Thursday, July 20, 2006

doggie beauty parlor

Today was one busy day...In the morning, I headed to a dingy building in Mountlake Terrace to take my oncology certified nursing exam, or "OCN" as the common lingo goes. I received a 'preliminary pass' score and the final score will be mailed in a few weeks. So despite my wanton acts of procrastination, I think I'll be okay. =) The best part is, no more struggling to study during the busy, hot summer!
After my exam, I headed off the the Northgate Mall to spend a Bon..oh wait, Macy's gift certificate Cheryl, Greg, and her sister Eva had given Andrew and I as a wedding gift (thanks you guys!) I purchased a couple of t-shirts for Andrew, and 3 more sets of lovely Oneida silverware on a buy 2, get 1 free deal.

The final part of the day was the most fun, and as the title suggests you may have guessed the primary activity--learning how to groom Sophie of course! After Andrew hastily tied up some loose ends with his work, we hopped in the car and drove to Preston to pick up Sophie from her training at Cascade K-9, then to our friend Sheila's home in Issaquah to commence the grooming lesson.
Sheila is a new friend to us and a has a very nice Airedale Terrier of her own, Kimi--who is Sophie's favorite playmate and has a charming blog all his own. Since Sheila is attending grooming school, and is quite the "Airedale Expert" she very sweetly offered to show us how to groom our pooch. The above picture is the "before" when she was placed on Sheila's grooming table. And below is Sheila getting ready to go to work--the basic plan was Sheila would groom 1/2 of Sophie: clip her nails, sweep out the hair between her toes, clipper her back, hind quarters, belly, head, ears (ears are a bit scary to me still) and then Andrew and I were to groom the 2nd half. For those of you book-wormish types, here is what her textbook had to say about grooming Airedales:
"Everything about the Airedale is tight and tailored. This is a dog of great strength, power, and agility. They are known as the "King of the Terriers". When grooming an Airedale, remember there is nothing soft or fluffy about the breed." -Notes from the Grooming Table, 2004.
Sheila made this much easier for us. A patient and practical teacher, she explained the basic highlights were to clip in the direction of hairgrowth, use correct blade size to use on certain parts of the body, and to soften or blend certain lines of the coat where short gives way to long (eg in the end result you notice the body hair is quite short, but the leg hair is fluffy) by using scissors.
Sheila readies her clipper, with a no.7 and no.10 blades. Notice how nicely organized her grooming kit is; the underside of the lid is personalized with pictures of Kimi on the right and her parents' schnauzers on the left.

Look at all that black hair that was clipped off... Here you see Sheila fluffing up with a green brush to lift up hair and then scissoring down Sophie's leg-doing that blending thing.

Sheila working hard with a smile.
Andrew gets a kiss while trying to cut Sophie's nails.
Ever equal with her affection, Sophie plants a few on me while Andrew concentrates on cutting nails.
This is Kimi, he is 2 mo older than Sophie and was very patient while Sophie was the center of Sheila's attention. I think if there was a thought bubble above his head, it would be something like, "It is playtime yet?".

My impression of grooming Sophie was (even though Sheila had already told me this) that it was truly a bonding experience with your dog. I have to admit, it was a little scary to be taking scissors to the edges of her ears. I do all sorts of uncomfortable, painful, and potentially more hazardous things to people at work like starting IVs, changing dressings, etc. but this little doggie grooming is quite different to me, perhaps because having Sophie has placed Andrew and I in a protective role since we first brought her home with her clouded-over kitty traumatized eye. Grooming Sophie was a balancing act between your dog sensing your own comfort with what you are doing and the dog being patient enough to have its paw held in an awkward position, or its ear hairs plucked out--and you being confident and efficient with your actions. I still need a lot of work on the confidence and efficiency part, but watching Sheila work with Sophie helped give me some hope for my future grooming endeavours. =)
After we'd finished and Sheila helped to fine-tune our 'holiday' areas, the humans treated themselves to ice-cream and good conversation. Sophie and Kimi played in the backyard, and comically drank at the same time from the water bowl with their drippy beards.

Sheila has a musical-chairs approach to eating ice-cream which she only gets to indulge in when her husband Olaf is away =) I've found her method to be quite satisfying to all my sweet cravings. I sampled chocolate, mango, and coconut-pineapple. Yum!
Sophie and Kimi playing tug-o-war. Sophie is on the left, Kimi is on the right.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Wow...good for you guys on the grooming. Our best effort with Schatzi is a quick bath and toenail clipping. She can't focus for very long, so it takes DAYS to cut her toenails because I can only get two done at a time. Then, when we're finally done, it's time to start again. Any tips?