I have to admit, I spent a lot this weekend. Mind you, it’s not like I went on a buying binge or anything; I went out and intentionally bought things. But still, I spent more than my usual ~$130 that I give myself in spending money. My biggest expense? Dog clippers.
I always imagined myself as the single girl with the beautifully groomed dog. I’d drop her at the groomers every month or so, and pick her up freshly bathed and cut, with cute little bows in her hair. Everyone would think my dog was adorable. She’d probably even have cute little sweaters in the winter!
Reality completely shattered that dream the first time I took Hannah to the groomers. I got an urgent call from the groomers, and quickly went to pickup my girl, sopping wet and shaking uncontrollably. As it turns out, nothing freaks out my timid little dog more than the groomers. And nothing freaks groomers out more than a bug-eyed dog that’s having a panic attack. Mind you, she’s never gotten aggressive, or tried to bite. But apparently the possibility of popping eyeballs (yes, bug-eyed dog’s eyeballs will pop out if they become too stressed) or a possible stroke are enough to make even the most experienced groomers throw in the towel.
Our first experience was with a big box groomer. Then I tried a woman who did grooming out of her garage, who thought that a calmer, quieter atmosphere might help. After the third round of liquid poo (in one grooming session) she gave up. Which was disappointing… Hannah actually looked cute after that grooming session! I tried driving her to a friend’s small grooming salon an hour away; That worked for a while, until the friend decided she preferred being an owner to being a groomer. I even tried drugging her before grooming sessions, but that only seemed to make her hyper AND stressed.
After a lot of grief from others about not just grooming her myself, I finally gave in and bought a cheap pair of clippers. People seemed to be under the impression that she’d be calmer if I groomed her. This was not the case. She freaked whenever the clippers would start, and since they worked poorly anyways, I’d usually give up and scissor cut her. The poo, the drool, the occasional blood from a toenail cut too short. Not to mention the fact that, try as I might, it always looked terrible. Not “Oh, that haircut doesn’t really look good on you” terrible. More like “What the hell is wrong with your dog?!?” terrible.
For the last 4 or so years, every grooming session has been met with dread. I put it off longer than I should. I’m constantly looking for better alternatives. This weekend I finally decided that it was time to break down and buy a better pair of clippers. Maybe if I had a good set of clippers, it would at least go faster, making it a somewhat better experience for both of us? So, I went out and spent $100 on a nice pair of dog clippers. Granted, the $30-50 I save every time I groom her myself makes this expense more than worthwhile. But still, it felt like a huge amount of money to be spending in one pop!
I must admit, they’re worth the money. Well, kinda. In better suited hands, they’d be fabulous. In mine? Well, they actually ended up working much better than I was expecting. Which means Hannah immediately ended up with several closely shorn patches of fur. Oops!
I also decided to give drugging her another go. Benadryl is what has been suggested to me (check with your own vet before trying this yourself!), so I bought a bottle of liquid children’s Benadryl to test out. I tried it in her food, but apparently cherry doesn’t go well with turkey medley. I tried it in cream cheese, but she showed no interest. Finally I got out the syringe.
I waited an hour for it to kick in, and then went to grooming. And actually, it was by far the calmest she’s ever been! It could have been the Benadryl. It could have been the fact that she’s getting more adjusted to life in general, and less timid in general. It could have been the fact that she and the boyfriend stayed up all night watching TV, and she spent the day acting like she was going die from exhaustion. Who knows!
So, while expensive, the Benadryl and new dog clippers were money well spent. Granted, neither improved my grooming skills, and the poor dog still looks like she sat too close to a 3-year-old with a pair of scissors. But, luckily for me, her hair usually evens out within a week or two, and then it should be a little less noticeable. Or so I like to pretend.
Are there frugal choices you make not by choice? Any suggestions on grooming a Pekingese?
– Cindy W.