Monday, August 25, 2014

Fur Babies: A Glimpse Into the Future

Most parents with actual children shake their heads and groan when parents with fur babies aka dogs (or cats, whatever your flavor) equate their experiences. You can just see the judgement on actual parents' faces: there's no way a dog is the same as child! I can't really argue with them, either. Dogs are a separate species, after all. But sometimes my experiences with Henry, my fur baby, give me a glimpse into the parent I might become someday. And sometimes, the glimpse is a little scary.

Take for example Henry's first trip to the groomer in Jacksonville. I have very specific expectations for how I want my poodle groomed, so finding him a groomer gave me almost as much anxiety as finding myself a hair salon. I definitely want a groomer who will listen to my wishes, because I don't have Henry groomed in the traditional male-poodle style. Most male poodles are given a Teddy Bear cut, which looks like this:

Basically, the body is cut short but the groomer leaves a little mustache on the muzzle. I think this is a cute cut, but I like to see my poodle's sweet little pointy face. I request poodle face and feet, which just means the face and paws are cut closely. Apparently, this makes my poodle look more like a girl because we always get, "awww, she's so pretty!!!" whenever we take Henry in public. Sorry, Henry. I think that is just your lot in life.

Sometimes I DO have to make my poodle look pretty. In Henry's defense, he hates it
I first attempted to find a groomer with Google. One place near our house had an almost even split of reviews: about half of the reviewers loved it, and the other half said the groomer cut their dog unevenly. I went to the groomer's Web site and saw pictures of her work, which I was pleased with. So I decided to take the chance and call for an appointment. I took Henry in with high hopes, but left feeling concerned.

Now, some people have described me as "prissy". I guess that's partly true, but I like to think of it as having standards. In this case, the man smoking a cigarette outside my fur baby's groomer sent alarm bells ringing in my head. What kind of business lets customers carry their dogs through a cloud of cigarette smoke??? Also, the place itself was a little dingy with paneling all over the walls. I've been in some hole-in-the-wall businesses and loved the food or services I received there, so I tried to overlook the surroundings. I should have known better!

When I came to pick Henry up, I just wanted to get him out of there as fast as possible. I gave him a quick once-over, paid and left through another cigarette smoke cloud. But when I got home, I saw the damage that groomer did to my poodle:

It may be a little hard to tell from this photo what happened, so let me describe it. First of all, they gave Henry a girly bandana, even though they trimmed him everywhere, so they know he's a boy. They also butchered his fur: he had uneven streaks down his back and long hairs sprouting between his toes. They also didn't trim the top of his snout, so he had trimmed fur everywhere else on his face, but a forest over his nose!!!

I was livid. I didn't go back to that place, because I didn't even trust them to have the expertise to fix the damage. So I just had to let it grow out and find another groomer.

What did I learn about my future parenting skills from this experience? I'm going to be one of those anal mothers. I mean really, in the grand scheme of life, it doesn't really matter how my dog is groomed (except I paid good money for it to be done right), yet it matters tremendously to me. But instead of being anal, maybe it just means I will look after the welfare of my children and make sure they don't look a hot mess when they leave the house.

And that's a good thing, right?