UPDATE, 12/16/11: Please see Why I WILL Take My Pets to Pet Haven Vet Clinic.
UPDATE, 12/13/11: I have learned that there may be no financial connection between Pet Haven grooming and Pet Haven Veterinary Clinic. I will be investigating this, and will write another post if warranted. As stated in the original post, I've always been very pleased with the treatment my pets have received at the veterinary clinic, and I would be thrilled to continue using their services. However, a shared name, building, and even a communicating hallway implies some sort of relationship, and I need to understand exactly what that relationship is. I will be visiting the vet clinic either this Friday or early next week, and will update here or write a new blog post as warranted.
On Saturday, December 10, 2011, I stopped in at Pet Haven, a pet supply store in northwest Wichita. Although I've shopped for supplies and used their veterinary service for years and been pleased with the compassion their veterinarians show my pets, I've always known I would never take any animal of mine there for grooming. Diana Thompson, the owner who does most of the grooming, is just a little too rough with the dogs on her table. She tends to jerk them around by the leads around their necks, and I've seen her leave a dog on the table while she wanders off to have a snack. Ms. Thompson's grooming staff is none too gentle, either. I regret that in the past I've blown off the behavior I've seen. The location was just too convenient for running in to grab a sack of food or a cat toy. But after Saturday, I'm finished with Pet Haven entirely.
When I went in on Saturday morning, Ms. Thompson had a dog on the grooming table who wasn't cooperating to her satisfaction. The dog was trying to turn away and crouch low to the table to avoid her. She repeatedly used the lead around the dog's neck to yank the dog around to face her and then into a standing position, all while yelling over and over, "Stop it!" and "Stand up!" Ms. Thompson appeared to think that if she could just yell loud enough, the dog would miraculously understand the English language and be able to respond exactly as she wanted. She doesn't seem to be aware that it's particularly easy to injure a dog's neck, let alone that dogs are sentient creatures who think and feel. This dog was clearly feeling terror and pain.
Since Ms. Thompson has her grooming tables set up out in the open and was behaving in this manner in front of me and other customers, she apparently thinks that this is a normal, acceptable way to treat an animal. However, I consider her actions abusive and entirely unacceptable--and, frankly, nauseating--so I put my purchase on the counter and left. I wish I could've done something for the dog she had on the table. I won't shop there again, and I'm searching for a new veterinarian. I'll make the drive out to All Paws Pet Center for food and supplies and Brewster already gets his grooming at Rags to Ribbons in Valley Center.
This is not a personal vendetta against Ms. Thompson. I've never interacted with her other than to make purchases in her shop, and those encounters have always been amiable. (At least until Saturday, when I put my intended purchase on the counter and said in a remarkably calm voice, "I can buy this someplace else." As I walked away, she or another staff member hissed--yes, hissed--at my back.) I'm not condemning the products she sells, which I've always found to be of acceptable quality, or the veterinary care provided next door, which I've always found to be compassionate and competent.
But Pet Haven is hardly a "haven" for Ms. Thompson's grooming clients, and I will not use any of their services anymore.