Sunday, January 20, 2008

Big Hair Is In

I put Scotty outside until he stops bleeding. It's because of the dog show.

Of course, as collie owners for the past 18 years, we made a beeline to the collie ring. If you are not aware, collies are the most beautiful, patient, and kind of all the dogs. Of course, they will have a quirk or two here and there, such as hating the UPS guy with a white-hot passion (RIP, Shelby), or fleeing like a POW at the first site of an opening (Annie, you idiot), or shedding like a flower girl with a basket of rose petals (all of the above), but if you don't mind the weekly brushing ordeal (and they are incredibly patient for the de-tangling and de-matting procedures in very personal places where you would never want to develop a tangled hair), they are the very best family dogs.

Where was I? The dog show. I have been to many dog shows, but have never actually been able to sit down and watch one, as I have always gone as a member of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, who hires us out as human pooper scoopers for the festivities. I'm sure I've blogged about the indignities (nasal, personal, and spinal) of that position in the past. Suffice it to say that I was ready to go to the show as a spectator.

I came away, not with a new respect for the breed ideal, or a name of a particularly stand-out breeder in my area, but with a deep shame for my own collie grooming habits. Scotty's feet look like he had been stomping on angora rabbits in snow shoes compared to the perfectly rounded, trimmed feet of the show collies. And the handlers kept spraying the collie coats with this magic solution. Sometimes they would spray and brush, spray and brush, but sometimes they would just spray. What's in there? Valium? Anyway, you get the idea. Perfect fluff balls with two perfectly tipped-forward ears (between the four collie ears in our house, one of them bends forward properly), one elegant snout, and four beautiful, round feet.

I came home to this.

So today, while I watched San Diego and Green Bay lose (bleh), I brushed Scotty like they said in the book -- mostly against the grain, and with a plain water spray (that's supposed to suffice in a pinch, they say). He looked a little peeved, but lovely. Then I started to work on the feet. I trimmed the hair as roundly as I could and then went for the nails. I don't like trimming his nails. He has many black ones, and you can't tell where the quick is. And when you find the quick by mistake, it hurts like hell (normal dogs squeal as if you chopped their foot off, collies pull their foot away and look at you as if you have betrayed them). Scotty pulled his foot away, but I didn't notice the blood until there were big red spots all over the carpet.

Frequent readers might remember a similar post involving Annie. I'm going to have to ask around about a professional groomer before I maim again.

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