A woman comes in the other day with her dog wrapped in a towel. It's busy, so I tell her I'll be with her in a moment and finish up with the other customers while she waits quietly on one of our chairs. I call to her and she tells me her dogs name and that he has an appointment. She looks upset, so I walk over and kneel down next to her while I get the usual information.
Me: What are we doing to Mr. T today?
She looks at me sadly.
Her: Whatever you can.
Okay. That's odd. She tells me her dog is in rough shape. I laugh. A lot of customer tell us that. She slowly pulls back the towel and my jaw drops. I have never seen a dog so matted in my life. Matts that had to be at least six inches thick if not more. Matts wrapped around his legs, his tail, his face.
Me: Oh my fucking god.
I couldn't help it. It slipped out. She bursts into tears. She then begins to tell me how she had had to leave her ex's place at the last minute after a bad break up. She had left her dog with the Ex and he assured her he would take care of it. He didn't. She had been couch surfing and frantically trying to find a place and get back on her feet. She had been sending her EX money for the dog, for grooming appt. For food and vet appts. He had done none of it. He hadn't even brushed the dog. He had let it get like this as revenge for her ending the relationship. She takes my hand and begs me to help her dog.
I rub her hand and calmly explain to her that I don't know if we can, but we'll try. I am honest with her.
Me: He might need a vet to take care of him. He might need to be sedated for this. We will certainly try, but he might be beyond our help.
She nods and hands me his vet paperwork. She had gotten him every shot they could give him. She continues to sob while she tells me how much she loves this dog and how furious she was when she saw him.
Her: I know he's in pain. I know he won't look very good. I'm not expecting show quality or anything. Just please help him! I don't want him in pain.
Me: We will certainly try, ma'am. I'm just telling you worst case scenario.
I go tell my boss and she gives the woman a paper talking about the side effects of being dematted. She tells her what I had told her. That we would try, but it might not be possible. She asks if the woman would be okay with keeping the dog here for a while so we could go slowly and not hurt or stress him.
Her: Anything! Anything you have to do, do it. Anything you need me to do, I'll do. I don't care what it costs. Just tell me and I'll do it! Please! Help him.
Boss: He's going to be naked, you know?
Her: Whatever you have to do. Just tell me what you need from me. It'll be done.
She hands over the dog and leaves. We all stand around the table looking at this dog, not knowing where to start or how. Finally the dematting starts. He's pretty good for it, but it takes two people to get through it. Three people are working on this dog. Two dematting and one grabbing stuff from the table to toss away or running and getting things the other two need. Two ours later, we call the woman.
He's covered...COVERED...in fleas. His skin looks like it's moving. We need to douse him in flea shampoo, but it's going to dry out his already irritated skin. Can we use a conditioner on him?
Her: Do it!
Her: I don't care. Do it.
In the tub he goes. We wash him three times in flea shampoo, then soak him in the best conditioner we have.
We call her to come get him.
She walks in the door and we hand her the bill. We didn't charge her as much as we should have, but it was still pretty high. She pays it without batting an eye lash. The dog trots out happily, jumps around, yips and she bursts into tears again. She picks him up and hugs him tight.
Her: He looks great! Oh my god! MY baby! Thank you so much!
We tell her how he was, that he was surprisingly very good, though he did have some tender areas. We point them out, give her some advice and things to watch for.
He's cute, but obviously he's shaved. When his fur grow's back we'll clip him again and make him cuter. Bring him back in six weeks and we can trim up his face and everything.
She says she will and how thankful she is. She can't believe we were able to get through all that. She leaves and the whole place gets hosed down with flea killer but everyone is happy.
We helped a dog in dire straights and made her day. The poor puppy can now run and jump like a normal dog without being weighed down by tons and tons of matts.