I’ve been stewing about this for about 10 days now…I’m just not sure how I’m going to handle the mistreatment of my little pupster.
Here’s the story. And let’s keep in mind that Australian Labradoodles are known for their sweet temperaments.
Last week I was planning to take Luke and Sam to the Southern California Doodle Romp. Before we went, I’d wanted to cut back Luke’s coat because he’s about half & half straight puppy coat and curly new doodle coat. He was starting to look a little weird. So I made an appointment with **** Grooming for the day before the Doodle Romp. I was going to be busy in the afternoon when he’d be finished, so I scheduled my fabulous errand-running, problem-solving-genius assistant Jenny go pick him up.
I got a freaked out phone call from Jenny—and folks, this is a woman who never EVER freaks out—telling me she’d just seen the groomer grab Luke’s face in anger and shake him and hiss angrily in his face to hold still, stop it, etc. Jenny was absolutely beside herself at the mistreatment of this very sweet (if completely uncooperative) puppy who was only four and a half months old! Clearly they were not done with him, but I told her to get him out of there and away from those people immediately. According to Jenny, a rather tense scene ensued where Jenny was quite verbal with them about her opinion of their treatment of Luke, pointedly removed him from the groomer and neither paid nor tipped them.
The next part is sort of so weird that’s almost worse than the mistreatment of Luke (I said almost). Since I dropped Luke off with them early in the morning, I’d set up with the manager (or owner?) that I would call in later in the day with my credit card number when they could give me a total for the cost for his grooming. I hadn’t completed this part of the transaction with them before Jenny called me and we got Luke out of there. When I called them, they didn’t admit to or apologize for anything, even though it was clear that I knew what had happened and it was clear that they knew that I knew what had happened. That’s absolutely not ok. They took my money, knowing that I knew they’d been hurtful toward my dog in my absence. And they knew that I knew they had done it. I just can’t get over that. What kind of people are these?
Their actions also mean to me that they fully intend to keep an abusive groomer in their employ and that, as a matter of course, they do not treat the animals well in the owners’ absence. Very scary for those of us who don’t believe in physical punishments or abuse of any kind for our animals.
Later that night when I was telling my husband about this he knelt down and was playing with Luke, who for the first time ever displayed symptoms of being head shy. He’d never been like that before with us…that broke my heart. And now we are working with Luke to help him become desensitized to having his face touched, nose playfully grabbed and jiggled (as opposed to grabbed and shaken in anger), and generally playing around with his head. I’m so mad at these people for hurting my sweet little guy.
Here’s what I’m not sure about: I know I’m going to do something, but I’m not exactly sure what. I didn’t witness the abuse in person, but I trust my very upset assistant. I also know what I’ve seen subsequent to the grooming, where my pup displays flinching behaviors that he never did before. Do I name names here? (I’ve enjoyed this blog being all about the positive fun stuff.) Or do I give bad reviews online via Yelp? Both? Do I also demand that they refund the amount charged to my card? I don’t know….
I’m still working on this. I’m going to do something by the end of this week. Update to follow soon. But DosDoodles does not stand back and tolerate the abuse of the doodles or any other animal.
For now, however, we move back toward the positive. See the next post for the Sudsy Dog Antidote to the Mean Groomer Problem…