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Grooming the Deceased?

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  • Grooming the Deceased?

    I regularly groom an 18 yr old Min Poodle who is very loved and treasured by his owners. His health was getting too bad for him to stand for grooming. I've been carefully working with him for months grooming him to satisfy his needs and theirs. They've been so appreciative! I was caught a little off guard though, when they asked me the other day if I would consider grooming him one last time after they put him down - which will be very soon. They are having a burial, coffin and all. They just want him freshened up, new bows, and so on, so I said yes. Even though I have had 2nd thoughts. I've just never done this before...I don't really know what to expect! I need some advice and so here I am...Have any of you done this sort of thing before?? I don't even know if I should charge them, it just seems to be too delicate of a time and situation to talk about money. What do you all think???? Any advice, do's or don'ts would be soooo appreciated!!

  • #2
    I groomed a deceased Schnauzer named Kaiser. It really wasn't as bad as you might think. I bathed and blow dried him and did a light trim. When Kaiser was living he was a complete HELLION to deal with, so I have to say he was very well behaved that final I did not charge them, but they paid me anyway. That is completely your decision.
    SheilaB from SC


    • #3
      I don't think I could do it especially if It was a regular. I would be crying to hard. just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.
      "Whoever Said That Money Can't Buy Happiness Forgot About Puppies"


      • #4
        I would ask if they would consider just bringing the dog in for grooming right before going to the vet to be put to sleep. Even that would be really sad but not so creepy.


        • #5
          Something else I just thought of. If you don't have the stomach for doing this, be upfront. Most people realize this is an unusual (maybe even macabre) request. Don't feel like you HAVE to do it because you groomed the dog for so long. One of my groomers would never be able to do such a job, she is way to squeemish.
          SheilaB from SC


          • #6
            I would take it as a compliment. That is awesome they are having a funeral.
            There are alot of human hairdressers that will fix thier deceased clients hair for thier funeral. That I would not be able to handle, but the dog, I would do it. Sad, yes, but that way the dog will look wonderful and the owners will have a wonderful last memory of thier beloved pet.


            • #7
              I would also suggest that they come in on the way to have him put down. Maybe jut for a brush out and something to make him smell nice and new bows. I wouldn't charge them. I can imagine some of my clients asking this of me and I'd want to say goodbye too.


              • #8
                Too sad!!

                I couldn't groom a dead dog!! I would be crying and it just wouldn't feel right. It sounds like you have been doing a good job with "the best you can" with his not being able to stand to well.. I would suggest to the owners that I would give him "one last good groom" (while he's ALIVE) do his head really well... and I would not charge. I would also have a nice card and maybe a good picture of their "baby" for them when they picked him up.

                Good luck with your decision... its a tough one.


                • #9
                  As nice a thought as it is for that last groom to happen while the pooch is alive..but you're forgetting something.

                  Animals usually move their bowels when they pass away, and so he won't be so fresh afterwords.

                  Now whether you decide to groom or not is whatever you're comfortable with, but I'd do it.

                  Whether you should also groom him before his last appointment would depend on whether he ENJOYS the grooming process. If he just puts up with it, but doesn't actively enjoy himself, then it's not really fair to put him through that when you can do everything you need to do when he's no longer in pain.

                  Good luck, whatever you decide!


                  • #10
                    What a hard decision to make. But you must feel very honored that they trust you so much to ask you to do this for their beloved pet one more time. I would be more than willing to do it for one of my clients, but that is me.

                    When my Mother died I was asked if her daughters would like to dress her, (this is a small Wyo. town) we said yes. At first it was a little difficult, we didn't know what to expect. It was the last time we were able to be with our Mother and to do something special for her. We came out of it with special feelings and none of us have ever regretted doing it.

                    It wasn't as difficult as you might think. Just think of the good times, special grooms you had spent with this little dog. You may remember it as a special time with him, and his owners trust you to do this for them. I think it is a wonderful thing that they want to do for their pet.
                    "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."


                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone for the replies! I am thinking I will go thru with the grooming. I know how much they want me to groom him after he's been put down, even though grooming him right before would be a good option. I don't think they want him to go thru another groom in his condition though. But I will talk with them about it. I said my goodbye's to him yesterday - yes it is all very sad...He is a sweet dog and what's more emotional than anything is just how awesome of a life this little dog has had. And his sweet owners are just crushed that 'the day' has come - I do feel very honored that they trust me so completely. I don't think I'm realy squeemish, but I'm just still thinking it's going to be hard. But like some of you have said, maybe it won't be as hard as I'm thinking...I have decided not to charge anything if they ask, but I won't be bringing it up.Thanks so much for the input!!


                      • #12

                        What a beautiful thing you did for your Mother. We forget that not so very long ago it was common for family to "lay out" their dead. It is a way to have closure and say goodbye. I honestly think I would prefer to dress my parents a last time than to see them in an open casket for a viewing. It is so much more personal and loving. JMO
                        SheilaB from SC


                        • #13
                          I'm crying reading this. That would be so hard. I get attached to dogs I groom for a while. I give commends to you, I don't know if I'd be able to do it. But then I've never been faced with the situation. All the dogs I've groomed that have died have just been left at the vets for disposal.


                          • #14
                            Well, I've done it. It's not as bad as you might think.

                            Some things you can expect. He'll be cold. That's something we don't think about, but the body temperature can be a bit disconcerting the first time you experience it. Depending on how soon they bring him, he may or may not be stiff. If he's not, you'll probably notice him stiffening as you work on him. That too can be disconcerting. He may pass stool or urine, or he may be wet from passing urine. And if they bring him directly from the vet for his final groom, you may hear moans or sighs; air escaping from his lungs as you move him. Muscles may twitch or jerk. That can really be disconcerting, but it's normal, and doesn't mean the vet goofed and he's still alive.


                            • #15
                              I was just mentioning that

                              I was at an amateur radio club meeting last night and said some people have groomed dead dogs. The people near were so surprised. Then I read this.

                              I would do it and feel odd. But it would be also so hard if you were to do it the last time knowing it was on it's way to be put down.

                              Not sure what I'd do about the charge, but I like the thought of saying no charge, then they insist paying.

                              Bless you.
                              Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.