With this photo memory of Miss Abby when she had her first grooming after adoption, it brought memories of trying to get Barkley bathed, NOT the easiest of tasks.
From the Book of Barkley (Outskirts Press) and some photos of Barkley with my little Point and Shoot that you may not have seen.
CHAPTER 34 - Lady and the Tramp Stamp
I've had some bad haircuts in my time, as with very fine but also curly hair, it happens. Barkley, however, has been spared getting shaved and groomed but for the occasional bath and nail trim.
Why is it a breed that loves the water and will cannonball into any available pool or pond, hates getting baths? When he was a puppy he just got his baths in the tub. He wasn't too happy about it, but I could hold on to him and although I'd end up as wet as he was, we got it done.
When he was older, it didn't go so well. You know those wildlife clips from Africa that shows the lion running and jumping on the zebra, taking it down in a flurry of legs and hair.
It was a lady recommended by his previous vet where we used to live, the groomer working from her home out in the country. I asked if she did larger dogs and she assured me she did all the time.
I left him. She was very friendly; the place spotlessly clean, her instruments shining and well cared for, the other dogs there, waiting to get picked up, looking content.
When I came back, she was there, with another girl I did not recognize. "I had to call for help," she said. Both of them were drenched, with wet hair, clothes, everything. There was water on the table, on the floor, several of their tools had been flung across the floor, and the picture on the wall was all askew. They looked like they'd been in a tornado and flood combined.
Barkley was in his pen, drying out, with a scarf around his need, looking ALL happy but not liking the scarf much.
"I'm sooo sorry, I said, please; let me pay you extra for your services." They declined, but I gave her a huge tip with a second apology.
As we left, she looked at me and said, "Miss, I appreciate the business, and hope you'll think of me if others ask about pet grooming. But please do not bring him back."
So baths got less frequent but we managed. There were no more fashion accessories though, at least until he came home with a square of fur missing from his lower spine.
It was some simple veterinary surgery to remove a small benign fatty growth from that area as well as four little skin tags on a couple of his legs. Common enough in older dogs but if he kept chewing on them it could do some harm, so off they came. At the same time, since he would be under anesthesia, his scheduled doggie dental cleaning and care was accomplished.
Barkley loves Dr. H., and is oh so excited to get in the door and see her. I dropped him off in the early morning and could pick him up after I got off of work. He was not so happy with me when I picked him up.
He looked at me as if to say - "You told me some pretty girls were going to check my teeth and pet me, and I come home with Brazilian Bikini Butt."
Barkley is a "no fuss dog." Although he is AKC purebred and a hunting breed, he's lived a quiet life at home. It's been a simple life of water and dirt and running amok, not constant grooming and bows in his ears and dog couture. If I dressed him in costume as a food object or cute insect, he would likely steal the clippers and give me a Mohawk in my sleep.
He was neutered as a youngster; there's lots of good rescue dogs out there, so he wasn't going to reproduce, bloodlines or not, but he'd had a life of only routine fussing over, just enjoying being part of my family. His not-so-secret canine mission was that of most working dog breeds - to sniff every object in the entire world, peeing on anything that smelled even remotely like another male dog and then having done so, trying to -
(a) eat it
(b) bark at it
(c) carry it around in his mouth
(d) hump it
The veterinary technician said, "With a little practice your dog will enjoy his brushing."
I didn't tell her that the Storming of the Bastille was better received and less bloody than my attempt to apply a few drops of flea medication on his skin between his shoulder blades a couple of years ago.
I'd be wearing the chicken-flavored toothpaste by the time we were through. I won't mention the look of disdain I'd get at a pink toothbrush. But the doctor only has his health in mind and we talked about some alternatives to keep his teeth and gums healthy.
He did fine, though he whined a little when he did not get a full bowl of food the night before the procedure, by doctor's orders, and he was in a little discomfort when he came home. I had pain meds, but I could not give him one until the next morning, so he got much extra care and got to sleep with Mom on her bed, something normally not allowed.
I lay with him while he went to sleep, telling him he was still a handsome boy and even offering to show him the picture of me from the 80's when I had a mullet. He declined, it appeared, nodding off to sleep, happy that this day was done.