Grooming is one of the things us volunteers have to do. It might not be the typical grooming, as you have it in mind (like preparing a Poodle Standard for a dog show for example), but the results can be unbelievably amazing – and we are given a chance to even have fun!
So grooming is basically about the hair. And hair will just be hair, but for some dogs, hair is a burden, hair is extra weight, hair is dirt and mud, hair is a tick and flee nest, hair needs to go! Long haired dogs living as strays or being simply neglected turn into matted, unrecognizable ball of dirt, and their once beautiful fur is what is torturing them the most.
Long haired dogs living as strays or being simply neglected turn into matted, unrecognizable ball of dirt
When dogs like Combo or Malu arrive at the shelter, the first thing they need is grooming. Hair is what makes a long haired dog who he is, but in these cases hair actually made them look so terrible that it makes you wonder how have they been living with themselves for so long.
I am always excited when I help in grooming. First of all, once the hair starts falling off, the mystery underneath it starts being revealed. Usually, a tick nest is discovered. Hiding under it’s fur, ticks had found the best camouflage. In his case, we discovered something even worse: two stitches on the back of his neck, from the removed microchip…
how have they been living with themselves for so long?
Apart from that, grooming a matted dogs like them makes you realize their actual size. Once the hair is gone, only half of the dog is left! Sometimes, like in Marcel’s case, the hair were even bigger in size than the dog himself!
once the hair starts falling off, the mystery underneath it starts being revealed
Then, after disposing off the hair and “taking care” of the parasites, they are given a bath. And it feels so relieving. They rarely seem to actually enjoy it, but I am sure they feel better afterwards. Fresh water runs down their bodies for the first time in ages. They are clean, lighter and ready to cuddle.
Abandonment is one difficult thing to cope with, when you are a pet dog, but having your own body as an extra disadvantage, is heartbreaking.
Why is it so sad?
We bred and keep breeding long haired dogs, because we like it. And they are beautiful to look at and pet. But long hair like this, with no human there to groom it, makes it impossible for them to have a healthy life. Isn’t that sad? In a way, long hair is sad, for the same reason smashed in faces, extra long ears and other characteristics we developed for them are. They are not natural. Anything that prevents a dog from making it alone on the streets is sad. Abandonment is one difficult thing to cope with, when you are a pet dog, but having your own body as an extra disadvantage, is heartbreaking.
Anyway, grooming a dog like them is fun. Well, it is as much fun as it is sad, but the results are so relieving. Sometimes we have to wait for months for a dog to pose for his after photo, but in these cases, it’s like we’re magicians, and with the blink of an eye, we transform them. That’s fun!
Malu’s grooming session: