MARYVILLE, Tennessee -- A Tennessee dog owner didn’t know what was wrong with her little Maltese until she looked at the dog’s ears. A little more than a week after going to the groomer, the dog’s ears were black. The vet had to partially amputate them because the circulation had stopped.
For the past several years, "Meggie" has worn bows attached by the groomer.
Up until January, Patricia Self was happy with the groomer she had used for nine years.
But in early January, Self noticed Meggie was acting strange a week after her grooming appointment.
That’s when Self checked Meggie’s ears.
“One of her ears was all matted up and it was real hard. I started looking at her ear then," Self said.
By mid-January, Meggie was at the animal hospital. A doctor said it appeared rubber bands had been put around the dog's ears.
“Instead of just getting them in the hair, they actually got them around the pinna, or the ear flap, and basically caused her ears to die off and fall off,” the veterinarian said.
At the vet, dead tissue was removed from Meggie's ears. She had laser surgery to help heal the wounds and she was given antibiotics.
The vet said she'll be OK -- but this whole situation could have easily been avoided.
“Making sure those rubber bands don’t get around the ear itself. Making sure they’re just in the hair alone,” the veterinarian said.
“With Meggie, (the rubber bands) got encased in the pink part of the ear and cut the circulation off,” Self said.
WATE said the owner of "Concord School of Pet Grooming," which is certified by the state of Tennessee, initially agreed to speak with the television station but then changed her mind.
In an email to the television station, the owner said she "didn't know what happened" to Meggie -- but said “the bows were attached to the hair on top of her head next to each ear.”
The owner said she “doesn’t understand why Mrs. Self waited 11 days to seek help” for the dog.
The owner said she “stands behind their student groomers” and officials “always check their work before a dog leaves.”
The owner said: "I know the student did not put the rubber bands around the dog’s ears.”
Self had been taking Meggie and her other dog Rocky to the Concord School of Pet Grooming for nine years, and said she never had a problem before the incident with Meggie.
“I kind of, in my own way, regret I didn’t check (her ears). I just assumed they were OK which is the wrong thing to do,” Self said.
The veterinarian said the groomer did pay Meggie's vet bill.
Self said she will never get bows put on her dogs again.
“No. No way. No. Leave the bows off. Don’t put them on there. It’s not worth it. They’re cute on the dogs, but it’s a nightmare for me,” she said.
According to WATE, the Concord School of Grooming has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.