Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Grooming Success

Check out the before picture (left) and the After picture (below). Doesn't she look great?!

After several bad experiences with grooming, we finally found the perfect groomer who was sympathetic, gentle and professional! We're so happy with the results.
In earlier posts, I wrote about grooming experiences at big-name pet store that resulted in my dog so stressed she needed emergency veterinary care. One of the reasons for Kelly's anxiety was being separated from me and left in unfamiliar surroundings. I called several groomers, none were willing to let me remain while they were grooming. I finally hit upon the idea of mobile groomers, who come to your house and groom the dog in their van...but none of them allowed the owner in the van, either. That is, until I found Melissa of TransFURmations. She was concerned and experienced about handling stressful pets, and had no problem at all with me staying in the van while she groomed.
She arrived last night, took the time to get to know Kelly, and we proceeded into her grooming mobile. Kelly did NOT even want to get in, but when I got in first, she jumped up. She then jumped back out again and I had to carry her back in, but I can only imagine how upset she would have been if I'd not been allowed to stay. Kelly did not like the bath at all. Melissa has a very calm and friendly demeanor and did not get flustered at Kelly's barking and repeated attempts to escape. She didn't even flinch as Kelly nipped at the water coming out of the hose.
Next, she lifted the sopping Kelly to the grooming table and turned on the blow dryer. Of course, Kelly liked this even less. Melissa kept the dryer at the lowest setting, which took a lot longer to dry but I"m sure was a help to Kelly's nerves. Kelly nipped at the air coming out of the hose and Melissa explained that was a common reaction. She put the grooming leash (I hate the term noose!) under one of Kelly's legs so that it wouldn't be so tight around Kelly's neck as she pulled and tried to jump off the table. I must say Kelly didn't stop tugging and trying to escape for at least an hour, even with me there. But she wasn't stressed to the point of bursting her blood vessels again either. She just didn't want to be there.
After the drying, Kelly calmed down a lot. Melissa was very quick with the clippers, and was careful to give me exactly the type of cut I wanted. I wanted to retain Kelly's longer coat on top, because it is so soft and never matted. Melissa snipped toenails like a pro, something that usually takes my husband an hour of struggling with a wiggly, whiny dog took her only seconds...snip snip snip!
She did an incredible job on Kelly's legs, which were four thick, hairy, curly messes. I could tell by the way she worked the scissors she was a real pro.
She ended with a bandana (or bows if you prefer), a squirt of doggy perfume, and Kelly got to select a toy from the toy basket! In the end, Kelly bounded out of the van happy to be free, but not stressed out in the least.
The entire job took about 2 hours and 20 minutes. I felt her fee for a full groom for a dog Kelly's size, was extremely reasonable considering how much of her time it took, and that she traveled about 40 minutes to get to my house.
Thank you Melissa so much for a wonderful job, Kelly looks awesome. I want to recommend Melissa to everyone reading this.
As the sign on her grooming mobile says..."TransFURmations...it's better than a belly rub."


  1. I'm glad it worked out. The interesting part will be how she reacts next time. I've had good success with various grooming strategies once or twice, then Lilly gets wise and they no longer work.

  2. Kelly looks great! What a wonderful transformation. I'm so glad this worked out; and I'm sure Kelly is relieved as well!

  3. Marley's momJuly 16, 2008 at 2:26 PM

    I will miss Kelly's "mustache", but she looks wonderful.

  4. I am a groomer as well. I am not surprised that your dog had a bad experience at a big box grooming salon. However as a groomer myself, I don't allow customers to stay with their dogs as they are being groomed. Dogs are better behaved and more relaxed when the owner is not their breathing over the groomer and their k9 friends neck. Just like kids they may make a stink being left somewhere, but once they realize it is not such a bad place to be without mom or dad, the relax. Don't assume all groomers that don't allow the owners to stay are going to beat your dog when you are not around. I myself have an open concept salon and groom in front of massive windows to put my customers at ease. You have to remember that the grooming industry is unregulated. Anyone can pick up a pair of clippers and call them selves a pro groomer. It is your job as the owner to really research who you take your dog to and ask to see the facilities. A good groomer will allow that. You are lucky you found a wonderful groomer that is compassionate and allowed you to stay. I hope you tipped her very well because that was a very cheap haircut for mobile grooming and for the work she did. I charge that amount for a haircut at my salon and I make the customers came to me.
    Just my 2 cents.

  5. Hi Stephen,
    Thank you for sharing your valid views. I can certainly understand how many owners make their dogs more upset in that situation and make the groomer's job more difficult. Melissa and I even talked about that very issue, especially how some owners will return early and the moment the dog sees them, forget about it. Every dog and owner relationship is different, and in Kelly's case her separation anxiety made it too stressful for her to be left in a strange place without me present. Yes indeed, I was lucky to find a groomer willing to work with Kelly and I and you can bet I tipped her well. I'm sure you are a very compassionate groomer and I wish you the best also.

  6. Guess what Ellen, Kelly still has her "mustache" it just doesn't show in the picture! The groomer said she was full of funny cowlicks!

  7. It's Kelly's groomer chiming in here! I'm so glad to know that both you and Kelly had a positive experience. It wouldn't have taken me quite so long to get to you had I not gotten so lost! :) I enjoy the company in my van and have always been one to allow owners to stay, but I completely understand there are MANY wonderful groomers who aren't comfortable with it. I am glad I was able to help the both of you and look forward to seeing you in the future!

  8. Thank you Melissa, You are right, there are many wonderful groomers out there and people just need to find the right one for them. I'm so glad I found the right one for Kelly!


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!