I firmly believe that how a mistake is handled is often more important than the mistake, itself. As a Pomeranian puppy, Desi was the victim of a horrifying grooming accident. Unfortunately, the mistake was not handled as it should have been.
Patty left the house with Desi and his older sister, Jack Russell Terrier Lucy. Both dogs walked to the car. She set off to drop the duo off at their regular groomer for their usual service. Soon after, Patty received a call stating that Desi's foot was tender and they couldn't groom him. She turned around, and when she arrived back at the groomer, Desi was sitting on the counter with his leg dangling, whimpering. She left Lucy at the groomer and rushed Desi to the vet.
The vet determined through x-rays that Desi had a broken leg. Patty thought "this is impossible. He walked to car. He was in no pain."
When Patty went back to the groomer to pick up Lucy, they blamed her for Desi's broken leg and charged her for Lucy's grooming. Patty remembered "the owner said it was my fault and that the leg was already broken." She knew that was impossible. She knew something happened at the groomer. Patty said that she would have appreciated the truth. "What he doesn't know is that if he had just been honest, I would have understood. I know these dogs are fragile. But to blame me and then charge me for the other dog was more than I could take."
Patty and her family explored all the options for Desi. The break was in a difficult spot, and it was severe.
Option one: Surgery that was not likely to work. And it was costly–nearly five thousand dollars.
Option two: Amputation.
With great sadness and anger, they opted for the latter.
The initial recovery was rough, and it took Desi some practice to get used to his new three-legged status. Patty remembers, "when we first brought him home, he lifted his leg to pee and fell over, but he learned quite quickly that he couldn't do that."
I've taken care of a handful of handi-capable three-leggers, and they can often outrun their siblings. Dogs are so adaptable, and Desi is no exception. We should all take a lesson from him. Patty says "Desi is doing really well now. He has trouble on hardwood floors, but can run and chase Lucy on grass and carpet...he can't take very long walks, but he barks at all dogs outside and thinks he is a bad-ass."
Just as it should be.
Though it's of secondary importance, I asked Patty if they ever recouped any costs. "No. We didn't recoup any costs. And it wasn't worth suing," Patty said. Instead, she spreads the word about what the groomer did, the only recourse she has. And not because of Desi's broken leg as much as because they didn't care. And they lied and tried to cover up an unfortunate–yet understandable–mistake. That is unacceptable.
So what's the lesson, here? It's not that groomers are bad or that we should feel sorry for Desi. To me, it's simply that honesty is the best route. Taking the high road is the best choice. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Had the groomer been honest, Patty and her family could have been spared a large portion of their emotional pain. A good groomer...hell, a good person doesn't pretend they are perfect. A good person holds themselves accountable for their mistakes and makes it as right as they can. It's a shame that this groomer chose the low road.