A week ago the pet parent community in Mumbai was outraged and angry. Angry that a fellow pet parent had lost a dog. The dog died at the hands of an untrained groomer at a local pet grooming salon.
The outrage and anger were justified, institutions that deal with our pets and kids must be held to a higher standard. These are our most vulnerable members of society and it is our job to make sure they’re protected. Our go to for every life tragedy social media was abuzz with calls for justice and the groomer to be shut down. All these reactions are valid and required, but as we stated on our social media channels – take a breath. Introspect and lets understand how this happen, instead of frothing at the mouth for two days and falling silent.
We could not deep dive into our concerns for today’s pets on an Instagram or Facebook post. Present day pet care has become a labyrinth of services and professionals/ specialists. Dog walkers, pet groomers, boarding facilities, all available at the click of a mouse or the download of an app.
These inventions are fantastic add ons for pet parents who lead busy lives. At its core pet ownership and care is a 24/7 job. Raising pets is harder than bringing up kids. Before you become outraged, consider this- kids mature and reach an age of independence relatively soon. An average child by the age of 6 or 8 is able to perform basic actions on its own. They can (or should be able to ) feed themselves, and with some help clothe themselves. The puppy you bring home as he or she matures, will NEVER be able to perform the simple task of feeding itself without your help. Think about that when you decide to bring an animal into the house.
Getting back to our outrage over the dog who lost his life at a grooming salon. He died needlessly at the hands of an unscrupulous untrained worker. Blame here lies equally on the shoulders of the establishment’s owner and worker. Now bear with us when we say, some blame lies on the shoulders of the dog owner. It is your responsibility as a pet parent to scrutinise any and every service or product you use. If your dog is unhappy with a groomer or walker, they cannot verbalise, they can only demonstrate to you in body language. Does the outcome justify insufficient scrutiny of a service? NO. The outcome is tragic for pet and pet parent, it is apparent this dog suffered before he died.
Pet Services Explode
The explosion of pet services, is encouraged by google searches of “pet groomer near me” or “pet boarding near me. This makes us enablers of mediocre services. Pet services and businesses are not solely lucrative avenues of earning. If they are, something is amiss in the service or the products they offer. Pet care is a responsibility of parents and service providers. If you do not see credentials when you enter a pet professional, leave. Do not be embarrassed to ask questions, you should be demanding answers. If you do not like the tone of replies, leave, or verify the quality of service with your fellow pet parents.
Dog grooming centers must be held to higher standards than all other pet services. We’re not venturing to include veterinary services.
Grooming salons are not merely places for your dog to get a ‘hair trim’ and bows in their ‘hair”. A qualified ethical groomer has studied their craft and will never stress your dog in your process. Groomers are not just ‘doggie hairdressers’, they are trained professionals who understand dog behaviour and body language. If you see any member of the staff use the slightest force on an animal, at a grooming salon, walk out, you are in the wrong place.
Pet boarding near me, is not an acceptable way to find boarding facilities. More alarming is “cheap pet boarding” or ‘reasonably priced” pet boarding. You’ve lowered your standards before you arrive at your destination. Professionally run pet boarding facilities, have, or should have a behaviourist on their advisory board. Boarding kennels must be constructed to allow a specific flow of movement, dog on dog or cat on cat contact should be minimal. Entry and exit points are not common, daily cleaning and feeding routines must be strictly followed and posted for clients to view. Open plan boarding facilities, unless accompanied by highly qualified and trained staff are dangerous. Consider your dog or cat fending for itself alone in a new facility around 8 or 9 unknown animals. These are recipes for disasters, hoping they will never occur is not a rational way to approach the situation.
You don’t drop your child off to school and hope they are not beaten up, you demand it. Demand perfection of a pet service you choose because the cost of a mistake it too high.