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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The wonder - and woes - of a longhaired dog.

The Swamp Monster arose from the bog again yesterday. In other words, Jake, my little Shih Apso, or Sh*tty Asbo as I called him yesterday, got into the biggest, stinkiest, most foul, boggy area of Cwmdonkin Park imaginable. He was off the lead at the time, when he met up with a playful female Jack Russell, and her equally playful housemate, a big, hairy Newfoundland. Despite all my best efforts, and those of my downstairs neighbour, who was with me at the time, he refused to return when called.

The two other dogs headed for an area of the park that is, quite frankly, a stinking great quagmire, as it has been churned up by the tyres of the park-keepers' vehicles. Jake bounced along with his new friends. My main fear at the time, was that the huge Newfoundland would decide he was an afternoon snack. Luckily, the big dog either wasn't hungry, or wasn't vicious.

I had climbed to the very top of the park, when Jake sped off after the two dogs. Five minutes of yelling 'see ya, bye Jake', which usually brings him running back to me, terrified he's about to be left behind, produced no results. So, I had to hoof it down the steep hill, and spent another five minutes, with the help of the owner of the other two dogs, trying to catch the little devil. When Jake doesn't want to be caught, it's amazing how fast his short, stumpy little legs can run.

I finally managed to grab his harness, and leash him up. Horror of all horrors, his legs, tail and belly were utterly caked in dark, sticky mud. I'm not talking a light coating here, he was utterly sodden with it. Not even last week's walk across muddy fields got him into that state.

Being a Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso hybrid, Jake has the most beautiful coat ever, and I'm very reluctant to have him clipped right back. But he's not the easiest dog to groom, as he's very strong-willed, and not all that used to grooming. Until he came to live with me, I don't think his coat was regularly attended to, so I'm more or less having to start from scratch in getting him to tolerate it. I'm having a nightmare sorting him out after yesterday's fiasco.

He left the house tangle-free. I wish I could say the same about his return. Because of the state he was in, I immediately bathed him when we got home. Somehow, he managed to tangle up his lovely tail during his play session with the other dogs, probably due to all the static that builds up in his fur. As I bathed him, I had to pick out endless leaves, twigs and other debris. He also had knots on his belly, in his armpits and on his legs. I've had my brushes, comb and thinning scissors on him, and got rid of most of the mess, apart from a big clump at the base of his tail. It's removeable without shaving, but getting the little devil to stay still is a nightmare. I'm determined to get him sorted, though.

He will need a full, professional grooming when the weather warms up a bit, probably into a teddy cut, but I am NOT shaving his beautiful tail for love nor money! I see so many Shih Tzus and Lhasas around with their coats clipped right back, and their lovely tails shaved bald. I HATE it. Why get a long-haired dog, only to shave off its crowning glory? Jake's coat may be slightly high maintenance, but it's no great hardship to groom him every day. As it's only a few inches long, it only takes a few minutes - unless he does his Swamp Monster routine.

Anyway, enough doggy waffle for now. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We feel for you. Our two loved to get into a fox tunnel where we lived after leaving the island. It took a hose turned on them to remove the filth. I was easier when we could stand them in the sea to wash them and let them swim, but ashore... ! Absolute pains.