What about the other 25%? Well, I can safely say it just ain't gonna happen. You see, Loki hates being groomed. And by "hates", I mean... a grooming session with Loki is almost always a full-on contact sport that typically ends with Loki in a pretzel hold between my knees, trying desperately to get away, while I'm simultaneously trying desperately to get even one brush stroke through his Rastafarian-like coat of hair.
Because, unlike Max, who joined me as a puppy open to learning about the potential joys of grooming, Loki came to me slightly older, slightly more worldly, and much more cynical about what a brush and scissors mean to his sense of security.
So, in recent years, we've reached a compromise that seems somewhat fair to all. We avoid the regular games of tackle grooming, and instead opted to make it a once-a-year event in which Loki just gets sheared like a sheep. Less stressful for all involved. I prefer him in a full coat of fur, of course, but the stress for all involved to keep him that way just isn't worth it in the end. This makes us all one big happier family.
Unfortunately, the plan didn't work this time. Loki has gradually been turning into one huge walking mat - and spring shearing time is just too far away to hold out much longer. A few signs that it was time to break our grooming arrangement?
- You take him to the vet's office and feel the need to proactively defend his matted appearance, explaining how stressed he gets by being groomed, and that you instead just shave him down once a year.
- You also feel compelled to let them know that if a stray is brought in that looks like he's been on the street for quite some time, it's probably your dog - and that despite his appearance, you really do love him!
- Every time the dog passes by you, you feel compelled to start picking apart mats of fur with your fingers - which in turn means he decides he should probably stop walking near you!
Of course, one thing you learn early on with these dogs is that if you get one in the position for grooming, and you have their cooperation, the last thing you want to do is break the momentum and get up, or allow them to get up.
It took all my willpower to take advantage of this rare Loki opportunity. Because, you see, while I was grooming Loki, I could also hear all the chaos that was ensuing among Jeff, Tyler, and Austin downstairs....
Sure, there was some laughing, crying, and singing - all pretty typical.... Then there was "Oh no, TYLER! Oooo... " And about an hour later, came the intriguing, "No Tyler ... Tyler NO .... TYYYYLLLLEEERRRR ..... NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooOOOOO! #$%#*@#%$@!!!!!" This was promptly followed by the sound of Tyler crying, Austin crying, then the vacuum cleaner.
Hmm... Now, you know that can't be good.
I held my ground with Loki... but later had to get the scoop on that one... Evidently just after his bath, Tyler decided to use his plate full of dinner leftovers as a frisbee in the living room. 'Nuff said.
Gotta love kids.
But, on the bright side, Loki looks good.