Archive for July, 2013

Is it Gossip if it’s true? Or any Boss can ruin you…..

July 26, 2013



I’ve been accused of being a blabber mouth , and ‘dissing’ businesses.  One  groomer friend told me  I didn’t get the whole story about   a recent situation where a dog groomer stopped showing up at work.  She had actually given notice, and due to very poor management, key people didn’t get the information. This does not surprise me at all.  However, the groomer didn’t go out of her way to make sure the key people got the information.

An anonymous groomer told me that the reason I wasn’t getting jobs (!?!) was that  employers googled me and I had disrespected too many.  She felt that  enabled her to get more work. I’m wondering…is she really a groomer….or a possible employer…Can she read? Can she comprehend what she reads?  Do you really want to work for people who  don’t buy equipment or supplies, who don’t keep good records, who under charge, or who really aren’t busy?  How about people who don’t give you your tips, or don’t pay what they owe you? Or bounce checks?   How about people who don’t run safe facilities?   Or who sell puppies they did not breed?  Not me. I  trashed her  comment because she  signed with a fake email address.  So, here’s the deal on  ‘not getting hired’:  I am working 3 part-time jobs now by choice.  Why?  In some cases, the  business owners  either do not market grooming or I have to travel too far to  work for them every day. I don’t enjoy sitting 2+ hours in traffic.    I’ve noticed that , the farther a business is from the city, the busier they seem to be….yet the groomers still aren’t making over $40,000 a year.  What’s the point? Especially if you don’t get health insurance!  At some point, I will probably only work for  1, as I still have my  ‘private’ clients whom I get by SEO.  That is, they google  ‘key words’ to find a specific type of groomer, and, generally, I am the only one who shows up on the search.  That is fine with me, as I  don’t want to deal with every backyard breeder with 6 Shih Tzu bitches who hasn’t figured out how to use a clipper.

I talked to a dog groomer recently who  took one job I was not able to keep.  The employer felt she needed me more than 3 days a week, so fired me in favor of a full time groomer. Then, because this new full time groomer wasn’t as good as she hoped…they hired my friend for part time work.  I learned that everything I had told the manager  as being a problem (the bather being over worked and needing help, the  receptionist  sabotaging good relations) turned out to be true. The bather quit,  they  started losing business, and now, after 20 years, they are thinking of shutting the grooming business as their overhead is too high and they are no longer profitable.  Should I not   post this?  I haven’t mentioned any names on this one.   Meanwhile, another place I had worked part time, which was badly managed because the owner really didn’t know anything about microbusiness &  hired too many people who were not ADDING VALUE… sold the property.  Recently.  Big shock, they list  fewer managerial staff on their web page.

I  also recently met a groomer who  met a mutual friend.New groomer had  never seen an Afghan in  ‘specials coat’ on the street.  We got to talking, and she had worked at places that  had apparently googled me and would not hire me.  Her attitude was that I had done myself a favor. She had also worked at  one place I had considered working for, but  refused to work for as they sold puppy mill puppies…  Pocket Puppies  in Lincoln Park in Chicago.  They are still in business. When you buy low & sell high, just 1 puppy a week can keep you afloat. This also upset the groomer, which was among the reasons she had quit working for them.

I respond to anyone who leaves a lucid comment (warning to you Africans).  I want to know  how you found this blog. Sometimes, you  don’t know the dynamics of a business until you’ve jumped into the fire. The managers at PETCO lied to me, It’s legal to lie to employees.  Pet Supplies Plus told me they hired me to do one job, then expected me to do many other jobs  so I would know was not respected and could easily be replaced, and they are desperate  for groomers. So are many  places.  Seems many groomers have the same attitude that I have.  I rest my case.

YOU make public policy.

July 19, 2013

I’m an activist. Not a great one, not very visible, but  I figure , I live in America, I pay taxes,  and  our elected officials are supposed to represent ME and my views.  Now,  some of our elected officials think we elect THEIR views…so you have to elect the person who holds the views you hold.  That means doing a bit of research…but I digress.

You really have to ‘organize’ and get with people who hold similar views…to make progress.  However, I know that  the subtle things you do make an impact.

Over  30 years ago, I  worked with 0thers on a campaign called ‘Mobilization for Animals’. This was in about 1983. Our immediate mission was shutting down regional primate centers (affiliated with universities) which housed animals undergoing very painful, inhumane experiments.  We also addressed how zoos were run, circuses,  the wearing of fur, how farm animals were treated, taking of habitat, product testing on animals,hunting, steel jaw traps  the breeding of pet animals like livestock.if  an animal was being exploited,we  ‘vowed’ to  address these issues.
We didn’t immediately get the primate centers shut down, but here’s what we did do:

Wearing of fur became very …gauche.We changed the  public mindset.

Circuses & zoos  started reforming, developing better habitats,not keeping animals  if they could not provide stress-free environments, ans most small circuses shut down. Circe De Soleil—with no animals,became very popular.

Product testing—now cruelty free products have major market share for  virtually all consumable products.

Exploitation of animals…we still have a long way to go, as so many are still abused for  food and entertainment, but  Temple Grandin was able to get  humane slaughter houses built.

Recycling— due to the cost of  importing raw materials, and the  cost of  siting landfills, more Americans are comfortable using  products made from recycled materials than they were  30 years ago…thus creating jobs and saving habitat for wildlife. However, we have to remain vigilant.

Puppy mills…that is, people breeding pet dogs as livestock  just to sell as a product—we have a very long way to go on this one. witness then many pet shops in malls, selling over priced, physically ill pets to  very rich, impulsive idiots who haven’t a clue about how they are going to take care of the puppy, but trust the sellers.

I was asked by a friend to join the board of a NEW recycling center in my area.  We needed an entity to collect   recyclable waste, and a means to promote the idea.
this was in 1985 or so.  Now, most people are recycling something.

In  1990, I was  riding public transportation to school, and a fellow passenger commented on the ‘Dolphin Safe Tuna’ pin (handed out by Starkist at a rally)  that I had on my bag. “Do you really think it is dolphin safe?”  he asked. I said, “I’m not sure, but the  point is that people like you and me contacted them, wrote them letters (this was before the internet) & told them we were concerned, and they are responding to the public, They know we are watching.”

And that’s the point. Now, with the internet, it is easier to make an impact.  I really applaud all the petition sites…because it is a form of reverse marketing back to the  entities—be they politicians or corporations—that really have so much influence over us.  In just a few days time, we can really influence those that put forth a bad idea that  we, regular folks, care about what they are doing.

There are many books on organizing for political or social change, but  2 very good ones are “Made to Stick,” by the Heath brothers, and “The Tipping Point,” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Please join  Facebook, and you will be forwarded all sorts of petitions,a nd  some of them have a great impact.

Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman: perfect storm

July 11, 2013

You never get the full story when you read the newspaper, and especially not when you get the news  on TV. Editors   dress stuff up or simplify.   The internet?  Please!  Be skeptical.  Virtually all opinion, with no editor.  I admit  what I am  writing IS opinion.

I  got an email with a photo  of Trayvan Martin.  Cool kid , with tattoos on his face.   A regular teenage punk. Comes to school with jewelry  he ‘found’ along the way.   A little thief.  On more than  one occasion.  Comes to school with grass, begging to be searched.   Begging to be suspended.  Arrogant.  Apparently  his folks (he has  2 living) felt his behavior was ok.

George Zimmerman, wanna be cop.  Tough guy.   Not very bright.  On the look out for trouble makers.  In fact, apparently going out of his way to find trouble makers.  No waiting period or application is going to weed out  idiots like him. They will all get guns and ammo.

I remember a time when  black parents of black kids warned  their boys to  lay low, be respectful.   You never knew what  white guy, or cop, would shoot first and ask questions later. Unfortunate, but this is America.  Most unfortunate.  But from living in America, and having black male friends, I  know, at least of the guys about my age, what they learned  so they could get to live to be about my age.

Lots of stuff not really int he press about this whole tragedy.  During the  autopsy, they found THC (marijuana) in Trayvon’s system.  George was never tested for drugs.  makes you wanna go, hmmmm…

So, here we are:  we got a black guy for president, and a bunch of  not really deep thinkers  thinking they need  loaded weapons when then go to the store to buy  snacks.  I live in the inner city:  a low-income  community, very high housing density,  obvious gang activity, and obvious disinvestment of the police in favor of the wealthy (I’ll write about a horrible  entertainment center being planned with TIF  money…right up there with the waste the army  paid for in Afghanistan, recently)  You call the police about suspicious activity…or a brawl, and there  is a 50/50 chance of them showing up.  That’s how it is.

What i am saying is…I expect more doofus teenagers–especially black  boys—just  acting the fool—-to be shot by more  imbeciles with  guns, thinking they are defending themselves. The lawyers win. that’s all I am saying.

Why I groom the way I do..

July 4, 2013

I have worked with a lot of groomers at a lot of different shops, and have been grooming since the late 1960’s.  Since the last century.  I  tell people I learned to groom dogs  when there were  only poodles, and no Force dryers.

I also learned from people who showed dogs and had an eye for a dog.  They tried to teach  their students methods to get the dogs to look like show dogs without the ‘fuss’.  Clipping many breeds is ‘cheating’, but no matter.  So many breeds  became popular and lost popularity  in these many decades. There were no Bichons or Shih Tzu. there were a few Lhasa Apsos, but  people soon learned that not every dog that looks cute, is cute.  I didn’t groom Soft-coated Wheatens until the mid 1970’s, when I worked for foundation breeder Jocelyn Slatin.  We  made up trims for the  non-show dogs.

In any case, I learned to cut off as much hair as you could before bathing a dog, because…why clean and dry hair you intend to cut off?  Now, with more powerful dryers, it  is not such an issue, and I know many grooomers do not want to take a blade or a scissor to a dirty dog.  since I learned  the way I learned,  I cut off hair  before bathing.

I learned to clean ears and cut toenails before  bathing the dog.  The people who taught me told me that if I made a toenail bleed, I could  then wash off the blood and the quick stop, and since I  was taking care of details, it just made sense to clean the dog’s ears before  his toenails were clipped as many dogs would  scratch you if they had an ear infection.  Ear infections were very common when  so many  dog foods contained grain, and we didn’t understand  food allergies or sensitivities.    I was also taught t o do the grooming in the same order every time so I didn’t forget  a task.  That was very good advice, you get distracted, and you forget a whole foot!

The early  concentrated shampoos did not dilute that much.  At the time, nobody knew how shampoo  cleaned unless they had a background in chemistry.  We’d sort of ‘eyeball’ a dilution rate and waste a lot, it was cheap enough, so it didn’t matter.  After learning how shampoo softens water, and that it works by agitation, and because I could never get cocker spaniels dry —because I never could get them clean, I started brushing the shampoo through the hair–especially the ears..  I noticed immediately that my dogs were not only cleaner, they dried faster.  I was removing  surface area as I  brushed the shampoo through the dogs’ hair.  I was also increasing agitation.  Many groomers just keep massaging the shampoo through the coat, and many use a ‘hydrosurge’ or other shampoo delivery system.  If that works for them, that’s fine.  However, I was grooming so many drape coated dogs  I had to develop a system that worked for me.

What about deshedding treatments?  Before they existed,  just brushing the dog in the tub, then using a flea comb or a stripping knife (topping the coat) worked very well for me.  I understand the theory of the deshedding treatments is that the shampoos  include more emollients, which soften the skin and cause the  follicles to release the hair that would be about to shed.  I do use them when people ask for them, but I remind them  that there is no magic;  you  really need to brush the dog with a slicker brush once a week. and  deshedding has to be done very 6—8 weeks.  In fact, id does not good to  brush a dog every day, as you won’t get the dog into a shed cycle.  I can’t imagine when that myth started.  Probably when there were no  proper slicker brushes.

I stopped using creme rinse.  Creme rinse is a humectant, made to attract moisture to the dog’s skin.   Some people think if it as a conditioner, due to marketing, that’s a great idea, but it makes the dog difficult to dry, and it will attract dirt.  I started using a silicone coat polish in the  mid 1970’s.  Now you can get THE Stuff, or Ice on Ice, and  it makes the dog shiny, repels dirt and prevents matting.  I know  many groomers don’t like this, and they’d rather use creme rinse…but why are you using creme rinse on a pit Bull or Labrador Retriever?    That makes no sense.

I still brush long haired dogs dry with a low velocity fluff dryer. I know you can use a force—but if 1 hand is holding the nozzle  & the other hand is holding the brush, and the dog won’t stand still, how good a job will you do, &  if you don’t  brush, you won’t get the same finish.

I continue to  be disappointed  by the number of people who  get a dog because they liked the way it looked, or because they ‘rescued’ the dog, and  are shocked by the expense  of owning a dog. This is the age of the internet. There are no excuses for this type of ignorance, and  it is the responsibility of the person giving you the dog, whether it be the breeder, a broker for a puppy mill (that would be the very cute pet shop ripping you off) or the shelter or rescue, to give you information on food, housebreaking, basic obedience training, and grooming.  How can you say you love dogs when you  aren’t making sure the person who wants a dog understands the commitment?  How ethical is that?  And, if you found the dog & didn’t attempt to find the owner (via a local shelter,  veterinarians, or the police)—still no excuses. There’s plenty of information out there.

If you don’t take care of your dog, no matte what your excuse (we’ve heard them all), I am going to do my best to  treat your dog humanely and make your dog comfortable. You might not like the way it looks, but it is only hair. It will grow back.

Finally, I just have to comment if you  carry your dog in (no leash), or bring your dog in on a harness or prong collar.  You are not  humanely communicating with your dog. Your dog gets cues from you  via the  feeling of the collar on its neck.  You do not have to choke or pinch your dog to get control, and when you allow your dog to pull you, you actually make your dog be in charge of you.  Please take the time to  teach your dog to walk calmly on a leash.  Teach the dog to follow a biscuit, you, or the clicker with praise. Please please please.