Monday, July 23, 2012

hair of the dog

Several months ago Gabe and Caesar began to lose hair.  When Stevie Wonder checked, he discovered that the expensive flea and tick drops he had been buying and using religiously weren't working.  At all.  There were multiple generations of fleas camped out on the dogs.  Whole villages of fleas.  Whole cities.  Entire nations.

Steve put the drops on every three weeks, instead of four, at the directions of our trusted veterinarian.  And washed them with flea shampoo before he put the drops on, waited the prescribed amount of days, then shampooed them again.

No luck.  They fleas just laughed and waved at Steve, and continued to frolic on the dogs.  And the dogs became phobic every time they saw the leash and dog shampoo on the back porch.

Steve then changed brands of shampoo and drops.  No luck.  Fleas waving, dogs scratching, hair falling out.  Not only were there fleas on the dogs, but the yard was becoming overrun with them too.  Steve sprayed, and threw some stuff out guaranteed to kill the fleas, then wet it down with the hose, which according to the directions on the bag was supposed to activate the poison and clear the yard.  Our yard isn't small by any means, and we were spending a fortune on flea killer that wasn't killing anything but our pocketbook.  I thought things couldn't get any worse.

I was wrong.

I told Stevie Wonder one day that what we needed to do was take the dogs and get them clipped.  SHORT.  We usually do this every summer anyway, so it was kind of a ritual.  In all the attempts at flea killing, I hadn't realized we had missed the spring clip date.  So I went to work one morning while Stevie Wonder loaded the dogs up to take them to the groomer.  It usually costs us about $120 to get three dogs groomed.

I got a call a while later.  From the groomer.  At the vet.  She had noticed a "couple" things on the dogs while she was grooming them, and wondered if I wanted to have the vet look at them while they were there.  My mouth dropped open as I listened to her.  Then I said the only thing I could possibly say to respond to a groomer calling me from the vet's office.

"You better call my husband and ask him what he wants to do."

Then I waited.  About an hour later, Steve called.  I braced myself.

"Uh, honey, the groomer called and told me that there was a spot on Caesar's ear, and one on Biscuit's neck and asked if I wanted to have the vet take a look and I told her ok."

I said nothing.

"Is that ok honey?"

I drew a breath slowly and exhaled.

"I guess it's ok.  Just take it out of my checking account."

I heard nothing else until I got home that evening.  Steve was holding the bill in his hand.  And he was minus one dog.  I asked him what happened and how much it cost for the groomer.

"It was $297 for the groomer."

I just looked at him.  Surely he didn't just tell me the number I thought he told me.

"HOW MUCH?"

"$297.00.  And Caesar has to have surgery on his ear.  He's been flopping it and it filled up with blood, and the vet needs to cut it open and drain it.  So I told him to do it.  And I just paid for the whole thing at the desk."

"How much was it?"

"It was $847.00."

He was telling me that he took three dogs who were supposed to be groomed for $120 into the vet and came away with a bill that was almost $900.  He learned 2 very valuable lessons that day.

1. Never assume all groomers charge the same rate.  It's not a price war out there.
2. When you use a groomer who works in a vet's office, expect the vet will get his cut some way.

At least we have the satisfaction knowing that Caesar's ear is fixed.  Biscuit's neck has been treated and healed (she had a scab on her neck from...you guessed it...fleas).

And I will have to give up my next 47 visits to my hairdresser to compensate for the money we spent on the dogs.

All because we have nations of fleas in our yard.

...life is good.~cath
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