Sunday, March 15, 2009

Remember To Thank Your Aunt Jean

Michael and I met Jean about five years ago when we first moved to Greensburg. We were in a mad hunt for all sorts of new service providers. You know how it can be when you move into an unfamiliar area, suddenly all the people you relied on are no more and you have to pick through the unfamiliar maze to secure replacements.

Meggie and Yoki were still with us. Meggie was quite the elderly dame at 16. She looked like a stuffed animal that had been loved too hard for way too long. Not unlike the Velveteen Rabbit, she was beautiful to me, but I'm sure most everyone else had to look closely and long before they could see her Princess beauty.

What with moving and all that goes with it, I hadn't groomed Meg in a long time. Oh, let's be honest; I hadn't groomed her because as she got older, keeping her in her Cairn Terrier cut was just too hard on her. She'd squirm and struggle. And, well, what can I say, I caved. I'm not a perfect mother...

By the time we got here, Meggie was really in an unfashionable state for a Princess. We happened to be in the only PetsMart in the area buying food and Michael suggested,"Why don't we stop in the grooming department and ask about getting Meggie done?" I had to pause, (or is that, paws) and consider it. I had never had Meggie professionally groomed; I'd always done it. And, now that she was so old, I was concerned that it would really upset her system. More so, because she was loosing her eyesight and wouldn't really know what was going on, I wasn't keen on the idea. I ticked off these very valid concerns to Michael who said, "Okay, I understand but let's go see anyway."

Trusting him to be less emotionally blinded by it all, I followed him through the door. I asked the receptionist, "Who, here, is the groomer who works best with very old dogs?" Without hesitating she answered, "Oh, that would be Jean!" We asked if she was available to talk. She happened to be between, 'clients' so she came to meet us.

Jeannie is warm, friendly, with kind eyes that sparkle when she talks about her craft. She has that great voice some women smokers develop; a bit of gravel in the sound that makes it husky and pleasant on the ear. She laughs a lot. Smiles even more. And, she knows each of her clients and their parents by first name. She oozes confidence. Even though she's had her fair share of bites and scratches, she loves her job.

We talked about Meggie and her issues and wondered if she would be willing to take her on. She agreed immediately. When we picked up the Princess from her time with Jean, she looked like a new girl. Still old, and mostly blind, but she was clipped, washed, and pampered back into shape. And, more important, she wasn't shaking and scared. I know she felt better. And, she certainly smelled much better. We were delighted!

Not too long after, Meggie said her goodbyes to this world. And, we didn't see Jean again for months. Back in the store for food one day, I said to Michael, "I want to stop in and see Jean." He wasn't sure why but followed. Jean happened to be at the counter and smiled. I said, "Jean, I don't know if you remember us, but you groomed, Meggie, my really old Cairn." She said, "Sure I remember have you been?" I couldn't answer right away. Then quietly, "I wanted to stop by and tell you how much I appreciate your care of her. She was really old and frail, but she seemed perfectly fine with you. And, I didn't want you to think we hadn't been back because we didn't like your work. I wanted you to know that Meggie died a month or so after her visit with you."

And, her response is what has made Jeannie so very memorable for me. Jean didn't say a thing for a long moment but her eyes filled with tears. Then, "Thank you so much for letting me know. I can't believe that you would take the time to come and tell me. But, thank you. I am so sorry for your loss."

We talked for a few more minutes and said our goodbyes.

I couldn't help but be touched. Imagine someone shedding a tear over the loss of a dog she had only met one time! An old smelly dog. And, for demonstrating her understanding of the fact that I had a significant hole in my heart caused by Meg's leaving.

So, when it was time to welcome Rory and Fiona into our lives a year or so later, you know who we wanted to care for them. And, they've been seeing Jean every two or three months since we've had them.

Oh, they don't like it. They shake and get all wound up. But, each time we walk in and Jean greets, "The Kids," as she calls them, I can see the tips of their shaky tails wag in acknowledgment of her voice. How wonderful they look when we come back to get them from their visit with Aunt Jeannie. She single-handedly changes them from Wild Highlanders back into Scotties.

A week or so ago, we got a phone message, "Hi. This message is for Rory and Fiona, not Holly and Michael. Kids, this is Aunt Jean and I think it's time you came to see me soon." Is that a riot? Fi and Boy Dog were searching for the delete button so we wouldn't hear it, but we caught them just in time. I followed up and confirmed; Scotties sighing as I did.

We'll be leaving here shortly to go meet Jean. So, I gotta jet. But not before I acknowledge the work this wonderful woman does. And, remind you to think of the fabulous Jeans in your life. If you get the chance, say thanks to them this week.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

1 comment:

Toni said...

Very cool, very very cool. I personally have never even had a 'Jean' in my life, not doctor or dentist ... but the two main nurses who took care of my oldest after his car accident? yea. They came to see him at our HOUSE 2 months after, just to see how he was doing. Can you imagine? One of them still calls David directly just to say 'wazzup, how's the head?' ... tell Jean how much I would love it if someone like her could be a contagion among human doctors these days!

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