21 August 2008

home doggy salon

Amandine has just left in her smart little black Renault Clio with racing wheels. As she walked up the path I noticed from behind that she has no shoulders and I wonder how she carries a handbag – obviously diagonally or surely it would keep slipping off ? I've just paid her €20 to clip L B and I’m astonished that she charged so little and relieved that it’s all over. L B on the other hand is rubbing himself along the ground and mussing up his ears and quite happy to go with her to her car as she packs the accoutrements away.

She sounded about 12 when I phoned her to book the appointment and didn’t seem to me to be an awful lot older when she arrived an hour and three quarters ago, wearing a baby pink t-shirt with sequins and sparkly silver flip flops. She was very business-like, handled L B very well and played with him for a moment after she lifted him down from the grooming table, but so laid back I felt that a bomb could go off and she would hardly react. She had no option but to shave off his appallingly matted coat and we discussed how she should tackle his head – I didn’t want him to have a pointed snout “he’s not a poodle” I kept hearing myself say. The lady he used to go to, who’s salon is called Le Chien Coquet, has two poodles tied up whilst she works and L B came out with the look of a new breed of dog, the Terrioodle.

I was hoping not to have to have him shaved again – I would really like him to grow his coat to look like a proper Tibetan Terrier and whilst he would never be as stunning as Fabulous Willy who won best in show at Crufts in 2007, I feel that it shouldn’t be beyond my grooming capabilities. After all, I did have Gizmo the Shih-Tzu who lived in this area 12 years ago and I never had to resort to such drastic measures. But TTs have this double coat, which keep them cool in Summer and warm in Winter, and we live in the countryside full of viscious flora that find L B’s coat a perfect place to attach itself to to transport seeds to other places. Indeed, the garden here has an ever widening patch of particularly nasty grasses and pretty ground-cover plants which produce burrs the size of peas and as sharp as needles !

His last toilettage was in March and I have been very good at brushing him since. Whilst he was injured – a pulled achilles tendon – I had not been taking him on our usual walk and he remained on the lead and walked mostly on the road. When the vet gave the all clear to start taking him for his proper walks where he bounds around like a mad thing, I started to lose the plot with the grooming. We walk alongside the irrigation canal and he hops in and out of it to drink and cool down. Add to that his harness (easier to grab him when he’s being uncooperative), rolling in the dust and rubbing his face along where they’ve been cutting grass and in the space of three days his under coat rubbed into a dense layer of felt ! This must now be causing L B to heat up more and it became a harbour for sharp bits of undergrowth and grass seed which weave their way in and can go in only one direction. So, needless to say, we’ve been in and out of the vets with a grass seed in an ear, another in his paw ... It has become ... dangerous.

I feel so ashamed that I seem incapable of keeping him knot-free, that I have not been in touch with his breeders to let them know how we’re getting on. The kennel that he came from – l‘Empire de Mistral – is in the middle of the country near Marseilles. They have seven TTs and they are never shaved. I think I will have to contact them and confess that spending nearly an hour every day just doesn’t work for us and is it a total travesty to keep his hair short ?

I bought a shaver, thinking that I would be able to groom him myself. I downloaded a useful e-book on dog grooming at home which has some really good tips and thought I would have a go. I didn’t read enough of the book, just skimmed down the pages, in my eagerness to try and bring relief to my poor prickled baby. Result : stressed L B, stressed me, burrs and hair stuck to everything including my face because I was so hot, there were rivulets of perspiration running down my face and cleavage, aaaarrrrgggghhhh ! Get him done professionally, which is where dear little Amandine came in with her myriad grooming combs and brushes and a much more serious-looking heavy-duty shaver.

Then from beneath the pelt that came off him like a tiny sheep, emerged this delicate-framed cartoon dog. I’m not sure about the finished ‘look’ – I’ll get used to it, I suppose, and of course it will grow back. But to have all this done in our own environment and a totally stress-free L B – it was worth every centime !


Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Hello. I found my way to your blog from Blotanical. Loved visiting and especially seeing the pictures of your pup. Definite looks a little funny after the clip. But it will grow back!

bare-faced gardener said...


Sadly, I heard that Amandine became a victim of the terrible floods we had in June 2010 … She was not hurt, but was unable to recover financially.

I haven’t been able to find out where she is or whether she is still working as a groomer …

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