Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Welcome to the Snow

My favorite aspect of the independent grooming shop is the sense of community. I've always believed that grooming should be cooperative -- not simply a service provided but a real partnership that exists to enhance the lives of dogs and cats and the people who love them. I strive to create this in my business, to communicate openly and honestly with my clients, and to share my years of animal care experience with anyone who is willing to listen. My passion comes through in my work, in my words, and in my sometimes off-putting tendency to lecture clients as if they were the merely human custodians of my animals instead of the other way around.

But on a morning like this one, when the winter storms are bearing down and the roads have disappeared under a white blanket, it is a pleasure to call and be called by clients and agree, as a community, that the shop will not be open today. It is official, the referee has called it, it is a Snow Day. Like friends meeting for coffee, the safety of others is a priority. There are no cancellation fees or managers called or policies upheld. There are no excuses, no accusations, no frustrations. The important thing is that everyone is safe and warm. This is the pleasure of owning a small business.

Of course, rescheduling those appointments is going to make the rest of the week difficult, with increased tangles and overbooking and stress. Clients will also be making up for lost time, cranked up and in high gear. Their inconvenient time constraints and the constant phone calls and assorted interruptions as my clientele reboots will slow down the work flow of the shop. And all around, clients and neighbors and strangers on the street will be cursing the snow and the winter and all its trappings for weeks yet to come.

But today is a different kind of day. Today is a day of enforced leisure, meditation, and the easy kind of zen that comes from working hard, building relationships, making decisions and taking responsibility, and then, when the opportunity arises, simply embracing the weather.

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