For twenty-nine years, my job as a pet groomer has given me the chance to share the love of animals and the people that own them, — or more accurately, the people they own. I’ve learned a lot from my clients, both the two-legged and four-legged variety. Being a natural-born know-it-all, I’m only too glad to share this knowledge with anyone within earshot. But once in a while, I am confronted with a question that stops me dead in my tracks and takes every bit of patience and diplomacy a groomer can muster.

Here are my answers to a few such questions:

“No, Mr. DiNucci, your dog won’t bark with a higher pitch if you have him neutered.”

“Yes, Miss DuBois, I know it sounds like a lot of money to groom a cat, but have you ever tried to give your itty bitty kitty a bath?”

“No, Mr. Smith, I don’t really think Hitler is a good name for a German Shepherd.”

“No, Mrs. O’Malley, I don’t think letting the cat have a litter of kittens is the best way to teach your kids about the birds and the bees.”

“Yes, Mrs. Simpson, I know Pierre is crazy about me but I can’t try this sweater on him until he stops doing that to my leg.”

“I’m sure you do have papers, Mrs. Peterson — it’s just that I’ve never seen a 75-pound Lhasa Apso with spots before.”

“Yes, Mrs. Fernandes, I know why you named your Cocker Spaniel Puddles.”

“No, Miss Wolinski, as far as I know there is no rape crisis center for dogs and I don’t think you need to worry about a DNA sample.”

“Yes, Mr. Rooney, I’m sure the whole gang down at the pub thought it would be a nice touch for St. Patrick’s Day, but I’d rather not dye your mother’s poodle green.”

“No, Dr. Stone, I don’t think those hairs on my chest indicate a rare hormonal problem. I’m a dog groomer.”

“Yes, Miss Waters, I think it’s great that you bathe your Chihuahua yourself but we need someone with a little more experience to fill the bather position.”

“No, Mrs. Osgood, it was not a true story and Edward Scissorhands doesn’t work in any grooming shop around here.”

“Yes, Dr. Haffenreffer, your Affenpinscher is ready.”

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