Charlie is in the throes of a post haircut breakdown. Yesterday, he was forced to deal with a full back, sack and crack experience – canine style, and now he keeps coming face to face with a mirror, realising that he has lost half of his body size overnight, and then jumping back with a start. I am guessing by the way that he keeps skulking off to hide in his bed, that he isn’t exactly enamored with his new look. Something of a bad fur day in his eyes perhaps.
I can tell by the bewildered look in his eye that he is wondering exactly how he managed to shrink. I think perhaps he is scared tomorrow he will wake up and find he has halved again in size. He is certainly spending even more time than normal checking over and cleaning his manhood, probably making sure that at least that has been left intact. I can also tell that he is silently cursing us for letting it happen, and vowing never, ever to be lured into the car again.
Personally, I think he looks good. His fur is soft as a lamb, he is completely knot and dread-lock free and we can finally see his eyes again. He has also lost that whiff of warm dog badly needing a good wash and shampoo. Aside from him now looking like the lean, mean racing machine that he is, with the temperatures hitting 40 degrees, we have also prevented the strong possibility of him getting sun stroke and turning into a hot dog.
I know that he certainly had far more staying power in the sun when out this morning, and managed to last a whole 5 minutes before trying to climb into the basket under the pram to cool down. Granted he might also have been just trying to hide. Apparently dogs do get self conscious after a hair cut, and need a certain amount of reassurance that they still look cute and lovable. Charlie has certainly been displaying signs of extreme paranoia today. I don’t think it really helped matters when a Labrador did a double take on the way to the park. I’m sure he even snickered at Charlie as he walked past. I ask you, who knew dogs could be so bitchy in the playground.
I do feel for him at a time like this. I also remembered being given haircuts from hell at a young age, haircuts that basically altered my gender and left me looking as if my head was permanently tilted to one side. My mother used to corner me in the kitchen, brandishing a pair of hairdressing scissors in one hand and a bottle of water to spray me with in the other. Regardless of the time of year, or whether there was even snow on the ground, I was made to sit in the middle of the kitchen table – kept warm by just my underwear and a light coating of itchy hair.
While I never actually lost an eye or an ear, as threatened if I didn’t keep still, the memory of these hairy ordeals stays firmly with me. I am, as a result I believe, still incredibly nervous around people bearing scissors and a comb. Actually anyone bringing hair orientated products in the vicinity of my head sets off alarm bells.
When I was about 14 or 15, my sister, a hairdresser in training, offered to perm my hair for me. While perms may well have been in fashion at the time, it was, in hindsight one of those ‘good ideas at the time’ that you later live to regret. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if the perming lotion that we were using wasn’t located at the very back of the medicine cupboard. Or that it was called ‘Twinkie’ and was at least 10 years old – the faded price tag of 49p was a little bit of a giveaway on this front. Ignoring this we ploughed on, poured the stuff through my hair and then realised that, oh, dear, there wasn’t enough in the box to finish the job. It was by this time 9.30 at night, and I should add, well before the days of stores opening 24 hours a day.
My head was wrapped in a towel and we set out in the car to find a pharmacy. At this stage we both could see the funny side of the situation. An hour later the second batch was applied. Half an hour later my hair was rinsed upside down over the bath. I don’t know if it was my sisters sharp intake of breath and uncontrollable giggling that alerted me, or the fact that I could no longer see my hair in front of my nose. I up-righted myself and looked in the mirror. Shirley Temple looked back at me, and we both screamed. I then forcibly removed my sister from the bathroom and sat sobbing on the loo seat as I tried to stretch my hair back to a decent length. I still shudder at the memory.
Of course these past traumas don’t stop me from subjecting my own son to the same ordeals, though at least I have the decency to take him to a professional and let him keep his clothes on.
I have to admit that this kindness didn’t always extend to Charlie. In the early days we did actually buy some cheap clippers from Kmart and try to do a DIY job. We stood him on top of a packing box and proceeded to shave him to within an inch of his life – and lets not forget it’s cats that have nine lives, not dogs. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been quite so anal about getting it right. Every time I tried to tidy him up a bit, I ended up taking off a whole new layer of fur, and well, once you’ve done one leg, you’ve got to do the other three to even him up a little.
I couldn’t really describe how he looked when we’d finished with him. Let’s just say we had brought out all of the worst traits of his part poodle breeding, and everyone laughed when they saw him.
So the next time we decided the fluff was getting bigger than the dog, we thought we should hang up the clippers and go find a pro. Of course finding a good dog groomer is actually a lot harder than you might imagine. And when I say good, I mean someone who doesn’t spend your dog home with bald patches and a bleeding nick on his stomach, where the skin was mistaken for fur and shaved right off. I should point out that this particular groomer did put a rather attractive blue bow around his neck in time for collection, so of course this more than made up for the fact that my dog was taken to task by Sweeney Todd and nearly scarred for life.
Yes, finding a good groomer is tricky. It’s not unlike (I imagine) trying to pin down an A-list hairdresser for a last minute appointment on Oscar night. So when you do find someone who knows her fur, it pays to hang on to them. My groomer also happens to work at my son’s daycare, so I figured I’m onto a winner there. If I trust her enough to keep my son fed, watered and alive when at nursery, I can certainly trust her enough to shave around my doggy’s balls. Or at least to shave around where they would have been, had they not been lopped off as a puppy. Poor thing, and they say “It’s a dog’s life”.
Anyway, you decide. Have we momentarily ruined his street cred, or saved him from boiling alive in his own juices?
Yes, that IS the same dog in both photos and not an anorexic looking twin. And yes, despite his emancipated looking frame, I can assure you that we do feed him. Well in fact. Very well.
Want to know more about Spoodles? Read this post… What is a Spoodle