The Art of Grooming Grover

Our small white dog has turned into a giant pain in the patootie of late. Not only is he a sneaky runner EVERY time he gets a chance but he needs a bath and a haircut following several of those outings. Remember that old poster from the turn of the 20th century offering a shave and a haircut for five cents? Well, it's not that way for humans anymore and it sure as heck isn't for dogs.

We hadn't a clue when we fell in love with the small white hairy dog. We didn't understand that grooming was going to be part of the deal but quickly learned that it was. Averaging $35 to $50 every six weeks, our little guy has become a budget line of his own. Don't get me wrong... he's worth every penny but we're running low on those lately. It seems everything else in our world is going up in price... including Grover care. Our favorite groomer left this area to live closer to family in the Midwest so we have been searching for a replacement. Sounds easy enough but in Tillamook County it's just not.

In the meantime we are counting on friends and family to help out until we can find another groomer. We could learn how to do this ourselves. This makes me laugh a lot. We used to groom one of our basset hounds but gosh that was several years ago. The other day I tried to brush Grover and he showed me all of his cute little white teeth. REALLY? Not funny little buddy. I could brush a basset hound for six hours and they wouldn't move. They farted a lot but they held absolutely still for the exquisite pleasure of being brushed. What's not to love about that? I admit they were a little challenging in the bath tub but most 60lb short legged living things are. Imagine an alligator with hair … that's close to bathing a Basset.

Now back to the problem at hand. There's the biggest issue right now. My hands suck. They don't work right and don't want to. They are VERY stubborn about healing and arthritic enough to even keep me from giving myself the finger. Imagine how this must feel to an old rascal like me. I have every belief that in time my hands will heal but they won't be like they were before. This means I need to adapt and learn new ways to do things I used to do very well. Now I will do them not-so-well but to the best of my ability. We'll start with yard work, house work, cooking and yes... dog grooming. SHHHHH... I haven't told Grover yet.

As I write this column one of our long-time best buddies is grooming our dog. This man is very patient and very kind and right behind me. The only thing I can offer is the quiet rhythm of typing and moral support. Yes, I can type and I thank God for that ability each day. There are limits but hey, there are limits to every thing we do. We are all here together in the Shaffer office, utility room, entry closet, and newly formed grooming area. See what I mean? The sky seems to be the limit in here.

Now, back to the grooming. It went really well and our dog even got a bath. After running around and showing off his new do he attracted attention from the Neighbor Lady (also known as our daughter Shannon) and she added some finishing touches to Grover's diminishing head and face. As of this morning, I have decided to join in the fun and finish off what the others have started. Why? I can't see his eyes. If I can't see them it causes me to wonder what he is seeing. Just to keep the little bugger from running into things I feel obligated to trim the hair around his eyes.

This may sound easy enough to you but Grover catches on to my schemes through his super brain power and runs under the bed, where he holds up like the Butch Cassidy gang until he believes we have given up. Yesterday our volunteer groomer lost his target dog and yelled from the bedroom, "He's not making eye contact." This is how we know that Grover has supreme power over all of us. How is this possible? When did it happen? How did he come to rule our lives?

Oh sure, all you dog groomers, trainers and people who have control over your pets are totally disgusted by this whole deal. You'll call your obedient pet over, give them a good petting and tell them how smart they are. You will also quietly congratulate yourself on being an awesome dog owner with a brilliant dog.

Here? We'll be trying to make eye contact with Grover so we can trim his hair so we can think he can see us. God made some fools here.

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