Traumatic Dog Grooming

I could hear his calls for help from the front of the store.
As soon as I walked into the pet food store to pick up a bag of cat food, I could hear him yelling “Help Me! Help Me!”
He was calling from the grooming salon area at the back.
I headed to the rear of the store to investigate who was making the sad, desperate, barking yelps.
It came from a newly clipped, freshly bathed cocker spaniel type dog, who was locked in a large cage.
His curly locks had just been shorn, and lay swept into a corner on the floor.
He appeared to be shivering in the cage.
Not helping his newly bare body was the fact that a large tube was affixed to the cage, spewing air onto him to help dry his fur.
His plaintive eyes pleaded with me to let him out.
He stopped barking for awhile as we looked at each other.
Was I going to help him? he was asking.
I was unable to help him, as he wasn’t my dog.
I tried to reassure him telepathically, sending out good reiki vibes.
I asked the groomer, who had left him alone and was elsewhere in the store, if he was being subjected to cold air.
She assured me it was room temperature.
And that he hated the blow dryer even more.
And he was just barking because he hated to be alone.
That was it.
More like hated being left alone in a strange cage, in a strange room, wet, shorn, with a vent spewing air at him, room temperature or not.
The poor dog was clearly undergoing severe stress.
And yet taking our dogs to the groomers is something we do everyday.
We take it for granted that the dog will have a good time being bathed, clipped, blow dried, pedicured and manicured, and a bow or bandana installed to top it all off.
That may be alright for us humans.
But imagine it from a dog’s point of view.
(Fido: Our owners abandon us at a strange place, to be strung up by the collar so we stay put.  Then we are brushed by a stranger, combed, clipped, wet down, soaped up, blown dry, have toenails clipped, and then the added humiliation of a cute bandana or bow.
And the strangers don’t even say so much as a “Hello” or “Good Doggy!”  Or give us a pat or a stroke!)
New video has recently surfaced showing a dog groomer striking a dog while grooming it, allegedly to get the dog to stay still.
Not to mention all the times I have watched the grooming salons that have a large glass wall so people can see in, and I have never, ever, seen a groomer TALK TO THE DOG!
Perhaps that’s all a dog needs – that reassuring tone and soothing, cajoling words that everything is going to be alright.
I am sure it wouldn’t hurt – and I am damn sure that it would certainly help!
I have seen our pets better handled at the veterinarians, where much more invasive and traumatic things may happen.
And so I say to all the dog groomers out there – please TALK TO THE DOGS!
And imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes.
As groomers, you are not their boss.
Their owners are their boss.
And yes, I am sure there is some degree of assertiveness that groomers must exercise in order to not be bitten or hurt.
But, these dogs are PETS.  They are used to being spoken to, petted, rubbed, loved.
I am sure they would respond much more favorably to those types of incentives, rather than the negative kind.
As would any animal.  Or human, for that matter.
So, the next time Fido goes to the groomer, perhaps screen the groomer first to make sure the experience is a postive one.
I am sure Fido would appreciate it.

Separator image .