Sunday, October 3, 2010

Getting Wet

You can’t be too dainty and be a successful dog groomer. As I mentioned before, grooming comes with a high Yuck Factor. There are bad smells and bodily functions, oozing and stickiness. It is hairy, hot, and humid. A groomer generally doesn’t have a good hair day for long. Most especially, you can’t mind getting wet. I have had days where I end up wet clean through, even down to my socks.

There is a special kind of dog that either has a peculiar sense of humour or a keen sense of fair play. This type is determined that the groomer should be as wet as the dog or the bath is incomplete. They will shake frequently, continuously or, in the case of the smarter ones, strategically. They can not be deterred by a gentle hand on the shoulder or by lifting up one front leg. The dog might be as large as a Newfoundland or as tiny as a Yorkshire Terrier but the size is irrelevant. The big ones can drench a large area with a good shake and the smaller ones learn to slip the grooming restraint and leap into your arms or climb your body when they are at their wettest.

However, I will say that some of my worst and wettest days have been my own fault. I have lost count of the number of times I have dropped the shower nozzle and had it whip around like a wild firehose. Sump-pump style bathing systems are even worse and can make an impressive mess in just a few seconds. Why is it that we always try to catch the hose rather than turn off the water?

In-home grooming has offered a new and exciting way to soak myself. I have been in a great number of bathrooms, most of which are far nicer than my whole house. Many people have renovated their bathrooms to include spa-quality walk-in showers. These huge enclosures have rainfall showers, wall mounted jets, and handheld showers. All of them. In one. I have stood and stared at a half-dozen knobs and dials. Finally, convinced that I have figured out the controls, I make a bold choice, grab the handheld nozzle, turn on the water, and twist a knob.

Generally what happens next is that I am standing directly under the lovely rainfall shower as it comes on. I fumble with the controls, panicked, dodging, dripping, as the dog retreats to the corner of the shower (which can be several feet away in some of these bathrooms) and laughs its head off.

I’ve learned to bring a lot of towels and wear quick-dry clothing, and that's why the ponytail was invented anyway.
Artwork copyrighted by Christopher Cowley, Windchill Studios.

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