Saturday, June 28, 2008


Today marked one of those momentous occasions for Duncan and me, and not because of some grand event but for something quite mundane: he got a haircut. His first, in fact. I spend plenty of time brushing him, although not as much as I should, and he gets a bath every now and then, but he's never been professionally groomed until today. We spent some time last night discussing it on our walk, talking about what to expect and how things would go, but I'm not quite sure he quite grasped what was going to happen.

Diane is an excellent dog groomer, a patient and kind woman who gave up her job as a software developer to do something that fed her spirit a little more. So she cashed in her options, converted her garage into a shop and opened a grooming business. I liked her immediately, with her short hair and small, open elvish face, kind eyes and warm laugh. Duncan took to her immediately, but once she placed him in the tub and started spraying him with water he wasn't so pleased. He tolerated it, somewhat reluctantly, staring at me with woeful eyes and whining pitifully, which, despite my enthusiasm for a clean, trimmed dog, was heart-wrenching. But he was adorable in his wet-dog way, skinny and pathetic, with those big brown eyes staring at me, bigger than they'd ever been, and he kept kissing Diane, as a diversionary tactic, trying to tempt her with his tremendous love and kindness and sheer cuteness.

It wasn't until she attempted to dry him, though, that things got really nasty. Dunc did not like the drier at all, and as he flailed and thrashed about, I gathered my things and stepped out of the shop, walking down the alley in the vain hope of getting out of earshot of his cries. Having played the role of Mister Curt for a bunch of four-year olds several years ago, I know that the continued presence of mom and dad often feeds anxiety on everyone's part and that things tend to calm down once mom and dad remove themselves from the situation. I stayed outside for the remainder of his haircut and heavy brushing not wishing to make Diane's work any harder or prolong Duncan's fear. It was not pleasant, listening to him bark and whine and howl for me, and as I spoke with Ken on the phone I told him I felt a bit like a helpless parent who has taken their child to the doctor and must endure the wails and shrieks as a shot is given. Duncan was in no pain or danger, he'd just never been groomed, and despite my long talk with him did not know what was happening.

But in the end Diane won him over and we'll be back. He looks amazing, better either Ken or I have looked in months in fact, and I know we'll be returning. If only I could talk Diane into washing and trimming my hair. I'd promise not to shriek quite as much when she turns the drier on. There's only one tiny problem. Somehow or another I ended up with poor Diane's phone in my pocket. I'll take it back to her tomorrow, pray for her forgiveness and hope she's kind enough to allow us back.

Despite telling Duncan that he wouldn't be allowed outside for the rest of the weekend, if only so I can enjoy all Diane's hard work and get the most bang for my buck, we went for a long walk in the park. He made quite the striking figure, with none of that ratty, unruly hair flying all over the place. He seemed to know he looked and smelled good, and walked with his head held high and his tail wagging back and forth. It was quite the contrast from Skeeter, our Cocker Spaniel, who hid under the table for days after being groomed.

It didn't last for long, though. No sooner has we passed the last group of weekend revelers than my boy got back at me for the torture that had been inflicted on him all afternoon.

It's a good thing he's so dang cute and I love him as much as I do!


Greg said...

I find the vet visits go much easier if I leave the office folks to their skills. Em's much better behaved without one or both of her parents standing by.

As for the roll (rool, rool, rool in ze hay...), I think that's just the finishing step as far as dog's grooming goes. Sometimes we add cologne, they prefer to roll on something dead.

Lori said...

Cute keeps them out of a lot of trouble! My guys immediately find the filthiest portion of the yard, with the most sticks, crud, and debris for their post-grooming rolls. Sigh.

Lisa said...

He looks marvelous! But of course you knew he would.

Charlie said...

I still haven't got up the nerve to take Charlie to the groomer, but your account gives me faith that maybe we could live through it.
- Anne

Marty said...

Who could blame Duncan for wanting to show off that adorable cute white belly of his.

CJ said...

Strike a pose indeed. He looks great! I take mine twice a year and would do more if it weren't for the $$. On my Golden, she only shaves the belly area and trims the skirt some and cleans up the paws. My lab gets the puppy cut which is a shave down. They don't like Houston's heat. I need to be better at brushing.

caboval said...

Oh! Hes so hansome!

Chris & Mackenzie said...

I'm pretty sure that the urge to roll in grass...or mulch...or dirt...or gravel...after a bath is encoded in their DNA. He's a handsome dude!