02 March 2008

Snaggletooth Strikes Again

Snow Day - Suki
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I dropped off Suki at the groomer yesterday - only to get a call an hour later with the owner saying, "We can't touch her today." I immediately jumped in the car to go pick her up.

I walked into the grooming salon and smiled upon seeing a cute little dog on the nearest grooming table. The owner sees me and snaps at me, "It's not funny. She better be up to date on her rabies shot. She bit me." I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, but I managed to calmly reply, "I'm sorry - I wasn't laughing at you. And yes, she does have all her current shots."

The owner asked me to come back into their workspace to get her -- she was cowering in a corner, but jumped up and came to me the moment she saw me. I managed to get her collar and leash back on and scooped her up. As I walked out I stopped to apologize to the owner again -- who then gave me an earful about how Suki's become more and more difficult each time I bring her in. (Gee, maybe you could have mentioned that to me before? This is the first time I'm hearing about it.)

She also claimed this was only the third time in fifteen years that she'd been bitten -- and would need to go get a tetanus shot. She says to me, "I thought she only had one tooth?" Well, one canine and a couple small ones... (I don't know that I ever said ONE tooth, because I usually say 3 teeth - but she knows how to use them.) I asked if she would like any money for the doctor's visit, and she snapped back, "I have health insurance." (I have insurance too, but I have a copay.) I took my leave with Suki under my arm.

I cried all the way home (the full 5 minute ride). I understand Suki's a bit of hellion - when I try to brush her she'll snap at me. Which is why I don't brush her and leave it to the professionals. I just felt beaten down by the owners verbal assault and after the crap week I've had, it was something I didn't need.

In hindsight, I should have realized something was up -- when we left her, she was shaking and was hesitant to go in back at the groomer. I thought it was because Mark was there -- he tends to coddle her, thinks she can do no wrong. But now I'm wondering if something happened to her on a previous visit and that's why she acted the way she did.

I'll be calling the vet on Monday morning to talk about something to calm her a bit before the next grooming attempt -- and for a recommendation on a groomer. Suki won't be going back to this joint - even if they'd take her. Apparently one of my neighbor's had an issue with this groomer too - was asked never to bring her dog back. The groomer said that my neighbor's gentle mutt (beagle/lab) attacked the owner's dog. As she's one of the most mellow dogs I know, I don't know what to think about that story.

Suki's very loving most of the time, but in an instant can turn into a snarling ball of fur. With only three teeth or so, she can still do damage. She got me when I tried to bathe her -- in hindsight, a dumb idea since she was so worked up from the experience at the groomer. I should have waited a day or so. Ouch. Lesson learned.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Yeah, sounds like something fishy is up at the groomer's. (why didn't they muzzle her?)

Is there any way you can train Suki to tolerate being brushed? Start slow -- show her the brush sitting beside you on the couch, then pick it up, then touch her but not comb her... that sort of very small baby step that'll win her trust back.

Good luck!!

marci said...

They attempted to muzzle her - but watching the muzzle attempts at the vet, I know that's an experience in itself.

Yea, I know - baby steps. But at home, if I even pick up the brush, she'll start showing me the teeth. It it comes near her (meaning within 2 feet) she'll lunge.

Something 'clicked' in her brain after she had the surgeries to extract her teeth and be spayed. Or it's just a coincidence that her personality changed/came out after that. I've got one tech at the vet (who is a pom owner) who works so well with her. She's the only one who can get her muzzled with no drama.

The Cartoonist's Wife said...

I swear, there's something up with the moon or something. Lousy week, huh?

Hoping this one will be so much better. Hugs to you and the pups.

Mandy said...

I was also going to ask about muzzling her. But I guess that's a struggle too.

What if you just leave the brush out all the time? Get her more accustomed to it. Is she any better for Mark?

I'm sorry for the rough time at the groomer and for the crappy week. Hugs to you and Suki!