The good thing about a dog who doesn’t shed is that your house isn’t covered in dog hair, but the bad thing is that you never get to buy a FURminator with which to make yourself a second dog.
Oh, wait. That’s not the bad thing. The bad thing is that dogs who don’t shed periodically need to be groomed and clipped.
Now, when we first got Licorice, I thought maybe I could take care of most of that stuff on my own, really. I bought some doggie nail clippers. I cut the kids’ hair and Otto’s hair and figured I could maybe even learn how to groom the dog, fully. How hard could it be? But what I didn’t realize, right away, is that Licorice—in keeping with the other small members of our household—is something of a DRAAAAAMA QUEEN about being groomed. She does not like it, Sam I Am. She does not want you to touch her feet, or her ears, and quite frankly I never even attempted the “hygienic shave” they do at the groomer’s (I’m sparing you the details, but I bet you can figure it out) (you’re welcome!) because just trimming her nails at home was so traumatic. And the dog didn’t like it, either. So we let all of the traumatic stuff get taken care of by someone else. Hooray!
So the good part is that I don’t have to do it. Plus, you know, the groomer uses shampoo on her that smells like heavenly baby flowers. (“Baby flowers?” said Otto. “Do those smell different than regular grown-up flowers?” And the answer is YES.) And she has that table with the little neck noose to hold the dog in place. And she puts a wee adorable bandana on the dog at the end! And most importantly, Licorice can not use her Jedi mind tricks on the groomer the way she can on me, because I am a sucker and if the dog whimpers I’m all OH BABY I’M SO SORRY, MOMMY LOVES YOU even if she’s just whimpering because she’s annoyed, not because I cut her nails too short and she’s now bleeding out. Not that that’s ever happened. More than once.
The thing is, though, dog groomers present just as many challenges as hair stylists. They’re not all created equal, you know. We went somewhere on a recommendation and it was fine, the first few times. The dog smelled awesome and we could see her face again and her ears were plucked and all that good stuff. I think it was maybe the third time that things… weren’t quite right. Her fur was kind of uneven. The “hygienic trim” part of the service appeared to have been skipped. And I found a couple of nails she missed. Hmmmm.
We kept going back, though, because probably she was just having a bad day and who has time to find a new groomer?
Things didn’t improve. I started stretching the time between groomings as long as I could; instead of going when the dog started looking shaggy, I waited until the dog’s eyes disappeared entirely.
Finally, she came back from a grooming appointment looking particularly raggedy, and I decided I’d had enough. The next time Licorice needed to be groomed, I took her someplace else. And they did a good job. Hooray!
Meanwhile, the original groomer changed locations. She sent us a card to let us know where she’d gone. She even called, to make sure we’d gotten it! And because I tend to feel like it’s wasted energy to argue with a dog groomer you no longer plan to patronize, I thanked her for her call and said we’d see her soon. Ahem.
In the meantime, the old location is part of a local pet store, and now has new groomers in residence. They ran a Groupon-like special where we could get coupons for half-off grooming, so I figured what the heck—grooming is expensive, it’s someone new, for half-price I’m willing to risk it. I bought a couple of coupons.
Last week I called to make the dog an appointment, as her eyes have disappeared and she occasionally pokes a child in the kitchen with one of her claws while resting here in my office. The nice groomer on the phone offered me a 9:00 a.m. appointment today, but I had to be somewhere at 9:00, so I asked if there was any way she could do 8:30. Oh, no problem, she said! Come in at 8:30!
Today Monkey and I brought Licorice to the groomer promptly at 8:30. It meant waking Monkey up, and racing around, and of course Licorice hates riding in the car because she spends the entire ride thinking we’re going to abandon her somewhere. So we got there, and got her out of the car, and she ran right over to a tree and peed. Yay, good dog! Then we walked inside, and she immediately pooped on the floor. NO NO NO. (We cleaned it up. And the store was still closed so no one saw it. Still. Jesus, dog.) She was very nervous, is my point.
Well. The nice employees getting the store ready for the 9:00 a.m. opening were there bustling around, but the groomer was not. And the groomer wasn’t there at 8:35 or 8:40 or 8:45. And now I was trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL TO DO WITH MY DOG because the 9:00 appointment was not a dog-friendly venue. I called the groomer’s number and could hear the phone ringing on the other side of the LOCKED DOOR, and left an angry message while my son went to the other end of the pet store and promptly fell in love with a ferret. Meanwhile, Licorice is sitting at my feet CRYING (really, she cries, and it’s PITIFUL) because am I leaving her NOW? How about NOW? NOW am I disappearing? STRESSFUL!
At 8:47 as we were on our way out, the groomer showed up, casual as you please, with one dog following at her heels and A SECOND TINY DOG IN HER PURSE. No lie. She had completely forgotten she’d given me an appointment, and I all but threw the leash at her in my hurry to get out of there and not be late. She assured me it would all be fine. We left and went to our other appointment.
When we returned, later, it was to find her two dogs and a third purse-size dog belonging to her assistant all running around in the grooming area—which was perfect because we stepped in and Monkey was instantly beset by puppy-licks and stopped begging for a ferret—and the groomer assured us Licorice was all done. Except then she took Licorice out of a cage and said, “Whoops! I didn’t cut her nails!”
What. The. Hell? It’s not BRAIN SURGERY, it’s dog grooming. There’s a limited number of things that need doing as part of the grooming, and cutting the nails seems like it should be kind of high on the list. CALL ME CRAZY.
So Monkey and I went back out into the pet store to select a reward toy for Licorice, and then came back to watch her getting her last few nails clipped. I picked up one of the purse-puppies while that was happening and Licorice glared at me from the table, so great was her ire that I had not only abandoned her here in this house of Horrible Things but I was NOW showering another dog with my affections. She was not pleased.
But finally it was all over and we collected her and paid for the grooming (which consisted of handing over the coupon on a bill that was 20% more than the old groomer charged, hrm) and paid for the toy and came home, and five minuter later she had ripped a giant hole in her new stuffed doggie and was extracting its stuffing one gleeful mouthful at a time. All is forgiven, I think.
Except that I still have another coupon for this groomer and I don’t think I want to go back. (FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS! Tragic!!)