In a dream world all the pets we groom stand perfectly on the table and we play with puppies for the remainder of the day. In the real world we have some who love to be groomed, that it becomes an everyday part of life. Then we have others we remember more. Those are the ones that are fearful, that will bite or snap, that are wild and will not stop thrashing around. Usually they’re the ones who are not a good fit for salons. But, where do those clients go next?
Life as a groomer can be unpredictable. How great would it be if we could chat with all our furry clients? Since that isn’t possible pets may cower in fear or attempt to protect themselves by becoming aggressive. When pets become too much for the groomer's skill comfort, it is time to decline services for safety and well being for all parties. Those clients are told to call their vet; many have no idea where to even start. Going from a big chain company then applying at the local veterinarian clinic for a position was a huge difference. I went from telling clients to call for that service to accepting those who I denied once upon a time. As a vet groomer we handle cases that other salons could not complete. We get the calls for aggressive pets who need sedation, severely matted pets or the elderly pet who can no longer stand for grooming. But being a vet groomer isn’t always focused on those types of clients.
Often, I wish I was told what to expect as a vet groomer that the schedule isn’t always the tougher grooms. It is rare that I will have more than one full sedation groom every other week. Most of my schedule consists of pets who are shave downs to breed standard. I have clients who are clipper work, hand stripping and/or hand scissoring. Oftentimes the pets are pulling their owners into the building ready to be inside the clinic. I get to help train that puppy to be the perfect grooming model on the table. Working with the veterinarian staff I have the understanding and ability to treat the coat and skin within my practice scope. Being a groomer, we all understand the physically taxing toll it takes to our bodies but what I didn’t understand the emotional toll too. If fortunate enough I got to groom the dog at a young age until their last, when they pass it hurts like one of my own. The emotional impact of constant shaving matted pets, having aggressive sedation or pets living their last few months affect the mind. I have shaved matted pets with maggots in their coat to matting that has cut off the blood flow to a leg. I have had the pet have a seizure while on my table, but I have medical staff on the other side of my door to perform medical services. I have groomed that elderly pet who was too frail to stand up until they passed away. As a vet groomer we get the worse of the worse with matting and aggression. Few times it’s just having the mental fortitude over the tough days turns into a “groomers rut”. To get over those hard times I have found it is best to revive that passion is by learning new techniques or a different style. Continuing education is a must when working with live animals, there are always new ways to enrich your skills.
Being a veterinarian groomer can be tough at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for any other career in the world!
Thank you for sharing, Taylor! Follow her on Instagram @taylorthevetgroomer