Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Juggling Dogs

It was that time again that the Chihuahua mixes were due to have their toenails clipped, and just thinking about it stressed me out.  My choices were to attempt to clip them myself and work through all the squirming, squealing and biting, or take them to the rude dog groomer in town who criticizes me for not trimming their nails often enough and not having their teeth professionally cleaned despite Scrappy's heart problem and the risk of being put under anesthesia in his condition.  I get criticized so often by strangers that all I can figure out is that most people have perfect little lives, unlike me, who always must be choosing between the lesser of two evils.

I was having a high pain day, but knew that if I put off trimming their nails any longer, the criticisms would just get even harsher.  Also, some thunderheads were moving in and I knew it wasn't a good idea to leave Midge at home alone with her storm anxiety.  But I couldn't juggle three dogs on leashes at the pet salon.  The employees there are completely thoughtless and won't help me get the dogs in and out the door.  So, I locked Midge in her cage with the TV volume turned up high while I drove the boys to the salon.

Scrappy was trying to jump out of the truck, a four-foot drop onto asphalt, and I was trying to stop him.  I didn't want to set him down on the hot asphalt while I got Stewie out of his kennel, because his paws would burn.  So, I struggled to keep both dogs in my arms for as long as I could carry them.  When I set them down and opened the door to the salon, my dogs resisted going in, and of course, some man was standing at the counter paying for his services and letting his dog run around off leash.  It started to run out the door and I had to stop it while trying to keep Scrappy from pulling out of his collar.

The man turned around and saw what was going on, but didn't even bother to call to his dog.  He just turned back to the lady behind the counter and kept chatting with her.  In my pain, I had to crouch down and pick up both my dogs to get them through the door while repeatedly kicking out with my foot to try to block the man's dog from running out into the parking lot.  You know if the dog got hit by a car, he'd sue me in an instant.  People are not really good about taking responsibility for their own actions nowadays.

Once inside, the man's dog charged my dogs and started sniffing their butts.  Scrappy hates other dogs and I expected him to bite, but he just wagged his tail really fast, which is what he does right before he attacks.  The strange dog knew enough to leave him alone, but then cornered Stewie with its snout stuck up his butt.  Stewie was quivering in fear and looking at me with pleading eyes.

The man finally picked up his dog and walked out.  I knew that the woman behind the counter was the same woman who insulted me last time, because she didn't greet me or ask what services I needed.  She just sat there for several minutes staring at her computer screen.  How hard is it to just acknowledge the customer and say, "Just a minute, please"?

When I got tired of waiting for signs of life from her, I started paying attention to the wall hangings, and I glanced back to see her looking at me with a puzzled expression on her face, as if she were thinking, "When did this lady show up?"

Since for once her eyes were on me, I told her what I needed, she said okay, and then went back to staring at her computer screen.  Ummmmm?  Could I have a time estimate?  Could I be told what I am waiting for?  I was about to walk out when she got up and said, "Two nail trims, huh?"

Oh great, she was going to do them herself.  Yay.

She had both dogs trimmed in less than five minutes -- about two minutes per dog, and she charged me $24.  Last time they charged me $18 for two trims.  I know my dogs haven't grown any bigger, and they charge by size, so I figured she was punishing me for letting their nails grow out too long.  They don't have a price list anywhere, so sometimes I think they just charge what they are in the mood to charge.  I asked for change, and she gave me mostly big bills.  It's customary to leave a tip, but between the extra charge and the fact that she only gave me one dollar bill, I decided to skip the tip this time around.  I left a generous tip last time, and the same lady didn't even say thank you, so why bother?

Imagine if they had people continually bringing dogs in to get their nails trimmed to the tune of $12 per dog and it took only two minutes to trim each dog.  Those dog groomers would be making $360 an hour.  But I know the reality is that they don't have continual business, and they have to pay for rent and utilities and insurance and supplies.

While she was finishing up with the last dog, this other customer came in and stood at the gate blocking the woman from being able to hand off my dog to me.  She opened the gate, and he wouldn't even step aside for her, so she tried to squeeze past him sideways and hold the leash out for me to grab.  There are just so many behaviors that are automatic for me, like getting out of someone's way, and when I don't see other people do that, I'm stunned.  I want to say, "What planet are you from?  And are you the King there?"

Then while I was paying, this man opened up the gate and let his dog come running out off leash.  The dog immediately charged my dogs and I had to scramble to prevent a dog fight.  The man then opened up the front door and let his dog just run out into the parking lot.  I know a lot people say, "It's okay.  He's friendly."

But they don't take into consideration that their dog is not the only dog in the picture.  They should be asking me, "Is it okay for my dog to greet your dogs?  Are they friendly?"

Then I'd have a chance to say, "Please don't let your dog approach my dogs, because I don't want anyone to get bit."

I honestly didn't know how my dogs would react to having a strange dog approach them, because that's never happened before.  My dogs are indoor dogs and the only places I ever take them are to the vet or the groomer.  There are too many stickers on the ground, too many coyotes and birds of prey and rattlesnakes around, and the ground is too hot in the summer months to take them for walks to get them socialized.  The only place they see other dogs is at the vet's and groomer's.  Fortunately, everything turned out okay and my dogs did get a little socialization out of the experience, but I was surprised that the groomers were letting dogs run around loose in their shop.  That sure seems like a liability.

I've noticed there appears to be this epidemic going on in my town that I'm calling the two-minute stop.  Normally, drivers are supposed to stop for two-seconds at a stop sign, but I keep running into these drivers who stay stopped at an intersection for several minutes.  This confuses the hell out of me.  I don't know if their car is stalled, if the driver had a heart attack and died, if they are lost and consulting a map or their GPS (which they should pull over and do at the curb), if they are texting (which is getting to be one of the biggest causes of car wrecks), or even if they are yielding to me, because most cars have tinted windows and I can't see behind them.

This leaves me in a quandary because if I'm behind them, they are blocking me.  I wonder if I should go around them or honk or what.  I've seen some really unpleasant road rage incidents triggered by flaring tempers in the heat, and honking can be as good as signing your own death certificate.  If they are at the intersection needing to cross in front of me, I don't want to just go and take their right-of-way because chances are that they will suddenly wake up and go right when I go and we will crash.  I especially don't want to get into a situation where I start to go and have to slam on my brakes with the dogs in the back seat.  Should I flash my lights to tell the other driver to go?  I have no idea, but I'm really tired of waiting for other drivers to take their right-of-way.  Is this something that is just particular to my area, or is it happening everywhere?

It's definitely better than having people running stop signs, but I've seen a lot of that too.   It just feels like the wild west around here -- no rules, everyone does what he pleases regardless of the consequences.


GunDiva said...

Society has lost its manners :(

And customer service has gone by the wayside, obviously. I'm astounded at how rude people are to the customers who keep them in business. As far as the stop sign thing, I usually just flash my lights at them. Most of the time they're looking at their phones and they catch the flash out of the corner of their eye (and don't even realize what it was), which brings them back to "life".

ellie k said...

My neighbor has a dog walking and setting business and does very well. a few weeks ago he was walking a dog and a man came up to him and he told the man to not pet the dog as it was not used to strangers, the man just put his hand right down and tried to pet it any was and the dog nipped him on the arm, did not break the skin or leave marks. my friend told him to go to the doctor anyway and he would pay for it, he wanted a doctors report that everything was ok. the man keep saying its fine see not even a mark. now weeks later the man is sueing my friend for one hundred thousand dollars for damages to his arm. My friend did not think to take a picture of the arm, he was too upset, now the dog will be labeled a biter.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

GunDiva - Yeah, I think flashing the lights is less offensive than honking.

Ellie - That's outrageous. It's almost as if the man picked up on your friend's concern about being sued and decided to just go with it. I was in a car accident once (as a passenger), and the two young men we hit claimed to be fine, and then sued my friend weeks later, claiming to have whiplash. My head actually went through the windshield and I survived without needing a ridiculous amount of money to appease me. It sounds like no judge is going to take your friend's case seriously. Most judges can see right through frivolous claims. How is your husband doing?

Mrs Shoes said...

When Manic came here to live, she had me buffaloed at first. When I went to trim her nails the first time, she went ballistic. Snapping, snarling, writhing, clawing, whining -- she trotted out all her tricks.
My solution was to trap her little body in between my leg & the arm of the couch - really tight in there, like hard for her to squirm tight. We clipped the nails; she acted like she was being murdered the entire time - there was a little blood even (but, as horsemen say, it was a long way from her heart).
After about the 3rd or 4th trim, Manic figured out that nail clipping was happening whether she liked it or not & she (thankfully) decided it was a battle that she cannot win. Since she stopped struggling & making such a big deal of it, there's no blood anymore.
Saint, our GSD, was horrible about the nails at first too - obviously I couldn't trap her in the couch. The first time I needed my husband to help hold her down. I stated taking one paw firmly in my grip & leaning on her as I did the job. I am pleased to say that both dogs now come when called and sit nicely on the front step to have their nails clipped - so much easier without the drama. I have found, with our dogs & kids both, that the bigger deal I make of something, the more attitude I have to deal with from them.
That said - not all dogs will give up I suppose (kids either).

I really find it offensive that the people you are handing $$ to do a task are so rude - polite service seems a thing of the past all to often. I would have told those people to please get control of their dogs! I find it offensive that the STAFF didn't do so!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Shoes - The key is having help... one person to hold the dog down and one to trim. I don't have that. Everyone else thinks I'm murdering the dog if I force it, so they won't participate. Too stressful. Something about the dogs being in strange location with a stranger helps them to be distracted enough that they don't put up a fight like they do with me.

ellie k said...

After the pet scan we found out he has cancer in the Omentun and maybe the pelvic bone. we will see a chemo dr and a radiation and then decide which route to take for the treatment. our dr was encouraging, we are praying and just have to wait until we see the spec. next week. he is in a lot of pain through his lower back. We thought he had cancer in his kidney so this really threw us for a loop. Thanks for asking, I appreciate it. Thank you for the note in your blog.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Hugs to Ellie.