It wasn't the groomer's fault. Blame it all on the idiots who abandoned the poor little thing out in the country on that lonely road last winter. When we brought Zuzu home that day, I noticed -- once we'd MELTED ALL THE ICE OUT OF HER FUR -- that she had some substantially matted hair. Matted hair was something I was used to dealing with with Wimzie, who was a broken-coat Jack Russell. Wimzie's mats usually happened on her belly and her legs and I'd just carefully snip them off with scissors when I was grooming her with my pet clippers - Wimzie was violently opposed to groomers and tried to bite the one I took her to once, which is why I ended up with my own personal pet clippers and a very entertaining and instructive video titled "How to Groom Your Dog."
Anyway, when Zuzu had her first bath at our house, I noticed that some of the mats were biggish, but when I tried to brush her, she cringed and cried and I nearly cried myself, thinking hotly of some former "owner" who had pulled her fur and hurt her and scared her. Other mats were small and I clipped them off of her body in the same way I did with Wimzie. Zuzu was reconciled to this invasion of her modesty by the generous application of Pupperoni treats.
Over the past few months, the mats got worse, naturally. Here's a thing I didn't realize: poodle fur, which is what Zuzu has inherited from that end of the gene pool, along with the schnauzer face from the other side, is very high maintenance. I realized this after we got to our appointment at the groomer's studio and she looked at me pityingly and said, "Poodles have very high maintenance coats."
I brought Zuzu to the groomer's -- Kathy -- because it was clear that the mats weren't going to untangle themselves. Her outer chocolate-colored coat didn't look so bad, but her silvery undercoat was a mess. It was beyond what I felt I could attempt with my handy clippers, seeing as how my video didn't include a segment on How to Shear Your Dog Like a Sheep. So to Kathy's we went, Zuzu pleased as punch to be going on a car ride and me silently cussing at the money I was getting ready to be parted from. Funny, but my dad is approximately thirty miles away right now and I can hear his incredulous query: "You took the DOG to a GROOMER?" This is an item on his personal list that covers everything from lying in bed past seven o'clock for the sole purpose of reading a good book to going to more than two stores to find a pair of shoes. That list is titled Things That are Spoiled and Self-Indulgent and Leading to the Rapid Decline of Western Civilization.
Kathy removed nearly every hair on Zuzu's body, leaving her clean and untangled and looking NOTHING like the dog you see in the picture above. The only thing left on her face (yes, there were even mats in the under-fur on her beard and moustache) are her fluffy ears, which have been trimmed and carefully combed out. Kathy left enough of her bangs to affix a bright red ribbon, to which Zuzu is very partial, given her smug attitude. She also made Zuzu's tail, the only part of her that was really, really ugly, look somewhat cuter, like a lion's tail with a tuft at the end. Kathy's assistant bathed Zuzu, blow dried her remaining fur and sprinkled her with some kind of substance that makes her smell better than I do, even after she got wet outside this morning.
In spite of the royal treatment she received at Kathy's hands, looking at Zuzu makes the four of us here want to burst into tears. She doesn't look like her. But the funny thing is that she's not even acting like herself. She's always been bouncy and happy and sweet-tempered and energetic, but this morning when she exited from her crate, she positively bounded to the foyer like a white-tailed deer. She went outdoors to do her business and frolicked in the rain in a manner that I can only describe as Gene Kelly-esque. When I let her back in, she tore around the house like a dervish, emptying her toy basket in about three seconds and randomly throwing stuffed plushies up in the air and pouncing on them when they came back to earth. She literally did not stand still long enough for me to take a picture of her in her shaven state.
I would have thought that being shorn would have wounded her pride, but it has obviously done just the opposite. I have never seen a dog so full of ginger. If she had a soundtrack accompanying her this morning, I believe it would be something along the lines of Michael Bublé's "I'm Feelin' Good" -- "It's a new day, it's a new dawn, it's a new life for me....and I'm fee-e-e-elin'....goooooood." At the present moment, she has jumped up on "her" chair beside me as I type and settled into a contented, drowzy curl, chin pillowed on one of my husband's socks she filched from the basket of clean laundry that was waiting to be carried upstairs. She positively oozes well-being and I frankly wouldn't be too surprised if she suddenly pulled out an Audrey Hepburn-style cigarette holder and languidly asked me for a light. She's that relaxed.
It's making me feel that a gift certificate to the day spa for a massage and a mani-pedi might cure than sinking spell I get every day around five-thirty, which now requires a glass and a half of wine to pull me out of.