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This dog grooming story on Gawker makes me feel so sad! I know so many people use petco/petsmart for services and it’s so scary to think about these things happening! I had my dog groomed there once and the experience was so horrible that I will never go back.

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When I called to make my appointment, I told them that my dog was blind, and that he had arthritis in his hips so he could be sensitive about his back end. They indicated this would be no problem and made the appointment.

They called with my reminder a day or so before the appointment and again I told them about his blindness. They said no problem.

When I brought him in, first thing they wanted to know was what kind of dog he was. My guy was a pound puppy, a glorious mixture of several dogs that will likely not come together in the same combination again in my lifetime. He’s a one of a kind! Quite frankly, I don’t know what he is! But one thing I know is that he’s got some defining spaniel to him. They insisted this was not the case because he “doesn’t look like a cocker spaniel” (he doesn’t, but I didn’t claim he was cocker spaniel, just a variety of spaniel), and proceeded to pull out a dog breed book to match him.

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I have yet to understand why they were so concerned with “what” he was, since I told them I wasn’t wanting a specific cut for a breed, I was just wanting him to be trimmed for summer. Ultimately they decided on a breed for him (one that, when I looked it up on my own, couldn’t possibly have been my dog, but whatever). They claim he is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a dog for which the darkest coloration is a chocolate brown (my dog is clearly black), a dog generally the size of a golden retriever (my dog is roughly 20 pounds), and a dog that has short hair (my dog has long). It made them happy to have their own breed for him, so whatever, I thought they were crazy but didn’t worry about it.

Before they take him back, I remind them again about his blindness and his arthritic hips. They told me they would take good care of him.

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An hour or so later, I get the call from them that I assume is to tell me that he’s ready to be picked up. First thing out of the girl’s mouth is “did you know your dog is blind?!” I said “Yes... and so did you! I told you that three times!” Her response was “Oh, nobody told me, I didn’t realize until he kept falling off the table that he couldn’t see the edge of it! [Note: at this point I’m internally screaming] Well, regardless, there must be something wrong with his back end, because he really doesn’t want us brushing and cutting back there.” Yeah, that’d be the arthritis! She proceeded to tell me that they were unable to do his full grooming, that they had started, but wouldn’t be finishing, because they didn’t have enough people there to make sure he stayed on the table and didn’t try to nip at them when they tugged on his hair on his backside. I was told to come pick him up.

I cried the entire way to the store, not sure what I would find when I got there, not sure if I had traumatized my dog for life or what. Thankfully, he really didn’t look all that odd even though only about half of him was groomed and I seemed more traumatized than he did. They still charged me for the full grooming and called me for weeks afterwards trying to get me to bring him in for the rest of it, and then called me months later to recommend another grooming. I let them have it every time they called about how I would never bring him or any dog there and I would tell absolutely everyone I knew to never bring a dog there.

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I’m sure there are people who have had pleasant experiences with them, and I’m sure that there are some groomers at some of these places who really do care about your pets, but it was certainly not my experience. I started doing my own dog grooming, trimming up his hair for summer and such and it works so much better. If I do take him to a groomer in the future, you better believe it will be to an independent groomer who cares about the dogs in her care. I will never skimp or go for convenience with my dog again!

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