Monday, September 29, 2008


Or, My Newfound Respect for Dog Groomers
by Stephanie Gresham

It happened the other day. I'm not sure which one, because I am usually unaware of these sorts of things until they jump up and smack me in the face. Let's say I found out about it on Thursday because I like that Thursday is represented with an R on tiny calendars.
We are broke. As in, property taxes went through the roof and I still haven't had a bite on As in, my husband and in-laws got a giggle out of the idea that I may need to mow George-the neighbor's lawn for some extra cash while he's out truckin' this month. As in, yeah and why don't I do it in a bikini and set out a tip-jar on the curb while I'm at it?

Our household is now undergoing a major budget overhaul these days, which means I no longer get the luxury of having my own cell phone. (Apparently, it's just not a necessity to make phone calls these days when driving in the car or waiting in line at the market.) ((I am saying market instead of grocery store lately. Starting now.))

One way in which I've decided we can cut costs is by grooming the ol'dog ourselves. Ourselves really means myself, since I don't have a day-job. A fact that slipped my mind when I made the suggestion.

Today I drank coffee and then I took on the seemingly simple task of shaving off the excess fuzz from our ol'dog, Chope.

Because I'm an astoundingly intelligent and crafty gal, used the garden tub in the master bathroom for the job. The object was to contain the hair until the shaving was finished so it would be easier to trash and then wash the dumb dog. What I didn't expect was that my dog was carrying a whole other dog's worth of hair on herself. I had two for one this entire time and just wasn't aware of it. Now, if you don't have your own Chope, and I'm fairly confident you don't, you aren't aware of the flexibility and super maneuvering capacity that a Chope of age 77+ maintains in their golden dog-years.

There may be hair on the ceiling.

Side note: If you're one of my family members or if you were around the campus of Harvard at all during the graduation of the Business School during the summer of 2007, you know that my clipper expertise is not umm... marvellous. Please don't ask my husband. I'm pretty sure he's still mad about the back of his head looking, well, ridiculous that summer.

Any. Way.

Five minutes into the haircut and I had a new respect for professional dog groomers.
Twenty minutes into it, my hand was numb.
Forty minutes and Chope waded ankle-deep* in salt & pepper fur while my face and arms itched uncontrollably.
One hour and ten minutes later she was washed, dried, and looked slightly more fashionable than the ugliest pair of sneakers I own. If bald patches alternating with poofy gray fountains of hair is haute couture, she's in.

Chope has two modes. Sleeping and being awake while laying down at the same time. There's not a whole lot of standing, sitting, or walking on her afternoon agenda. And there's absolutely no running. Shaving her back was easier and shaving her stomach was impossible. Her elbows are poofy and I couldn't get the right angle near her itchy spots. Those places are bald now. Easier to itch, I told her. She licked the air in front of her nose and I'm just happy we don't have any mirrors hanging down low. The last thing I need is an ancient dog with self-image issues moping around my house.

Two out of three is bad enough.

Saving money is hard work. Where's my bikini?

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