mrsveteran (mrsveteran) wrote,

The Haircut

Awhile back, we used to have a groomer for Chewie. She was great -- had her own little mobile dog grooming van complete with everything she needed except power, and an extension cord to the house took care of that. Chewie would go in looking like a mutant grizzly bear cub and come out looking like a Cocker Spaniel. The groomer also did cute little "extra" things, like around Christmas, she'd dress the dogs up in a little Santa hat and take a picture of them with a holidayish backdrop and then send it to us. The dogs loved her, and she obviously loved the dogs.

Unfortunately, due to money issues, we started cutting back on various non-necessities, and the 40 bucks every couple of months for dog grooming was one of the things to go. We figured the dogs probably don't much care how they look, and, after all, how hard can it be to give a dog a haircut?

So, we picked up a set of dog clippers, and that was that. Somehow Charlie ended up being the one responsible for Chewie's grooming. Every couple of months or so (especially in warm weather), Charlie would take Chewie out to the carport, fire up the clippers, and create a pile of fur slightly larger than the original Chewie. Since we keep his hair in the mutant-grizzly-cub cut during the winter so he stays warm, people get used to him looking that way. The last time my Mom came over after he'd had a haircut, she exclaimed, "Oh! You got a new puppy!"

That was a bit upsetting to me, because when I looked out the door, all I saw was Chewie and Mom's little puppy. I was just about to say in one of those "let's all keep very calm" tones of voice, "No, Mom. That's YOUR puppy. Don't you remember?" when she said, "Oh, that's CHEWIE! I didn't recognize him."

I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief. Mom was not losing it after all. This was good.

Fast forward a couple of months. Charlie's out of school and working at a new job, which, as anyone can tell you, can be a stressful experience. Although he loves the job, he hasn't had much energy to do much of anything when he gets home, let alone a two to three-hour dog-shaving session.

So Chewie has gotten back to mutant grizzly mode, right in the full heat of August.


I'd been pondering this situation for some time. I didn't want to nag Charlie to clip the dog because I know he's been pretty wrapped up in work, but I felt a bit guilty watching Chewie sitting outside, even in the shade, and panting heavily under all that fur. What to do, what to do? I mean, dog grooming was a Charlie thing.

This morning, however, I just decided to take a shot. I'd gotten done with work early, and was feeling motivated. I went upstairs and got Chewie (who was sleeping in, as is his custom) and dragged him out to the carport whence I got the clippers and got ready to go.

How hard could it be, right? I mean, you take the clippers, you shave the dog down, maybe give him a bit of a bath with the hose, and you're done! Easy peasy.


Easy peasy.

I fired up the clippers and began with a reverse mohawk right down Chewie's back. No problems! I noticed, however, that some of the hair left seemed shorter than some of the other hair left. Okay, I thought, no big deal, and I swiped him again.

And again. And again. Hm. Maybe this wasn't as easy as it looked.

I took off a pile of fur slightly bigger than the original Chewie, and then went to try to sort of straighten out the rough spots. I learned that Chewie does not like you clipping the fur on his paws. I also learned that Chewie does not like you clipping the fur on his face or around his eyes and that, other than the collar, there's almost nothing to hang onto on a dog to keep his face still while you're trying to clip the freaking FUR around his eyes so he can see.

He is not particularly fond of you clipping the fur on his long, floppy ears either. Do you know how hard it is to clip a dog's fur when he's shaking his head like a maniac?

Okay. So, in summary, it wasn't as easy as it looked, but on the whole, very little blood was shed, considering. I tried to get it even, but every time I'd even out one spot, another uneven spot would show up. It was maddening. I tried and tried, but the damn dog STILL had little bits of fur sticking out in the oddest places.

I swear to all the gods that he was GROWING these tufts of fur on the spot when I wasn't looking.

After about three total hours of trying to get him even, I finally gave up and gave him a bath in the hopes that the water would make his fur sort of lay flat.

I still had one problem, though, and that was Charlie.

You see, Charlie apparently had some bad haircuts as a child, administered by his father, or father's Navy pals, or something. He was then forced to go out in public, to school and so forth, with said bad haircuts. This inspired him to vow that he would never make any child of his go out with a crappy haircut.

And, since we don't have actual human children, at some point this vow got transferred to Chewie.

When Charlie cuts the dog, he is extremely meticulous. He'll go over and over the same spots, delicately and precisely to make sure that the dog's fur is even and nicely groomed. He sits back and eyes his work critically every few minutes, with a gleam of serious concentration in his eye, just searching for that one spot of roughness that he can put down.

Chewie, by God, would NOT have to walk around in front of the other dogs looking like Dad cut his hair with a bowl and a pair of pinking shears, that's for DAMN sure.

So, at some point, Charlie would be home, and he would see the dog. This could actually end up being an unpleasant conversation for me.

I agonized about this for awhile, and then decided to take the easy way out.

I emailed him at work.

To: Charlie
From: Me
Subject: I messed up Chewie

I felt motivated and decided to give him a haircut.

Um ...

He is not looking sleek and coiffured.

At all.

No, instead, he kind of looks like he got into it with a dozen rabid
hair-eating gerbils.

Except without the blood.

So, like, just so you're warned.

On the good side, he doesn't seem to mind his new look ...

I sent the mail, knowing he was going out of town today and probably wouldn't get it until later.

I still haven't heard from him.

With any luck banshree will come and take me to the bookstore before he gets home, and we can just avoid this unpleasantness altogether.

I can always hope.
Tags: charlie, chewie, dogs, stories, the haircut

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