Dog's life! Don't talk to him about a dog's life

August 11, 2005|By KEVIN COWHERD

THIS IS A STORY about the old dog in my house who exists now mainly to sleep all day and rack up huge veterinary and grooming bills.

I'll tell you this: When the dog gets his hair cut, he's treated better than the president of the United States.

Here's what happens: First, a big white van pulls up to the house. Then a woman comes to the front door and gets the dog and carries him into the van.

Carries him! The dog doesn't even have to walk! Tell me something: Does this ever happen to you?

Do the people from, say, the Hair Cuttery ever pull up to your house in a big RV and knock on your door and say: "We're here for your 11 o'clock?"

No, of course not.

And if they did, would they ever say: "No, stay there, we'll carry you outside?" But this is how the dog gets treated.

So now the dog is in an air-conditioned dog-grooming van, with carpeting and nice music playing, the whole bit. They might even have magazines for the dog to read, I don't know.

They might even serve the dog gourmet coffee.

I've never been back there, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, for the next 45 minutes, the dog lounges around in the van and gets his hair cut.

Then the groomer carries the dog back into the house, and of course he looks like a million bucks and smells like it, too.

And do you know what the dog does then?

After being carried around and groomed and pampered with the air-conditioning and the music and the magazines and gourmet coffee and everything?

He takes a nap!

Yes! He acts like he's exhausted!

Like he's been pulling a sled in the Iditarod all morning!

Like he just climbed through the Alps with a keg of brandy under his chin to save a stranded hiker!

Here the dog has done absolutely nothing all morning, has burned maybe two calories, and that was probably moving from one overstuffed chair to the next.

But he's so beat he has to lie down and go to sleep. I've never seen anything like it.

In recent months, the dog also seems to be having control issues when it comes to his grooming.

After his last haircut, for example, the groomer told me: "He doesn't like having his face cut."

"Beg pardon?" I said.

"You can tell it irritates him," she continued. "I only cut a little bit."

So it's come to this, I thought.

It's actually come to the point where the dog is now dictating how his hair will be cut.

It's actually come to the point where the dog is saying, in effect: What is your problem with facial hair?

What is the next step here?

Is the next step the dog handing the groomer a photo out of Dog & Kennel magazine, as if to say: "There. Make me look like that?"

What kind of a world do we live in where it's the dog calling the shots on his haircut?

But I didn't say any of this to the groomer.

The groomer doesn't need to know the dog has control issues about how he looks.

The groomer doesn't need to know that the dog and I are butting heads on whiskers and such.

So all I did was what I always do with this mutt, which is keep my mouth shut and write a check.

And if I told you how much the dog's haircuts cost, you'd laugh.

What is OPEC charging for a barrel of crude these days, 64 bucks? That's a steal compared to what I shell out for this mutt's grooming.

As I write this, the dog is sleeping on the couch in the next room, wiped out from another tough day of lying around after his latest grooming session.

And here's the thing: He'll have to go through it all over again in a couple of months.

I don't know how he does it.

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