As a professional pet groomer, we are exposed to all kinds of health hazards. Being bitten by an uncooperative dog or cat is a part of the profession. A competent pet care specialist can do a lot to avoid injury. The better you understand canine and feline body language, the less likely you are to be bitten. However, when the inevitable happens, here’s a handy trick you can use.
I learned this tactic a long time ago. Sandra Lemire taught it to me. Sandy was the original founder of the Coat Handler product line. She’s spent a lifetime studying natural science as it applied to her family’s health and all the animals she had raised. This tip has served me well over the years. I have used it repeatedly, regardless of whether injury was sustained in the pet care field or not. It works whenever redness develops around an injury site.
A number of years ago my husband and I were on vacation on my dad’s boat in the Bahamas. The last night of our trip, my husband tripped over a step, slamming his elbow on the dining room table. Being a tough guy, he got himself up and thought nothing of it. He went to bed without mentioning the incident to any of us.
The following morning we were packing our bags. As my husband was headed up the companionway from the main cabin, I noticed his elbow looked swollen and red. “What happened your arm?” I asked him. Upon further inspection, it was truly red and swollen. After years of being a close friend with Sandy, I knew I should be worried. I pulled a black Sharpie marker off the nav station. I quickly outlined the redness on his elbow.
By the time we flew from the Bahamas to Miami, the redness had expanded an inch beyond my black Sharpie outline. I called our personal doctor’s office and explained the situation. They asked us when our flight was due in home in Michigan. I told them that evening. They were adamant!! Go directly to the hospital! Do not stop for anything! Do not stop to get food! Do not stop at your home first! He needs to get to the emergency room immediately!
Even though this was not an open wound — a blood infection had set it. It needed immediate treatment so my husband did not end up in a life-threatening situation. As soon as we arrived at the hospital they whisked him in for treatment. The redness had expanded inches beyond the original black Sharpie line. That black outline was an immediate indicator of how serious the situation has become. They ran all sorts of test. They x-rayed his elbow. And they started him on a heavy dose of antibiotics intravenously.
Ten hours later he was released from hospital with more antibiotics and a follow-up appointment with our local doctor. He was lucky. Sandy had taught me redness around an injury site should be closely monitored. Due to quickly identifying the potential risk, we were able to avoid a long term hospital stay for my husband.
Outlining the area with a simple black Sharpie marker is an extremely effective monitor. If the redness expands outside the black outline at a rapid pace — it’s imperative that you seek professional medical attention quickly.
Most of the time when I use this trick, it’s with injuries inflicted by dogs or cats. Puncture wounds are typically the most critical to pay attention to — especially if it came from a feline.
I don’t know any groomer or stylist that does not adore animals. That’s the whole reason we get in this profession. Unfortunately, getting bitten by our four legged friends just goes with the territory.
To ensure you minimize long-term and/or serious health consequences — always take any injury seriously. Your hands are your livelihood. And keep a black Sharpie marker handy at all times!