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Owner says I caused dog's eye infections :-(

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  • Owner says I caused dog's eye infections :-(


    I am new here, this is my first post. I have been lurking for a while ever since I decided to become a groomer. I am apprenticing with a well respected groomer in my area. I've done a few dogs start to finish by myself at the apprentices' shop and know that this is a carreer I want to pursue. My vet has offered me a job as their groomer when I am finished apprenticing, but that's down the road a while.

    Okay, to get to the brother and his wife just got back together after a long seperation. They took a vacation to Florida last week and dropped their Shihtzu off with me to dog sit. I asked if I could groom her and they said yes. I specifically asked if I could do 'anything I wanted'. Again, the answer was yes. I had only ever seen the dog once when they first got her so I was unaware of her condition until I had her on the table and started brushing her. She was full of matts right down to the skin. I called the groomer I'm apprenticing with and she came over to my house. We tried working the matts out but it was basically torturing the poor dog so we had to cut them out the best we could. I finally managed to get her clipped with a #4 on most of the body, but a #7 on some areas where it was worse. It wasn't perfect, but it was the best I could do with the condition she was in. When I tried to groom the face she turned into a little terror and kept trying to bite. I hadn't gotten the opportunity to work on biters so my teacher put her hands over the top of mine to show me the right amount of pressure to use for control and we did her face together. Once she realized we weren't going to hurt her (who knows what's been done to her in the past) she settled down and let us get her finished. One of my biggest fears is cutting their nose or eyelid, etc. So the teacher did one side of the face and I did the other after watching how she did it. This little girl's face was a MESS. The gunk from her eyes had matted and hardened so badly under her eyes that we couldn't even seperate the hairs with our fingers. In the end, we ended up doing a puppy clip on her face and she looked really cute, I thought. (I have before and after pics but don't know how to post them but if anyone wants me to email them I will be glad to).

    When my sister in law came to get her after her trip the first thing she said was 'my daughter is going to be so mad because she likes her hair long'. No 'thank you', no 'she looks cute'. I told her if my neice (she's 5 years old) wanted to keep her hair long that I would get her some brushes and teach her how to groom her so we won't have to cut it off the next time.

    Today my SIL called my mom and said the dog had infections in both eyes and the vet said it was because Shihtzu's are supposed to have hair in front of their eyes to protect them, groomers aren't suppposed to cut the hair around them and that she had an appt. with them this afternoon. This is the same vet that I use, that offered me the job. I called my SIL and asked her if I could go to the vet appt. too because if I did something wrong I wanted to know how to fix it because I'm learning. She got very quiet, then snapped "OKAY" and hung up. I went to the vets for the appt. but she had already cancelled and said she was taking the dog elsewhere!! I haven't been able to get a hold of her and find anything out, but I think it's because she knows she lied to me and I didnt' really do this. I'm afraid that she is going to go around and spread lies about me and tell people I caused this and noone is going to want to come to me before I even get started. I talked to my brother a little while ago and he wasn't aware of it all except that the dog's eyes were running constantly. They were before, but noone took the time to notice this because they just didn't bother with her. It's a very sad situation, the dog should not even be in that household and I've asked if I could have her, but my SIL is spiteful and won't simply because it's something I want. Okay, I'm just venting now. But anyway...has this or anything similar ever happened and what did you do? I've been very upset about this all day and ready to say to heck with grooming dogs, if my own relatives will treat me this way what are real, paying clients going to do??

    Thank you so much for reading to the end, I know it's long.

  • #2
    no no SIL

    First off if the Shih is any years above about 5 she may have dry eye. Mine does. But how would SIL know cause obviously she doesn't give the poor dog much attention or she wouldn't be in this awful shape!! ie- her pelted coat.

    Don't always believe what a client says a vet says. Call the vet yourself if you have to. Express your concern about the dog. Kindly ask for his/her advice.

    Anytime you have a matted dog take lots of pix. It could have been worse. You could have cut the dog. Then SIL would have really been mad!! (Started telling everyone right away how horrible of a groomer you are- in her slanted opinion. No No SIL!)

    Let it go.

    Let it go.

    You will be an awesome groomer & have many happy dogs who benefit from your care & skill.



    • #3
      Wow, who needs enemies with FAMILY like that:-) That is a very old belief about dogs that have long hair needing it. She probably searched on the internet and found it somewhere.

      This will make Holidays very taxing. You did what was right, believe it and know the truth will come out.


      • #4
        Don't fret too much about it. If you did a search on this board you will find that a lot of times clients can exaggerate about what the vet said. I find it pretty hard to believe that the vet would say that. In fact, it's possible the vet would have shaved the shihtzu's eyes close to clear away all of the gunk anyway. You did the right thing clearing away the hair, and it's highly unlikely that you "caused" the infection. Shihtzus tend to have problems with their eyes anyway, especially if they are neglected as this ones seems to be. I understand that in this case you are talking about family, and not a client so things have to be handled a little more carefully. I hope you can get things worked out! If at all possible talk to the vet about it. I know you mentioned that she was your vet as well.
        Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones


        • #5
          Boy, you jumped in at the deep end, alright. But don't take it so much to heart, because you didn't do anything wrong.

          I think every groomer in the world has probably been accused of doing something like this. We hear "The vet said....." when the vet didn't say anything remotely resembling what we're being accused of. And we here "The vet said....." when the vet actually did make the accusation. And in most cases, we didn't cause it.

          I've uncovered hot spots, and had the vet say I clipper burned the dog. I've sent dogs with stinking, infected ears out, with much urging that the owner take the dog to the vet, and had the vet say I caused it because I got water in the dog's ear, didn't use ear powder, used too much ear powder, plucked the ear, didn't pluck the ear...the list goes on and on.

          Even when I was working as a vet tech, we had a client bring in her poodle, claiming that the groomer told her the ointment we'd given her for the dog's ear infection had run into her eye during the bath, causing irritation. Two problems with that. The ointment we'd given her for the ear was actually an eye ointment. And when the vet did a complete exam of the eye, you could see the clipper marks on the dog's cornea. So, in that case, the groomer caused it, and tried to blame the vet.

          Finger pointing goes with the territory. If you know you didn't do anything wrong, you just let it roll off your back and go on. If you did make a mistake, you feel bad, learn from it, forgive yourself, and try not to do it again.


          • #6

            Sounds to me like she is a liar anyways.

            You didn't cause this, and she has issues to say the least.

            Sounds like there is more to this story than is here.
            Sounds like she has a chip on her shoulder from something else.
            Is her life as a whole balanced?
            If not, there is your answer.


            • #7

              Unfortunately sometimes our relatives are worse than paying clients. I feel for you and think you did the right thing. It's hard to not wanna throw in the towell when something like this happens, but don't let it beat you up or it will. It sounds to me like it is perhaps a SIL issue (can sympathize with you there) and maybe not even a grooming issue, so definitely don't give up yet. We're rooting for ya! Welcome to the board btw and keep us posted. Good luck!!


              • #8

                Don't give up grooming because of one sour apple!!! Your SIL sounds like a real piece of work. Unfortunately you will run into these kinds of clients, but thankfully they are pretty far and few between. The only thing I would do if I were you would be to speak to your brother. Tell him why the dog had to be clipped, and that the eyes were a mess when you started. Yes, Shih-tzu's can have the hair kept in front of it's eyes and on it's nose, BUT it has to be very regularly groomed or they WILL get infections.

                As far as your SIL, there is not much you can do about her. Thankfully she belongs to your brother and not pretend she doesn't exist until there are family functions, then make nice, smile like a crocodile and know that you were in the right and she is a big jerk.
                SheilaB from SC


                • #9
                  Sorry to hear abt your nasty SIL. Sometimes family and friends are the worst when t comes to business etc. Maybe you could call the vet and see what he has to say to you abt this situation. You may learn that he never said any such thing. And IF any infection would have come from a groomer I would have thought to get an infection would would have to have germs in a open wound?? I THINK THE INFECTION is your SISTER IN LAW...........

                  Don't blame yourself for anything but do follow up with the vet so you can ease your mind and in the future don't do favors for your sister in law!!


                  • #10
                    Some people will do the same thing. I would call the vet. When the hair is full of crusty gunk you have to cut it off. The moisture there is really bad for the skin. I highly doubt she talked to the vet on the phone. I also doubt he diagnosed the dog over the phone. Talk to your brother again and tell him that you under supervision did what was best for the dog and would appreciate if he talk to his witch of a wife lol
                    If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


                    • #11
                      I'd tell your SIL to cram it. Shih's don't have to have the hair in front of their eyes. I doubt you caused and eye infection. It was probably already there (if she even really has one) and you just made it noticeable by grooming the dog and making her look and feel better. It's good that you asked to go to the vets visit with her. It sounds like your SIL doesn't like you and will try to do anything to hurt you. Talk to your brother about it and let him know what's going on. Inform him that the dog needs to be brushed and combed if they want the hair left long. Also it has to be done by an adult and not by a child. Show him how to do it. Also tell him that if the dog gets in the condition again that you will take it from them.

                      Well you don't have to tell him any of that. I'm just throwing out ideas.

                      Little tip. Hope I'm not making you feel bad or anything I'm just trying to help you out since your learning. If a dog is in that bad of condition, just shave it all with the same blade. Don't bother trying to leave any part of it longer, because sure as heck it's going to end up matted in a month or 2 anyway.

                      Also call your vet or one that your "teacher" works with and inform them about the Shih you just did. Ask the vet if grooming a dog can cause an eye infection. Unless you touched the eye or put anything in it, I don't see how you would have caused an eye infection. Ear infection sure, but not eye.

                      Never know though, anything is possible..

                      Good luck and keep us posted on how your grooming is coming along.


                      • #12
                        First off, don't be so hard on yourself. It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. I certainly wouldn't give up a grooming career over this. This sounds more like a Sister-in-law issue than a grooming issue. I trim the fur around Shih-Tzu's eyes all the time. If that is what your boss told you and helped you with, I'm sure it's fine. This should not deter you whats so ever from grooming. When you have paying customers you will have issues come up every now and then, you can't please everyone all the time. You just can't let that get to you. Keep your chin up. Hopefully this will pass. I don't know if I'd offer to groom their dog again! Too bad for them, could have a free grooming!


                        • #13
                          You did the best you could with what you had to work with. As least you had a witness if your SIL insists on being ugly. One of the things that I enjoy about working with a vet is anytime we run ito a situation like you did the dog is carried to the treatment area and a Dr. documents the condition and it goes into the pets patient file.



                          • #14
                            IN Laws - Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

                            I think the problem here is that you uncovered an existing problem. They just didn't know about it because they probably couldn't see her eyes.

                            Since you know you didn't cause this, just let it go. Maybe if you wanted to you could just try and call her one last time and tell her that you truely believe that you didn't cause any problems and you had her dogs best interest in mind because a brush couldn't go through the hair due to the heavy matting and dematting would've been terribly uncomfortable. Then just tell her your sorry that she feels that way, and then just let it go.


                            • #15
                              I can almost guarentee the vet didnt say that without even seeing the dog. LOL

                              Wow what a witch for a SIL. The best thing to do is probably to ignore her and if she ever asks you to groomer her dog later when you are a full fledged groomer refuse. I on the other hand can never keep my mouth shut and would have shown up at her house under the guise of visiting your brother and asked to speak with her. Id explain that the dogs face was full of gunk which means she probably had a preexisting eye infection that they didnt notice because the hair was catching it all. Then I would bluntly tell her that I was truely hurt that she would lie and blame you instead of being supportive and doing all she can to help and encourage you in your new carreer.

                              Oh and Id also tell her that the experienced groomer was with you the whole time and its a myth that shaving the hair infront of the eyes causes infection and that she should be more discriminating about what she reads on the net.

                              Dont let her discourage you !!!