Getting Festive…

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Most of you guys are preparing for the impending Holidays in normal ways. What is normal you ask? Maybe it’s getting dates on your calendar for family celebrations; maybe it’s beginning to plan decorations, gifts, meals, or making time for cherished traditions. All around the country, Groomers are making preparations of a different sort.

Groomers view the Holiday season (encompassing the period between Thanksgiving week and ending on Christmas Day) with something akin to a love/hate relationship. Many groomers make a lot of money during this time period. They work long hours, offer services to extra dogs, enjoy larger thoughtful seasonal tips. It’s  bountiful season for most in the pet industry. That’s the love part of the season.

The hate version I will now label as a form of PTGD. I just made that up but for the sake of this article- just run with me. It’s Post Traumatic Groomer Disorder. Working as a pet service professional during the holidays will thicken the skin of even the most seasoned service professional. Emotions are heightened. Finances become strained for many of our clients. Stress is at an all time high for the pet owning population (and the general population for that matter). And we are in the line of fire for it all.

I’ve often wondered about the family who wakes up 1 day before a large Norman Rockwell-esque celebration and realizes that their dog has neglected to schedule his own grooming appointments for months and it will now ruin the ENTIRE holiday if he doesn’t get fully groomed at the last minute. Just once, I want to ask, “did you not realize he was a matted mess last week? or the week before that? or last month?” And of course that coat isn’t able to be saved- lady, we crossed that bridge 3 months ago when you missed his appointment we prescheduled so he wouldn’t have to be shaved. So, as Groomers, we squeeze the dog in and feel better that he will spend his Christmas clean and being enjoyed by his family.

We wake up ourselves on our own holiday time sore, bruised, bitten, tired, and emotionally exhausted from the onslaught of clients who demand our services in those short few weeks. That’s the hate part of PTGD.

So, I challenge Pet Groomers everywhere to find a balance. We choose to close an extra day at Christmas each year simply to allow our staff to have that extra moment to relax, enjoy, and decompress. We also choose to limit ourselves to a predetermined number of haircuts during holiday weeks (no exceptions) and then provide bath/brush tidy ups to every other dog. Yes, we bathe matted dogs those weeks- and counsel them to come back the next week for a full groom. It’s the only time we let our standards slip simply for the sake of vanity. We make many more families happy by observing this policy. We have many more clean client pets who are able to participate in their family functions and Christmas photos. And then we have more dogs returning in January to get back on their regularly scheduled programs. It’s a balance for all. At See Spot, our groomers are finding that the Holidays are more festive- we’ve found a way to strike a balance.

This year, instead of dreading the Holiday rush, we are eagerly awaiting the many faces we will be able to squeeze in. Yes, our groomers are already excited about their holiday paychecks- there is no shame in working hard and making lots of money doing something you love. But, they will also enjoy those holiday paychecks a little less sore, a little less exhausted, and a whole lot more enjoyably.

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