"Have you ever shaved a dog?" I found myself asking a co-worker last week. As she scuttled away in the opposite direction, mumbling excuses for having to get back to work, it occured to me that 1) I don't work with any dog groomers and 2) I really should think before talking most days.
You guys have seen my new dog, Muppet. A small, four lb. mix with long, fine hair. Hair that drags in brambles, twigs, leaves, and the occaisional stray hobo from the yard. I'd had a dog like that when I was a kid. I remember we got her shaved every summer. I also remember that she cowered in humiliation under my bed for days afterward, but the idea was there and it was taking root.
Problem is, I've done nearly everything you can do to a dog (don't ask) except shave one.
"How hard can it be?" I asked a friend. She laughed hysterically and backed away, muttering something about how she had to lance a boil or something.
I went to Walgreens and asked the clerk about electric clippers.
"For your hair or personal grooming?"
"Personal grooming?" I asked too quickly.
"You know, like for nostril and ear hair." The man said as if I asked where the milk was.
"Oh. For hair. I need to shave my dog."
He blinked at me for about two minutes. Eventually, he managed to get past his immediate concern for my dog and sold me a nice set of clippers.
I asked my friends online. Nikki said she shaved her collie once. "Just be sure you use a guard so you don't shave her bald," she said.
"I can do that?"
"Oh yeah. You don't want a bald dog," she assures me. "They get sunburned."
Armed with all this sage advice, I took my new clippers home and put the dog on the table. Jack, my nine-year old offered to help me. This lasted all of four minutes because Jack decided that it hurt HIM every time I trimmed some hair.
After realizing that it would be easier to shave the dog once I used scissors to shorten her hair, I managed to make some progress. She looked like she'd been groomed by a near-sighted heroin addict.
I brought on the clippers. I did a little better with those. And by that I mean that I didn't kill her. Although it might be possible for her to die of embarrasment. I did make her a promise that I wouldn't show her photo here and that I would never, ever try this again.
In the end, it turned out okay. Her hair is technically shorter. She doesn't drag in foliage, brush or the homeless anymore. She just looks like she lives with a demented person who doesn't know how to shave a dog.
I can live with that.