With the density of animals in our house, we jokingly say we sweep up a Chihuahua on a daily basis. The biggest hair shedding culprit is Ripley, my yellow lab/now retired service dog. I simply can’t keep up with her hair. She has a gorgeous thick coat. But trying to brush it? It’s a Sisyphean task.
I take her out to the driveway, with a Furminator brush and a regular brush, a stool to save my back, and a kitchen trash can to hold the hair. I brush and brush and brush. Inevitably, the wind picks up. Hair blows up into our faces, and all over the driveway. I’m sure that most of the birds’ nests in our neighborhood are lined with Ripley hair. When I think I have most of it, I use my hands and fingers to dislodge loose strands. And of course, more and more comes up. I brush again. Fingers again. Brush again. She always looks better, but when I release her back to the house for her “trauma cookie” reward, she is trailing loose hair everywhere.
Baths are equally problematic. We can bathe Rocky and Malakai in the shower without too many problems. Ripley clogs the drain immediately, and she’s wet for almost a day afterwards. Again, that water dog undercoat is an issue.
The last few weeks, she has been panting. I began to worry – is it panting from overheating from that thick coat, or is it pain panting? I finally decided it was time to call in a professional. I phoned our vet clinic, Calista Animal Hospital, and asked for a referral for a dog groomer. They recommended Wet Dog Mobile Pet Grooming. Awesome! They come to your house. This would be perfect for a first-time grooming experience!
We had our appointment scheduled within two days, and Justin of Wet Dog showed up at our door. Ripley happily ran out to greet him, not knowing she was about to have a first-time experience.
We went over all the options. The basic package ($65) included two shampoos (before and after brushing), conditioner, towel and blow dry, shaving pads, clipping nails, and cleaning eyes and ears. I chose to add on undercoat removal ($15) and tooth brushing ($5). Then we went for the extra special “spa package,” an additional $15 charge, which included nail grinding, a special medicated shampoo which cuts down on shedding (melon scented – we had three choices), a massage, and a jerky treat. I figured, hell, Ripley is twelve and a half years old and I’m handing her over to a stranger for her first professional grooming. I better give her some perks.
She happily entered the van on her own, then looked back over her shoulder – oops! Too late. The door closed, and that was that.
I sat on the front porch for the first ten or so minutes. I heard Justin turn on the generator, the hum of the water tank. I realized I was leaning forward in my chair, listening closely. What’s that? A whimper? A squeal? No, just equipment. Geez, Michelle. You’re acting like a helicopter parent. I shook myself and went inside, knowing I would make myself crazy if I sat out there for the whole hour-plus of the grooming.
Finally, I heard the knock on the door from Justin. All done! Ripley looked like a pup, so sleek and pink from the grooming. I had never been able to get her so clean and well brushed. Her teeth looked great, too. (We do a yearly dental cleaning at the vet, but the months in between…whew. That breath can get bad!)
As part of the basic package, Justin also did a brief physical once-over (anal glands, coat, ears, skin), and everything checked out except he found a sore spot at the base of Ripley’s tail. I hadn’t seen it before, because of all the tufts. Justin let us look inside the van, to see how much hair had come off of my dog. Probably ten Chihuahuas!
I brought Sabrina out for a quick photo shoot, even though Ripley couldn’t wait to get back in the house, thanked and paid Justin, and then we all went inside – because although Ripley did get her jerky treat, she still expected a trauma cookie from me, for god’s sake.
Malakai and Rocky crowded around her, sniffing madly. Melon, they seemed to say? Where the heck have you been?
For my part – money well spent. Clean, pink, groomed – and dry! Definitely will be doing this again. And Ripley? Well, she may not want to admit it. But I think she’s feeling pretty fine.