Dear Pasadena Petco,
RE: Complaint - Falkor (Groomed 07/09/09)
I went into your Petco today, the same one where I adopted/rescued my puppy Falkor. I called in a couple of times and spoke to one of your groomers Paula, who told me of this special deal you give puppies during their first groom at Petco. I was given instructions to bring my vaccination certificate, rabies certificate, and my Petco P.A.L.S. card. It would only cost $22 for the groom with an additional $11 for a haircut.
Falkor was an abandoned puppy that we rescued two and a half weeks ago. She was spayed eleven days ago. The vet told us that she would be fine for a bath and grooming 7-10 days after her spay, so today was the day we were going to get her groomed. We were excited to take her in for her first fresh haircut and groom.
My friend and I dropped her off at your store around 1 P.M. to Paula. She told me that she had a lot of dogs ahead of Falkor and that it would take awhile. I asked if it would be around 3:00, the time she was supposed to be done with work for the day. She informed me that she was off of work at 3:30 but she wasn't going to be done by that time due to her work load. She said she would call me when the grooming was done. That was understandable. So I went off, and decided at 4 P.M. after not hearing from anyone to return to your store and just wait in the grooming salon while reading a magazine or something.
When we walked in, I noticed fur on the ground that looked like Falkor's. "Maybe she is finished!", I thought. Paula confirmed my observation, printed out the paper I had to take to the register to pay for the services. I stood there, waiting for my puppy - but when she continued to clean, I asked "Do I have to pay for this first before I get my dog?" She was obviously tired, having worked longer than her shift. She confirmed that that was indeed what I have to do. (How was I supposed to know this? Obviously I got "Puppy's first groom" you would think this was my first time.)
I went to the register and paid for the groom, and then I awaited the store manager, Jessica, at the time so that I could get change to tip Paula for grooming our puppy. Jessica informed me that she had no change for a $20 at this time and that the groomer likely had change. I went back into the grooming salon.
Paula had my puppy in her hands. I didn't notice at first, until she showed me that she nicked my puppy in the nipple. Falkor was bleeding. I was in shock. I didn't know what to do or think. Paula informed me that she didn't know Falkor's nipples went up so high, she said that my puppy was afraid of the clippers and that she squirmed. She said Falkor didn't act like she was cut, she was going to bring Falkor next door to Vetco so that they can make sure she's okay. I couldn't process the information as fast as it was being given to me. I just nodded and followed her.
My puppy disappeared into Vetco. Paula and Jessica explained to me that the veterinarian was going to take care of her, I felt so helpless and though I'm not the type to get emotional in public, I couldn't help but to cry. I took my puppy in for her first groom and now I'm in a waiting room while she gets medical treatment? A few minutes passed, and Jessica refunded me for the groom. (Which I appreciate, and I also appreciate Petco covering the Vet fees - thank you but I think these gestures go without saying.) She said that Paula was the head groomer, and that she's very good. I looked at her baffled, gestured towards "Vetco" and expressed my disagreement saying 'apparently not.' A few more minutes passed, and they told me she wasn't going to get stitches. A few more minutes passed and I was asked to sign a form for the vet. They asked me to come back in on Sunday so they could make sure everything is healing okay.
After half an hour my puppy came out bandaged, I was handed antibiotics and pain killers. The veterinarian told me that she lost 1/3 the nipple that was cut. I was instructed to give her half of a pain killer tablet every 12 hours for 5 days, and one antibiotic tablet every 12 hours for 5 days but not when to start. Tonight? Tomorrow? While she was at the vet, did they give her one of each? I was too distraught to think to ask at the time, and by the time I got home and called the vet, they were closed. I called your store, which is attached to the vet, and they couldn't give me any after-hours number and informed me that no one in the store had any numbers for any of the Vetco staff. Don't you think this would be helpful information to have?
I understand that this was an accident and that small cuts might happen from time to time and that animal owners often act like over-protective parents. I don't disagree that this is unlike how I acted today. However, I don't appreciate that no one apologized to me. As one of the leading pet stores, I expect your employees to be sympathetic with all pet owners. Especially when something like this happens to first time puppy owners like me. You have to understand that if this is a occurrence that you see regularly, that doesn't mean it is one that I experience often, or in this case - ever before.
Since you offer "first time grooms" for puppies, I also expect your "head groomer" to have better experience in handling puppies who are frightened by the sound of clippers. Since she was working overtime, perhaps she was tired and not taking as much care by the time she groomed my puppy? I would have understood if the day was booked up and would have found another time to come in. Secondly, If your employees felt I was overreacting, perhaps they should be trained to try to comfort customers instead of trying to stifle their slight giggles in front of me. A little bit of sympathy and understanding would have gone a long way for me today.
My puppy was a rescue, who just had surgery eleven days ago. I don't know what she went through before we adopted her, but the last thing I want (and I imagine any pet owner feels the same) is my puppy to endure any more pain. I feel that since all this happened at the end of everyone's work day, no one really had the capacity to care about what my puppy or I was going through. And at the very least, I expect more customer service from a company that I've supported for years. (I've had a cat for a few years before adopting my puppy.)
Lastly, after all this, my puppy's haircut is vastly uneven.
You can say that I am thoroughly disappointed and that I will do my best to avoid supporting your company, and your store in particular.
Addendum: My puppy seems to be exhausted, but all in all she's okay. I realize that a corporate store might night care much, but as a pet owner - I can't just let this slide. Before this, I was a fan of Petco - but this is a deal-breaker for sure. This is the sort of thing I'd want to read on when considering taking my pet somewhere. And, if anything - I hope that this will leave Petco, at the very least *that* Petco, a little more sensitive to their customers, and their groomers more cautious when handling pets.
*We took better pictures of the puppy to accompany the letter.