A Special Skill …………. Day 59 of 100

Some days I really miss going out to work.

I have been retired for a few years now and I know that I have plenty to do at home.  At least ….i’m always busy.

But the actual act of leaving the house and going to a place of employment.  The morning rush and the hurried cups of coffee.  The toast…eaten  ‘on the run’ ….often as you sit in the early-morning traffic. Then the deadlines, throughout the day …..the clients and customers …… the odd requests and strange orders…….. the telephone conversations and the whole panoply of tasks.

Yes, I do miss it.

But what did you DO ?” ….I hear you ask,  “ What was your job ?”

Well, some of you will already know the answer …..but, for all my new readers, I reblog the following………..


I’m sure that each and every one of us has a skill;  some of us have more than one.

Some little thing you are able to do that others may find difficult.  Maybe you can touch your nose with your tongue;  recite the alphabet backwards or know every joke from every episode of  ” Frasier”

My special skill is being able to deal with my clients while keeping a straight face !

Anyone who comes into contact with members of the public on a regular basis will know that many of them have certain foibles and eccentricities that make them unique and many of the people I deal with in the  “Dog Grooming ”  business are no exception.

We have a lovely lady with a Poodle,  who has been coming to us for years and each time she says the same thing ,

” You won’t do him too short, will you ? I don’t want him to be bald.”

Every time we trim him exactly the same as the time before and she is always pleased.  But on the next visit we get,

” You wont take too much off will you ?…………………

But at least she likes her Poodle to look like a Poodle !  It would seem that many people wish their dogs were another breed entirely.

We have a lady who doesn’t like her Poodle done too  ” poodley ” !   Now I can hear many of you saying,

” Oh, I don’t blame her,  I hate all those bobbles and pom-poms and shaved bits and puffy bits on their bums !”

But NO,  I am not talking about  ” Show cuts ”  and anyway show people trim their own dogs.  No,  she just doesn’t want it to look like a  Poodle !  So,  we do a poodle ” puppy trim ”  and each time she is delighted.  Although I do wonder why she didn’t just get some other breed of dog in the first place !

One chap likes his West Highland White Terrier to be done like a Jack Russell !

Apparently he wanted a JR but his wife and daughter wanted a Westie, so they compromise.  I have no idea what he imagined I could do to make the Westie look more like a PJR but he is always happy with my interpretation ……….I just clipper it rather than hand-strip it and make the hair on the head shorter than normal.  It is a rather uneasy compromise though, as when either the wife or daughter bring the dog in,  they ask for a Westie cut !!

Some requests border on the  ” very weird ”  as one gentleman brings us his un-docked Yorkie and asks for it to be shaved  short everywhere except for its tail.  The hair there has to be left long and silky as he likes to cuddle the dog in the evening and stroke its tail !

Hmm, maybe we should move swiftly on …………………

I find that some dogs can change their persona to suit their owners.

One particular Yorkie is a bundle of nerves and insecurities and clings to its owner whenever its brought into the shop.  This chap is convinced that his dog depends entirely on him and hates to be parted from him for a second.  He places the dog in my arms and, after much petting and kissing ……….of the dog , readers , of THE DOG !!!…… he says,

” Now don’t worry Joey,  Daddy wont be long ”

Then he goes to the door,  turns,  gives a wistful sigh and comes back to Joey and says,

” Really, its OK,  I won’t leave you for long.  I know how much you miss me !”

This performance usually lasts about 10 minutes,   with Joey milking it for all he’s worth. Then,  when the owner leaves,  little Joey gives a sigh as though to say,

” Thank goodness that idiot has gone ”

And he becomes a happy, confident little dog,  racing round the shop and enjoying a  ” rough and tumble “.   When Daddy returns,  Joey immediately becomes a shy,  dependent little dog again and the owner is convinced that  ” darling doggy ”  has hated every minute they have been apart !

You must be getting the idea that all my clients and their dogs are nutcases,  but really,  I love them all and they never cease to brighten what is often a very long day.

Sometimes they brighten the day in more ways than one.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know about our  wonderful, Pomeranian owning ” fashion icon “.

This chap is such fun but his dress sense does leave a lot to be desired.  He is a fan of tight T shirts and lycra cycling shorts….. but I doubt he ever cycles !  He wears XS on a clearly XXXL figure……bless him !  And I wouldn’t be surprised if his colour combinations can be seen from space.  He particularly favours magenta and fuchsia…………..sometimes together and his footwear of choice is usually lime green socks and bright orange Crocs.  But a nicer bloke I have yet to meet.

These stories could go on endlessly  but I will just tell you one more for the time being.

A while ago I had a new client who I only knew from her initial phone call to book the appointment.

I always groom the dogs of new clients;  so there I was, waiting for someone to arrive with a Jack Russell.

Well,  arrive she did and it was, indeed, a lovely friendly JR called Pete …………… and the owner was a lovely,  friendly lady who I can only describe as ……… a   ” hooker ” !  Not even faintly disguised or trying to hide the fact.

With a straight face I listened as she explained that Pete needed to be tidied up as her  ” clients ”  were getting dog hairs on their suits.  I said he probably needed stripping and that I would do it by hand and she nodded in agreement .

Strangely,  it all sounded like something she would do in her  ” job ”  and I hoped she didn’t think I was trying to be funny !

She chatted to me like we were old pals,  all cosy and friendly.  She really was very nice, even though her boobs were almost falling out of her blouse and I was trying to avert my gaze .

Well Pete was a delight and very well behaved.  When she picked him up she gave me a very generous tip and booked lots of future visits.  She tottered to the doorway in her tight leather skirt and gravity defying heels and then turned, winked and said,

“Ya know, sweets. We are both doing a good, useful service for the community !”

And I still managed to keep a straight face !


Yes, I was a dog-groomer and had a grooming Salon for many years.  Although it was very hard work, I enjoyed it more than I can say ….and do miss it dreadfully, sometimes.  I miss the clients ….weird and otherwise ….and I especially miss the lovely dogs.  I was extremely fortunate to be able to do a job I loved ……. each day was different and I never knew what would be asked of me. Of course, it was handy being the  ‘boss’ …..but I think I still would have loved it if I had just been  ‘one of the workers’.  And I have a whole  ‘novel’s-worth’  of memories. 

This was first published in http://tearosesmusings.blogspot.com on 8th September 2011 and also in http://rosiesarchives.wordpress.com


About rosiewrites2

Growing old, disgracefully and enjoying every minute.
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4 Responses to A Special Skill …………. Day 59 of 100

  1. msalliance says:

    What a brilliantly enjoyable post, Rosie. I bet you really do miss all the quirky dogs and owners.

    As you know, I have a flattie and a beagle. I’ve never taken either to a groomer though Oscar once had a big fur cut when he was on the Discover Dogs stand at Crufts. What sort of cut would you recommend?


    • rosiewrites2 says:

      Ah, well Gita…. I really prefer dogs to maintain their natural coat patterns if at all possible. My view is that, they have those coats for a reason.
      Of course, now that we have taken many breeds out of their natural habitat and keep them in centrally heated luxury, a Newfoundland…for instance…would no longer really need its thick, waterproof coat. but, nevertheless, I like them to look as natural as possible.
      For your Flatcoat, I would recommend little more than a ‘neatening up’ . Perhaps strip the coat on his back a little and thin and tidy his ‘skirts and trousers’.
      I have always found that, if a coat is not meant to be clippered or cut very short, the resulting regrowth is often either curly or becomes unmanageable and so has to be cut ‘forever after’.
      We often gravitate towards a particular breed because we like their characteristics AND their looks …it does seem a pity that some people try to make radical changes to that ‘look’.
      We used to groom many Flatcoats, Labradors, Newfoundlands, etc ….but, after giving them a good shampoo and blow-dry…. we left the coat pretty much as nature intended….just maybe did a little bit of judicious ‘thinning out’.
      I have always thought that both Oscar and Raffles look extremely handsome and smart ….they are a credit to you just as they are !


  2. rosiewrites2 says:

    Yes ….and his colour doesn’t help either.
    But some good. ‘ thinning out’ willl definitely help whilst still retaining his handsome good-looks.


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