A few years ago Mike and I were cutting our expenses back and deciding what was a want and what was a need. One particular expense line item we got stuck on was:
Dog grooming -$100 every three months.
$400 dollars a year to keep our two pups pretty and trimmed (or at least not completely mangey and dreadlocked). We really wanted every dime possible to go towards paying off our debt but both of us hated to groom the dogs…and they didn’t care for us to do it to them either. Having someone else groom them was not a need but we really really wanted it to be.
Mike and I split most of the chores around here. We’ve been lucky that the things he doesn’t like to do I don’t mind doing and vice versa. Dog grooming was something neither one of us enjoyed. There was no flipping the coin on this one either because it takes two people to accomplish this task. Now for those of you trying to solve our problem as you read this (cause that’s what I’d be doing). You’re probably thinking: ‘Duh, don’t groom them’,… it’s not an option. Both of our dogs have hair not fur. Their hair grows like humans…it doesn’t stop.
Our white dog, Ping, is a Shih Tzu and his hair is fine and tangles easily. About 5 years ago we decided to let his hair grow out like those show dogs. The girls had the chore of brushing him every day. I was bathing him weekly and Ping never looked better. His hair was flowing off of him and he looked like a Harlequin romance novel coverdog. I’m pretty sure even our black dog, Archie, was jealous.
The weeks turned into months and the girls lost interest in brushing and I lost interest in keeping after them every evening to brush him. His hair began to knot a bit. Just about this time we went on vacation and left the dogs with a friend. I think I said something like, ‘I know Ping is looking nappy (I think his coat was tuning into felt about this point) but don’t worry, I’ll deal with it when we get back’. She probably heard,’Blah, blah, blah…Ping… Nap…blah.’ While we were gone it rained and rained, the dogs got muddy like dogs do and Ping’s coat became one big knot. My friend was feeling so responsible she took the dogs to the groomer.
The groomer decided to cut his entire coat off…even his head…down to the skin…like a sheep. Turns out Ping is a pinhead. Who knew? For whatever reason the groomer did the same to Archie. I guess he wanted them to match. My friend spent the next few days consumed with guilt until we came home. When she told me the story she was near tears. I, in turn, felt so guilty for putting both her and the dogs through the entire ordeal. From then on the dogs got trimmed when their hair was a few inches long. Many of my ideas are much better in theory. This was no exception!
Fast forward a few years and Mike and I are leaning over our spending report trying to wriggle out of the inevitable. We knew we had to groom the dogs ourselves. We invested in a professional pair of clippers and scissors and went for it. It takes about four hours to get both dogs done. Four hours of sitting on the hard floor trying to contain the wiggly Ping and console the shaky Archie. We hate it and they hate it.
To spice things up sometimes we try different hair styles on them. One time we gave Ping chaps. Picture him completely shaved except his legs and head. He walked just like a bow legged cowboy. We thought he looked fantastic! Another time we just shaved Archie’s legs so he looked like Lamb Chop.
Last summer Mike was gone for a week so I thought I would surprise him by grooming the dogs. Since you have to have someone hold Ping to cut him I decided to clip him with the scissors when he didn’t know it. I kept the scissors out and whenever I caught him napping I’d clip a bit off. The result was a very choppy cut, not the best. My friend, Juliette, gave me such crap and told me I had to fix him. Archie on the other hand was quite delightful and I was able to get most of him done. Boy was Mike surprised (not so much in the way I was hoping)! Eventually he helped me even Ping’s haircut out.
We love our dogs. For all the grief they give us when we groom them they make it up to us daily. They are the sweetest dogs we’ve ever had. They don’t yap and their poops are always tiny. They keep up with me like nobody’s business on my uber 8 mile hike up Atalaya mountain every Monday. I’m sure they’d have something nice to say about us too if they could speak English. Or maybe they would just request new sweaters.
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