the puppy who gets no choice in this matter.