Joe Schmoe 's Precious hasn't been groomed by me since April. I thought (and kinda hoped) maybe he had taken her somewhere else because in April I quicked a nail on his squirrel on crack and had a horrendous time getting it to stop bleeding. When I finally felt confident that it was stopped, I added more styptic, wrapped it with cotton and vet wrap, and sent her home that way, advising that he keep it on for another hour.

In September he called for an appointment, but cancelled because Precious was sick.

When I heard nothing for another 7 weeks, I figured maybe Precious didn't survive her illness. But no, he called, and so I gave him another appointment. Had to call and remind him that Precious should have been here 10 minutes ago. Precious arrives, and no-hasn't been groomed since April. Nor combed. Nor had the gunk cleaned from under her eyes, so it has now migrated to her nose. Precious is oddly still, not frantically trying to climb up me. Because she can't-the mats at the top of her legs have joined with those on her body. They haven't even taken a scissors to the hair over her eyes. Nails horribly long. I have to wonder about their vet- I know they don't do grooming, but how can you give treatment to a dog in this shape? But I digress.
So here is this poor dog who hasn't had even the most basic care for over 6 months and is in terrible shape. And the owner says as he is walking out the door "Don't forget to not cut her nails, only use the dremel cuz she bleeds a lot".

I was floored. What a nerve! But I groomed her anyway because she desperately needed to be cared for. So slowly and carefully I freed her from her prison. First I restored her ability to see. Then I gently clipped the worst of the gunk from her face. She started looking happier. As I freed her legs, she stood stock still, and once freed, returned to her squirrel behavior. So much so that I had to get my daughter come hold her as I dremelled her nails. I figured that having successfully removed all matting and **** and not having nicked her, there was just no way I was taking a chance with her nails. No chance for Joe to say "I told you so."

After her bath there was little left to do. Next customer is due in 15 minutes and I am not set up for more than one dog at a time. So I call Joe to come get her, then pick up the clippers to clean up her ears a bit more. And I caught that stinking little flap on the inside of the ear. Just the tiniest bit, but of course it bleeds like murder. I apply styptic and pressure and still it bleeds. Joe walks in, next customer walks in, I send Precious home with a vet wrapped ear, and fail to read Joe the riot act for her condition as I don't wish to do that in front of the other customer. I was so rattled I didn't even insist the dog has to come to me every 4 weeks or I can no longer groom her. Also so rattled I can't recall if I used the 7 blade on her ears instead of the 10. Would the 10 have prevented this? That's what I normally use, and never had it happen before. Was it a 10 but I was rushing? Certainly not my finest hour.

Maybe they will take her elsewhere since I am surely a butcher in their eyes. Maybe if he does call I will tell him upfront that her health, age, and behavior issues puts her in a considerably higher price category than her previous grooms (except this last one-I charged a very satisfying amount for that!) My fear of firing Joe is that Precious will never get groomed. I am 2 minutes away from their house, the next closest is 10 minutes, and that is just too far for Joe. Maybe instead of waiting for him to call I need to call him, say my piece, and set forth the conditions of remaining my client.

Many of you have incredible common sense and experience. How do you balance concern for the pet over dislike of the owner? What should I have done differently (besides the obvious of NOT nicking her stinkin' ear!)?