A Dog Mom’s Worst Nightmare

The following post is not writing related, but I hope that it helps someone all the same. Please note that what I am going to talk about is upsetting. It describes my personal experience with a single Petsmart Grooming Salon, and does not reflect the actions of all Petsmart Grooming Salons. (Cause you know slander and all that good stuff)

I am a dog mom. I have two handsome boys that I love unconditionally.

I have Oliver, an eight year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel :

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and Jack, a five year old Jack Russell/ Corgi mix:

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On June 15th, 2016, I took Oliver and Jack to get groomed for the summer at the Petsmart Grooming Salon in Watagua, Texas. I was told they were going to be about three hours, and I was fine with that. They deserved to get cleaned up and all of that good stuff. I live about fifteen minutes from there, so I went home to wait for them.

They had visited that salon in February, right before my husband and I moved into our apartment.Everything went fine. They were happy, I was happy. It was pretty much a standard day. This time was a bit different.

About thirty minutes before they were ready, I decided to head over there. The apartment was quiet without them, and I thought they might have been ready sooner. When I walked into the salon, I was greeted by a slightly irritated groomer. I don’t remember her name. It’s not really important at this point. She told me that Jack had stressed out when she tried to do his nails. She stated that he tried to bite her and proceeded to poop all over the table. I must have walked in right after she finished cleaning up because she looked upset. She pointed out that Jack was still attached to the table, and asked that I leave so that she could finish his head. She said that she didn’t want him to look at me while she was trying to cut around the head.

A little shocked, I agreed to walk out and let her finish. I was concerned that he would have done something like that because it is so out of character for this friendly little ball of fluff. About another ten minutes go by and I decide I can’t wait anymore. I walk back in the salon, and I am told they are ready. Jack was leashed up and ready to go so the groomer gave him to me while she went to go get Oliver. I apologized for Jack freaking out, citing that that was out of character for him. She, along with the other two groomers in the room, said that dogs sometimes have bad days. It happens. I said that Jack doesn’t have bad days, but they kept implying he was just not in a good mood.

While the groomer was in the back, I kept looking at Jack’s face, and I noticed there was something odd about his right eye. I picked him up and carefully opened his eye a bit more with my fingers. There was a blood pocket forming along the top of his eye. The groomer brought Oliver out, talking about how good of a boy he was. I pointed out his eye and was told that their eyes get red when they get stressed out.I told them that this was not a red eye, it was a blood pocket. All three of the groomers acted like they had not seen it until I pointed it out, and had no idea how that could have happened.

Looking back at it, that seems like a bit of a cover up. I mean, if I noticed it almost immediately, surely they had noticed it. I decided that I would step next door to Banfield, the Petsmart vet, to try to get his eye checked. I was told that the vet had no appointments, and I started to stress out a bit. I had to know what was wrong with my dog.

I went up to the register, paid for Oliver’s grooming (Jack was comped) and I walked out. I called one local vet that typically took walk ins, but they said that they didn’t have the equipment, and recommend that I call their normal vet. Which I did. Their standard vet did not have any appointments available until Friday. So I grabbed the appointment and figured that I would just be mindful of any changes.

We come home, get all set for the evening, and I decide to play some World of Warcraft with my friends. At about eight or nine o’clock that evening, Jack’s eye has completely turned red with blood.

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It’s a little hard to tell, but I think you can see the blood. His eye was swollen, and he had a bit of clear discharge, like tears. I decided that I couldn’t wait any more and took Jack to a twenty-four hour emergency vet.

The vet did a full check of his eye, and came back with a horrible diagnosis. My dog had been strangled. The vet assumed that he did it to himself while he was stressing out, but he was still strangled. His neck was also swollen from the leash tightening around his neck. The damage to Jack’s eye is only in the white part of the eye, and he has no other issues. He can still see and his sight has not been damaged.

Petsmart has paid for the cost of the vet bill, on top of refunding Jack’s grooming cost, and I am thankful for that. However, I am not happy that this happened to begin with. I am not happy that it was allowed to get to that point. If Jack were having a bad day, they should not have finished grooming him. I should have been called immediately. They should not have blamed him for being bad, as they did, but been apologetic for not calling me sooner.

I wanted to write this, not to shame Petsmart, but to warn other pet parents. The manager that handled this whole situation, who was actually incredibly nice, said that she hoped they hadn’t lost our business by this situation, and that the groomer was being reprimanded. Honestly, I will never step foot in a Petsmart again. I am completely devastated by the conduct of the groomers in that situation. My dog could have died, and all the groomers could do was blame him for his behavior. The groomer that was handling him should be fired. I am not always the person that calls for someones head, because I know that find a job can be hard, but this was animal abuse. My dog was in her care and she betrayed him.

I am mad at myself for putting him in that situation, and almost let her get away with putting the blame back on Jack. I almost didn’t say anything to them. But why? I was not at fault, Jack was not at fault. I am writing this in hopes of warning others before dropping their pets off. From now on, we will be using a groomer that works in a vet’s office. Plain and simple.

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About Maegan Provan

I am an indie author and proud of it. I try to update as much as humanly possible, but I'm a busy bee.

Posted on June 17, 2016, in Journal, Random Stuff, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This story is so disturbing. I haven’t taken my dog to be groomed because I don’t want to drop her off. She gets very skittish at the vet having her ears cleaned, so I know she wouldn’t react well at the groomers. After reading this post, I’m definitely going to find an alternative to the big pet stores. Or I’ll continue to groom my dog at home. It makes me sick to think your poor dog was strangled. I can’t imagine how upset you must be. I’m upset for you.

  2. Hello Meagan– I am very sorry for what happened to Jack at PetSmart. We entrust our pets with groomers and then are shocked when horrible injuries or death occurs. I took my 5-year-old poodle Duke to be groomed at our own veterinary clinic. The veterinarian called me three hours later to say “Duke is dead. Come get him.” A necropsy showed that he had died of blunt force trauma from being hit in the abdomen by the groomer. I have developed a website groomingsafety.com and a blog petgroomingsafety.com to make people aware of the risks associated with pet grooming. I give helpful tips about how to research a groomer and ask professional groomers to give their advice to pet owners. I would very much like to share your story on my blog as it is so important for people to realize what can happen at while our pets are being groomed. Please know that a groomer at a veterinary clinic is not guaranteed to be safe. The groomer who killed Duke at our veterinary clinic had previously caused severe brain damage to a Maltese 6 months earlier which I was not told about until our court case a couple years later. The groomer had hit the Maltese so hard on his head with a comb that the Maltese was never the same again. The groomer continues to work at the veterinary clinic despite these two events. Please e-mail me at LBES888@yahoo.com if I may use your story and the photo of Jack. Thank you very much. I am so pleased that Jack is recovering well.

    • Lisa, please feel free to share this story. I appreciate you asking. I am so sorry for your loss. That is horrible. Jack is back to normal for the most part, fortunately. I will never step foot in a Petsmart again.

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