Worst Pet Grooming Experience

Ever received a phone call from school telling you to bring your child home because he / she is disrupting class? Well, I did, of sorts. Just that mine comes in the form of a fur kid. But I guess the sense of dejection felt was as real as any parent would have experienced.

Bear in mind that the review you are about to read is based purely on our personal experience (albeit a really really poor one) and observation.

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As our usual groomer was fully booked for the weekend, I called (in the hopes) to make a last minute appointment with The Grooming Table and was surprised and grateful that I could get a spot! On the same day as Momo (my brother’s poodle) no less! Though I was a bit concerned as there wasn’t many pictures of Dachshunds on their Facebook, but since the reviews are good, why not give it a shot?

It was a long journey from the extreme east of Singapore to 55 Lengkok Bahru. I didn’t mind because I’ll do literally ANYTHING for the kids. 🙂

On the day that we were there, the salon looked nothing like the picture on Facebook or their webpage. Maybe that was an outdated picture from when they just opened, and their furniture had clearly been re-arranged. But what I couldn’t stand was the dust on their retail shelves and racks, and even on some of their products and supplies. Maybe business was brisk (a happy problem for them), but I have sinus problems. Didn’t take long for the sniffles to start. The shop is not air-conditioned, probably good as it discourages pet owners to wait around and hinder the groomers at work.

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Photo from their Facebook

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Reality

We didn’t see any open concept spaces where dogs can roam and wait after grooming. However, there was a room and some cages stacked along the side of the wall leading to the grooming studio. It isn’t exactly an open concept salon. The only place you could view was through windows on the front and side of the studio, with the front windows along the common walkway at the void deck. The windows on the front are great for pet owners to look in from, but with so many human beings passing through and peering in in close approximity, we’re not sure if it will be distracting to some dogs because there are a few grooming counters lined just along the window.

Stoked to visit a new groomer but Petra and Mila were feeling otherwise. Mila kept barking and the groomer started to advise me on training sessions which I’ve mentioned she’s already on it, and we’ve even gone to the extent of engaging an animal communicator. Truth be told, I’m not the most disciplined dog owner. I am training myself to train the dogs.

Settled the dogs and they were brought into the grooming studio. They had 2 wall-to-wall glass panels where owners can view their pooches get groomed. In our case, we only stayed to watch for a wee bit just in case my dogs start having separation anxiety.

Just as we reached the carpark, that’s when I received THE CALL from the groomers, saying that my dogs can’t stay till 4pm because they are affecting the other dogs in the shop. I mean, I wouldn’t want other dogs affecting my dogs in this situation as well. But then I thought, it’s barely 15 mins since we left the shop; had my dogs been given enough time to get accustomed to the new place and groomer?

Well, one of the reason (other than Momo) that attracted us to try out The Grooming Table was the fact that they are the only certified Low Stress Handling grooming salon in Singapore. Petra and Mila have separation anxiety issues, and as a conscientious dog owner, I thought it was only right to send them someplace where certified groomers are able to handle them, hoping to give them a more ‘pawsitive’ experience.

 photo Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 6.01.14 PM_zps7raxywmh.png So far, so good blah

I spent the next two hours mulling about that phone call over lunch. What started off as a great day wasn’t that pawfect anymore. But nonetheless, we were more than happy to pick the dogs up earlier. (Humans experience separation anxiety too ya know!)

We were a little earlier than expected and decided to sneak a peek at Petra and Mila. We knew almost instantly that that was a bad decision because it set them off on a barking and whining fest. We tried to shush them through the viewing panels, and of course that didn’t help a single bit. We got shoo-ed off in the end. We don’t blame the female groomer for shoo-ing us away, but as paying customers, we deserve basic courtesy. We know it’s challenging grooming anxious dogs, but if frustration is written all over your face, it doesn’t give me the confidence that you are handling my dogs right.

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We decided to wait a distance outside the salon for them to be done with grooming. Then we heard what sounded like a loud slamming sound and the male groomer letting out a loud and frustrating cry. Clearly the dogs were still barking at that point of time. And if that was his way of calming the dogs down, I would ask him to go back to school where he came from. What happened to the concept of Low Stress Handling? It seems more ‘low-balled’ to me.

Not wanting to aggravate the situation, we continued waiting outside for them. I have not felt so stressed out by a grooming session before. It was a sigh of relief when we finally had Petra and Mila in our arms, although the male groomer didn’t seemed too pleased when he passed Petra to me.

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Petra and Mila looked ok after the grooming session and the female groomer did mention that they have taken off quite a fair bit of undercoat for Petra. And as with their usual grooming sessions, I would always inspect their tail, and my heart sank when I saw that the end of Petra’s tail had a straight cut. The shape and flow of his tail was ruined, at least for a couple of months… she mentioned that there was too much fur so she had to cut it off. It didn’t make sense to me at all. He’s always had a luscious tail and his previous groomers have always been able to maintain the shape of the tail. Thankfully Mila’s looked fine, and she was happy as a bird, nestling in the arms of H.

So I paid and said our thanks and last goodbyes. At this point, my brother and sis-in-law came to drop Momo off for grooming! Of cos my dogs were happy, looking at the leaked puddles all over the ground! Haha. While Momo enjoyed his poodle-styled pampering, we brought Petra and Mila to HortPark for a well-deserved walk!

Finally it was time to pick Momo up! So we all had to go together right? A family that plays together, sticks together! Including our dogs! They’re practically cousins!

As my brother returned to the car with my handsome “nephew”, he said the groomer gave him some friendly advice for the well-being of Momo. She advised that they minimize the socializing between Momo and Mila just in case he picks up the bad habit of barking excessively.

Mila was still a puppy then, and socializing her (correctly) with other dogs is something that’s on her training curriculum. I’m sure as pet owners, we will correct any unwanted behaviors from our dogs as soon as we see them. But depriving Mila of any chances of socializing is not going to address the root problem. I can’t keep my dog at home just because she’s more vocal than the rest. Are you going to withdraw your child from school because he / she is disrupting classes?

I’m glad we are still socializing Mila often with Momo and other dogs. It’s tough to correct her, but we believe that proper guidance and having patience is the only way to go. I’m convinced it will work better than having any certifications.

In fact, Momo had a two-week staycation with Petra and Mila while his pawrents frolicked in NYC! Momo and Mila built a bond so strong, it was beyond us. They loved playing with each other. (Petra is often left out!) Maybe it was the fact that both of them joined our family on the exact same day – 13 August 2016.

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Two weeks later, Momo went home a happy boy. And when I asked my brother if Momo had been barky, he said Momo is still as meek as a mouse at home.

I’m glad we proved the advice wrong.

As for me and my dogs, we’re sticking to Sopra Ginza as we feel that the Japanese groomers are more patient with Petra and Mila. We all know that the Japanese have impeccable customer service, but it’s more than that. Petra and Mila are less anxious there, and with a bigger, cleaner and open concept space, it’s a consolation to know that your beloved dogs are playing / resting in a proper pen instead of a cage.

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