One of the things that first appealed to me about Levi was the fact that he has hair, not fur, and doesn't shed. It never occurred to me that his curly hair would just keep growing longer and longer without frequent haircuts. Even if I'd thought of that, I wouldn't have dreamed that the cost of having him groomed would be such a budget buster.
What to do, what to do? I could handle bathing Levi, but his tendency to roll on every fallen leaf or dead bug in the yard was causing his curls to tangle into mats no brush could penetrate.
Coincidentally, my daughter Kim, who has two small dogs of the hair-not-fur persuasion, was also pondering the grooming issue. She'd taken Lucy and Oliver to the pet salon often, but the last time she'd been called to pick them up early because they were so stressed out that the groomers were worried about them.
When Kim mentioned to me that she was thinking about investing in some professional grooming equipment and trying to do it herself, I immediately wanted in. We would share the investment and recoup our expenses in only three or four groomings. Together and separately, we watched online grooming videos, and Kim researched grooming sites to find out what kind of equipment was favored by the pros. With lists made and bank cards on the ready, we marched off to PetSmart and Petco. We bought clippers, extra blades, shears, thinning scissors, detangler tools, shampoos, conditioners, and doggy "freshener" sprays.
Ollie, the Shih Tzu, was our first victim. He was well behaved as we hovered over him on the bathroom counter and did not seem stressed at all. Granted, he seemed a little leery of us for a couple of days afterward, but we all survived the experience. And he looked pretty good for a first effort.
Levi, whose hair was in his eyes, would be next.
I kept the bag of equipment at my house and strategized about the process. Levi is big. There would be no standing him on the counter. Where else could I put him so that the clipper cord would reach all the way around him? I pondered the situation for
Snip, snip, snip! I'd clip a few curls and Levi would leap away and look at me as if I'd just removed one of his limbs. I kept the scissors close at hand and we repeated this scenario many times, in many different parts of the house. I learned quickly that the back end of a dog is much easier to trim than the end that has teeth on it. I also learned I could get a lot more done by catching Levi napping. I ended up skipping the clippers and giving him an all-over scissors cut. After multiple sessions over a five-day period, I could not call him "finished," but I called the job "done."
You can see by the long curls sticking out on his cheeks that I missed a few spots. Never mind. He can see again, his tangles are all gone, and enough is enough. He's a little ragged, but it's a learning process, right? The next time should be easier.
This week I'm following Butch around with the Furminator®.