Bella, Cassie Ann


Let me start by saying that we own a mobile grooming business and this story is about one of our customer’s pup. Bella was about nine years old and has made a complete turn around as far as her grooming goes. Cindy, my wife, is the groomer and I bathe the dogs and take care of most of the mechanical problems with the van and I’m responsible for getting the servicing completed that is required.

When Cindy first started grooming Bella, she would always try to bite when it came to getting nails clipped and ears cleaned. We would have to muzzle her to get that done. Apparently, something bad happened to her before we started grooming her and she thought we were going to do the same thing to her. Bella’s parents said she just hated going to a groom shop and was afraid we were going to have trouble with her too.

I think it took about a year to get her turned around to the point that she didn’t need a muzzle for her nails and ears. As a matter of fact, it got to the point where she was really excited to see us coming to groom her. I think a lot of it was Cindy’s doing and the treats she would get when we would finish her nails. On the way from the front door to the van, she would pull Cindy down the driveway because she was so anxious to get to the van. Cindy’s practice of heaping praise on her when we could get one foot done (along with a bit of a treat) seemed to do the trick.

Last Thursday, we had an appointment to groom Bella and when we called we were told that Bella had been sick and didn’t know if she was up to getting groomed. Cindy said we would drop by and if Bella showed her usual happiness to see us that it shouldn’t be a problem but she would make the decision on how Bella acted when we got there. She had a habit of going ‘nutso’ when she knew Cindy was at the door.

When we got to the house, Cindy rang the doorbell and was let into the house. Bella was at the door and I could see from the van that she didn’t act normally. She jumped up on Cindy’s leg greeting her as usual but it just wasn’t the same. Cindy sat in the floor because Bella was crying so she crawled onto Cindy’s lap for some kissing and cuddling. Cindy was told Bella was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in her pancreas. She was on an IV for 24 hours at the vet’s office and released with antibiotics. Cindy told me Bella had lost a lot of weight because she didn’t eat and I’m not sure how long that had been going on. Bella’s mom told Cindy they found their little boy on his hands and knees halfway into Bella’s crate crying and begging Bella not to die. Cindy was really upset about the news and called our vet to get more information and a second opinion, as such. We called again Friday to see how Bella was doing and was told she seemed to be getting better since our visit but was really disappointed that we didn’t take her to the van. She wanted a treat, you see.

We called our vet and was told that Bella’s condition was not rare with Schnauzers and she really should have been on an IV for at least three days up to a couple of weeks to give the pancreas a chance to recover. We were also told that if it wasn’t aggressively treated, it could be fatal. We called the customers and told them our vet would be in the office Saturday morning and would be more than happy to take a look at Bella. I’m sure he would have immediately put her on IV from the way he talked. They couldn’t take Bella to our vet because the husband had to be at work and the wife had stomach flu. We talked about taking Bella to our vet since they couldn’t but we had a full day’s worth of appointments Saturday and with the holiday schedule, we couldn’t find a place to put other customers that would miss their appointment while we were at the vet with Bella. I also think there was a false sense of security when Bella acted like she was feeling better after our Thursday visit.

We finished our last groom Saturday at 7:00 pm and decided it was too late to stop by Bella’s house to see how she was doing. Besides, next Wednesday we are grooming a neighbor’s dog across the street. We decided that we would check on Bella after that. t would be more practical anyway as we were nowhere near Bella’s at the end of the day Saturday.

Sunday morning, Cindy checked the business phone and there was a voicemail from our customer’s mother (we groom her Schnauzer too. Bella’s brother Tugger). She told us Bella had passed about 5:00 pm Saturday evening. I was at the computer doing the closeout for the week and paperwork for the deposit. I was stunned when Cindy told me the news and we both cried. We are suffering with the guilt of inaction as is Bella’s mom. Saying that, Bella’s mom shouldn’t be as she was taking advice from her vet and she was aware of the seriousness of Bella’s condition. Our vet couldn’t do anything until they approached him. I guess there is some professional protocol in play there.

It’s really hard not to get attached to our customers and their pets. Some are like they are our own because we’ve known and groomed some of them since they were puppies and have never known another groomer. We have our favorites, of course, but it’s still hard getting calls from any of our customers with that kind of news.

We have three pups of our own (a French mastiff and two Aussie cattle dogs) and others that have passed but even though it’s been almost six years, I still hesitate to write about Cassie Ann because I tear up and Cindy is even worse about it than I am. I didn’t know Cassie Ann that long but still got attached very quickly. She was a bull mastiff.

I know Bella is in a better place romping in high clover with our other little friends that have passed. Rest in peace sweet Bella. We loved you like parents.

Ken from CO