I made an appointment with Dirk Last November and I had no idea what to expect. I have two dogs who dread the entire grooming experience- they hate leaving home and being "abandoned", they hate being brushed, they absolutely hate getting their nails clipped and ears cleaned, they don't enjoy any part of the bathing/drying process and they don't care about smelling good. In fact, they seem to prefer smelling badly, as they like to wade in the horse paddock , roll in the compost pile, pick up the smell of horse manure and drag it into our house. Lovely.
So, when I saw Dirk's mention on the Lyme Listserv, I thought it was worth a try. After all, this eliminated two of the things they hated- leaving home and sitting in a grooming cage for two hours. Dirk arrived and knocked at the door, immediately triggering the ferocious barking of my cowardly dogs. He is a very tall, thin framed man and I was unsure of how my dogs would accept a male groomer, but Dirk immediately knew how to approach my dogs. (As an aside, I have rescue mix breed dog, Eddie, who appears to have Belgian Shepherd and Aussie somewhere in his genetic background. Eddie can be a very suspicious dog who does not make new friends easily. And, then there is Elvis. Elvis is a 17 year old, toy poodle who does not accept his genetic make up. He thinks he is a Great Dane/Aussie and dreams of the days when he actually herded cattle in Steamboat Springs, CO. He is tough as nails.)
Dirk gave each dog his space and the respect they needed to immediately welcome him into the house. He spoke softly, he moved slowly and he quietly set up his equipment- all the while circling back to pet and talk to the animals. I was immediately impressed with his demeanor and happy that this initial visit was going so well. The process took time. Three and a half hours in my home- both dogs stayed close by each other, but Eddie slept while Elvis was groomed- a good indication that there was nothing threatening going on and a great reflection on Dirk as a groomer. Now, I won't say that either dog enjoyed the process. They didn't. I was close by and would wander in and out ( doing laundry, reading emails in my office, etc.) and Elvis was no doubt squirming when his nails were trimmed. But, Dirk was soothing him all the while with his voice and would pick him up and hug him periodically to reassure him that everything was gonna be ok. Eddie stood on the table while Dirk brushed out his thick, downy fur and made him oh-so-handsome. No whining. No barking.
I did not opt to have either dog washed with his indoor machine. I wanted to minimize traumatic parts to the experience on the initial visit. I was, nevertheless, pleased with the result. Two dogs, groomed, trimmed, cleaned up all with a marginal amount of stress. Happy, tail wagging dogs. And, I did not have to leave my house; I was able to get things accomplished at home; After the introduction to Dirk, I was never worried about my dogs or their experience; I was able to be there and be a part of it to help reassure them. And, yes, I scheduled Dirk again in January and had the same, reassuring experience. He's a keeper.
Check out Eddie's proud selfie. You can see he is handsome. Thank you Dirk!
Oh, and Elvis loves Dirk, too. He is just not as good with an Iphone camera.