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Hairy Dogs

 

My Mom likes when Cricket is so fluffy you can barely see that there’s a dog in there, but I actually prefer to be able to see her eyes. And I prefer when poop doesn’t stick to her butt.

Cricket in full fluff (in her cousin's iron grip).

Cricket in full fluff (in her cousin’s iron grip).

Cricket has, more than once, been shaved down to the pink. I feel so guilty when she gets matted enough for that, but I try to remind myself that: a, this is what her hair is prone to; and, b, she thinks the comb and the brush are instruments of evil.

Cricket, shaved down to size.

Cricket, shaved down to size.

Combing seems to genuinely cause Cricket pain, maybe because of the cottony texture of her hair. I think I’d have to oil her down every day to keep her hair from knotting, and she would, inevitably, rub herself against every surface in the apartment, including me, to get the oil off..

I used to try electric clippers on her, but they snagged in her hair, and then overheated, before I could get much done. I’ve tried spray conditioners, but she thinks I’m poisoning her and bares her teeth at me, which leads to getting the conditioner in her mouth, which probably does taste a bit like poison.

"You're killing me!"

“You’re killing me!”

But, despite all of that trouble, I think Cricket’s hair is what makes people ooh and ahh over her. People ask about her when we walk her at the beach. They want one just like her. There’s something about the poodle mixes – the Cockapoos and the Golden Doodles and the Maltipoos, and on and on. Something about that loose fluffy curly hair makes them so irresistible. It’s like a gallon jug of oxytocin has just been poured down your throat and you have to pet that dog.

That hair!

That hair!

Butterfly’s hair is thicker and has more natural oils in it than Cricket’s. It rarely mats. It does absorb odors very well though. She often smells like stale chicken and corn chips, which is odd, because I never feed her corn chips.

Butterfly, dreaming of corn chips.

Butterfly, dreaming of corn chips.

The other thing she can smell like is pee, but putting her in the sink for a rinse is not a big deal. Cricket has to cover her eyes, or hide under the bed, to avoid the visual trauma of seeing another dog take a bath, but Butterfly just stands in the sink and shivers a little bit. She doesn’t even mind smelling like shampoo, or having her tushy hair trimmed while she’s there.

"What's a bath?"

“What’s a bath?”

The only problem with cutting Butterfly’s hair at home is that her hair is so straight that all of my mistakes are obvious. On Cricket, the curls hide some of the unevenness, but I had to trim Butterfly’s hair around her eyes and nose recently, and there are now bald patches. On her face.

"What's wrong with long hair?"

“What’s wrong with long hair?”

When Cricket’s hair starts to get fluffy, but not yet fluffy enough to put her through the trauma of a hair cut, she seems to fluff up only in particular places. Her face, for example, doubles in width. Not only are her eyes made into tiny black dots, but her cheeks spread out. The other places where she puffs out are her back legs, at the hip area. She’s suddenly a voluptuous female, with a big butt, wide hips and a tiny waist, which is very much at odds with her tomboy personality.

But in full fluff, Cricket looks like a lamb. And the fact is, when she’s in the mood to snuggle, she acts like a lamb too. She’s soft and sweet and cozy, and she’s generous with her fluff, sharing warmth with her sister and her people.

Snuggle happy.

Snuggle happy.

It’s almost time for another haircut, but I’ve been putting it off. I just need a little bit more snuggle time before she goes back to her no nonsense tomboy hair.

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

108 responses »

  1. I love snuggly dogs. I kiss mine over and over. I feared they would get sick of my kisses, but they love them. They even come over and lean on a leg or arm to give me the hint that they’d like some more hugs and kisses. When I comply, they close their eyes and sigh in bliss. It makes all my troubles disappear.

    Reply
    • I remember when Butterfly discovered scratchies. At first she wasn’t sure she wanted people to touch her, or get too close, but then she saw Cricket getting scratched and decided to try it out. Oh my God! The joy on her face!

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  2. I giggled all the way through this because I just so relate taking them to the groomers and/or trying to do things myself! 🙂

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    • Cricket has taught me the value of leaving some things to the experts. She is a very tough customer. And Butterfly just loves going to the groomer. She loves the people and the dogs and the cat and whatever they do while I’m not there.

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  3. Rachel, your dogs are so sweet, and it’s easy to see how wonderful it would be to cuddle with them. I like it best when our Yorkie -Chon’s coat is longer and fluffy, but in the summer months we get him a puppy cut — a really short cut. But I’m always glad when it gets cooler so he can grow it out!

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    • I tried letting Cricket have longer hair one winter, so she went out and collected snowballs up and down her legs. She loved it. And then she found out that I was going to put her in the sink to melt off the snowballs. Not such a happy camper after that.

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  4. How are they about having their nails cut? Or don’t you have to, because they go out so much? When our house cats needed their nails cut, life became a two-person nightmare, which went away only when we at last broke down and hired someone from the local animal shelter to come give them a pedicure once a month. Cheaper than my pedicures. too. Although cats, of course, don’t get polish.

    Reply
    • They get their nails done when they go in to the groomer for haircuts. Cricket would rip my fingers off if I tried to cut her nails, again. I used to be so ambitious about doing it all myself, but I learned.

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  5. Just an FYI – the corn chip odor is from bacteria on their feet (maybe between their toes, I forget) and it isn’t contagious or dangerous in any way. I take my guy to the groomer every 5 weeks because he won’t let us trim his hair or his nails. He yells and screams as if I’m torturing him, yet the groomer says he is a well-behaved little gentleman while he’s there. And we have to take his big sister to the vet for nail trims. They both have black nails and it takes at least 3 people to cut Peanut’s nails.

    Reply
    • I wonder why Butterfly has the corn chip bacteria and Cricket doesn’t. So interesting! We once made the mistake of asking the vet to cut Cricket’s nails. First they tried a muzzle, which she tore off immediately. then they tried the two person team, but they would have done better with a third person, if only to cover their ears while Cricket screeched. they didn’t exactly say never to ask them to do her nails again, but it was implied in they stared at her afterwards.

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  6. They are still beautiful.

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  7. We go back and forth on the pros and cons of fluffy dog vs. trimmed dog. I tend to fluffy. I also find it funny that Maltese smell exactly like Fritos when they start needing a bath.

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  8. It’s the same here, in the horde. Booker and Gus look so cute when they have more fur. But, when I do have them groomed, it’s a shave down so they don’t have to do it again.

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    • Cricket seems to be more comfortable once the hair is gone, but she would never admit it. She wants me to believe she has been tortured by the groomer and I have to give her presents for weeks to make it up to her.

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  9. Oh, how I wish my crazy little rescue dog would just stand in the sink for her bath! Lovely post; thanks for a great read.

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  10. Cricket in full fluff (in the iron grip) is adorable! Cutting their nails…It takes two of us to cut Parker’s nails and even then it might take a couple days to get them done. It is amazing how strong a little one gets when she wants out!! This post so made me laugh. Good one, Rachel.

    Reply
    • Thank you! You have an amazing amount of patience to keep trying the nails for days at a time. Cricket might be caught once, but ever after she recognizes some look on my face that tells her to run under the couch and get her teeth ready for biting.

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  11. Such a sweet snuggle happy dog! 😀

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  12. I’m spared the trip to the rip-off fur stealers for a while. There will be no fur cuts while I recover from my melanoma and toe amputation because of it. Note to all dogs out there-don’t do it-you’d rather go through even a bad fur cut.

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  13. Chienne is a short hair but the Man being a Maltese is a Long Hair. I am going to try and learn how to cut his hair because none of the groomers will take him. Well, he is a Maltese Terrorist after a. Actually, no – the reasons are much more mundane – the groomer is afraid of hurting him because of his arthritis and the fact that he is slowly loosing control of his back legs. So, I will have to learn how to groom him myself.

    Reply
    • Butterfly’s pretty good at sitting still for a little hair cutting, I just don’t have the hand eye coordination to do a good job, especially with Cricket standing nearby critiquing my work. But I have to use scissors with her; the noise of the clippers freaks her out. Good luck!

      Reply
  14. I have just picked my fluffy little dog up from the place where she stayed in the summer holidays while I was in England. They had clipped all the fur around her bum, and on her tail, and have cut off all her cute little tufts (she’s a very tufty dog)! She looks totally different. At least the dreadlocks behind her ears are gone now, but I definitely prefer her with a fluffy tail. Hopefully it will grow back soon….

    Reply
    • When Cricket first went to the groomer as a puppy, after getting very, very fluffy and matted, she was completely unrecognizable. I sat on the floor and cried because she looked like a stranger. She even smelled like a stranger. They even put a bow in her hair!

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  15. Brilliant post. Made me laugh out loud 🙂

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  16. I love your dogs, fluffy or otherwise, they are such characters!
    Maggie’s not keen on having a shower or a bath, but loves the hairdryer afterwards. She will sit and preen herself into position to get the best effect from the warm air, and we all know that dogs smile when they’re happy!

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    • Cricket’s favorite thing about bath time, after she’s been forced into it against her will, is when she leaves the bath and runs screaming around the apartment, attacking the beds, and being chased with towels. She really likes to express herself!

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  17. Kemo Sabe has bought new clippers to use on me soon. Hoping we’ll save some trips to the salon!

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  18. Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Awesome and thank you for sharing have a blessed day

    Reply
  19. Great post 🙂 I kind of prefer the fluffy look for cuddles! I’m so grateful to have found a good groomer for ours. And the bonus is that I can vacuum undisturbed while they’re out of the house!

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    • Thank you! When we finally found a groomer who could manage Cricket, without hurting her or getting hurt, it was an incredible relief. Cricket, the brave, hides from the vacuum cleaner. She doesn’t even try to bark at it or bite it, she runs under the couch.

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  20. fluffy with perfect black paws pads, I do not think I would like getting hair cuts. I am skinny and sleek, but poofy and cuddly is fun too

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  21. All my dogs threw out my life have always let me do whats needed for grooming to them. My GS mix BabyGirl always gets her brushes and insists on being brushed everyday.She even lets me scrape tarter of her teeth. I have always tried to build up trust with all my dogs and when letting me doing unpleasant tasks I am extra careful not to cause any pain.I get to worried it will break the trust we established.Midnight taught BabyGirl to jump in the tub herself. I am glad because it is hard for me to get her 65 lbs in the tub. Midnight loves water where as BabyGirl thinks it is unpleasant and puts up with it. Both love after their bath and act like puppies on the loose! When they have gotten cut or burdock’s on them(they hike a lot and play in woods a lot) they will come to me to help them. I like that feeling of trust they have with me.I have managed to build that trust with all my dogs threw out my life.

    Reply
    • Wouldn’t it be awesome if Cricket brought her brush to me to get her hair done every day?! I worked hard with her when she was a puppy, pairing treats with bath time and grooming, and she still jumps right into the bath tub eagerly. But, that’s it. She believes she should be able to relax in the tub and eat her chicken treats without being bothered.

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  22. I felt horrible leaving my dog at a groomer but don’t have the nerve to do it myself so she has the paw spa come to the house. I am calling her Ms. dirty face right now. She may have to jump in the sink for a quick bath today.

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  23. Oh My cuteness. She is adorable!

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  24. Must be a mum thing. I love our old Cavalier James all scruffy and fluffed out with feathery feet and tail but No 1 Daughter likes to see him all neatly clipped…so it will soon be clippers out time as No 1 is visiting next weekend! Cricket and Butterfly are gorgeous and James thanks them for the term ‘tummy scratchies’ the new name for our morning ritual of (less imaginatively named) tummy rubs. Moke xx

    Reply
    • If Cricket would let me braid her hair, I might be willing to let the hair cut go a bit longer… She’s training me to do long massage sessions, but if I dare to pull on her hair, even a little bit, she snaps. Those teeth are scary!

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  25. Such beautiful dogs. When I was looking into getting dogs I did check what grooming they need…I can get lazy…the beagle just needs a brush, the border terrier’s coat is a little more work than some sites led me to believe. As long as I use the stripping comb on him once a week it’s not a problem and saves me a fortune getting it done at the groomers…some won’t even take border terriers because of the time it takes. I need to snip around his butt so that I don’t have to remove poop from his fur so I totally relate to not wanting to let the fur get that long.

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    • It’s amazing how different hair can be from one dog to another. Cricket’s breeder was sure I’d have no trouble at all, and showed off how easy it was to clip her nails right in front of me. But once Cricket came home she discovered the word no, and just hasn’t stopped using it since then.

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  26. Your posts always make me think of my little schnauzer poodle mix. I miss her every day even after more than ten years. During the hot Texas summer I would have her shaved down, but she was either embarrassed or cold because she always brought me her sweater to put on when her hair was so short!

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  27. Rachel, Cricket is exactly the kind of dog my Mom would love. Great photos. Since I posted my blog about the new addition to our household, I have been on the Internet and phone constantly, trying to find a vet at which I can get Silky her shots (she is apparently due for all of them) early so I can get her to the groomer at 10. I think I found one. Then she will only need to be spayed. Then a new license. Then my Mom will say she doesn’t like having two dogs and it will be my sisters turn to handle it…..lol.

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  28. I like to see (and feel) little white dogs when they are in full coat. They are soft and cuddly. Whenever I trim Chicki back with clippers, she feels so prickly. But I guess that too much fur is troublesome for our pets when the weather warms up.

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  29. Haha, so funny. Bailey’s hair gets matted super easily and he, too, thinks the brush is the devil. My parents doggie-sat him this weekend and he froze during a walk because he got a piece of poo stuck on his bottom. Heheh.

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    • Such sensitive little pooches. Any word, or movement, that makes Cricket think it might be bath time, an she runs and hides. God forbid I say something like, “you have a poopy butt!”

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      • It’s uncanny how much they understand! Sometimes I will only have to THINK of brushing Bailey and he will run away and avoid me like the plague. Happened again just last week. I hadn’t gotten the brush out or anything–just went to pick him up for a brushing and that little pooper knew I was up to no good. 😉

  30. I love a fuzzy dog. Bell has short hair and never needs a haircut, she just sheds all over the house continually. I grew up with cockerpoos and they had wonderfuly long curly cuddly hair. Miss those days.

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  31. Marcos, may he RIP had paw pads that smelled like Fritos, and according to an informal poll I’ve taken, everybody’s dogs have paw pads that smell like Fritos. Sniff the bottom of Cricket’s feet and you’ll probably find she smells like Butterfly.

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  32. Ah, grooming! We used to have an Afghan called Gus. His hair had the power to mat almost instantly, so brushing was a daily chore, and one he hated. If the brush got caught he used to emit a sound like an air-raid siren, mournful and wavering, as if he was an old soul that had resigned itself many years ago to a life of pain. He rarely responded to itches as other hounds do, but in extremis would scratch an ear, inevitably get his claws entangled in the hair surrounding it, and hobble around on three legs until we came to his rescue.

    Nice that Butterfly has her own conditioner, as it were; that certainly helps. She must be getting those corn chips somewhere, though!

    Reply
    • Poor Gus! Cricket made the air raid siren sound when the vet tried to take the hair out of her ears once, only once. The vet found the experience too traumatizing, for him, and never did it again.

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  33. I love getting my dogs groomed, it’s like getting new dogs back again. Both are long haired dogs too, so they need it every 3 months or so (more in the summer, less in the winter). They hate when we bath or clip them, but I think they’re better behaved with strangers.

    Reply
    • When we go to the groomer there are always a few Golden Doodles on hand, standing on the grooming table, towering over the groomer with a smile, and by the time we come back to pick up the girls the doodles are skinny and shivering, but still smiling.

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  34. I’ve just tweeted this post. I’m sure that many dog-owners will love it!

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  35. Perhaps there’s a reason for the expression “hair of the dog.” No matter what sort of hair a dog has it seems to have issues. The non-sheddy sort like poodles and bichons have tangles and grooming issues like Cricket.. The others shed all over. I have the sheddy sort of dog, and my sister has dubbed my car the furmobile. No amount of vacuuming or lint rollers will ever remove all her velcro hair from my car.

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    • I was still finding black hair in the corners of my apartment months after my black lab mix died. It was like finding little messages from her stuck in the floor.

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      • Mumsy's Little Chancy Man

        Those two little sweeties are adorable no matter the length of their hair. Reading this post brought back memories of when we had poodles and their hair cutting experiences, Hugs and nose kisses

  36. I have never had fluffy dogs like Cricket or silky dogs like Butterfly; they are both so very pretty. My four dogs have all been short haired; the lab, the German Shepard, the beagle and now Jack, though it didn’t mean that they didn’t shed, I could have made tons of sweaters over the years lol.

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  37. All adorable… My best friend, writing supporter, constant companion Mason is a white Teddy Bear. These babies remind me of him so much. Thank you for sharing. ajm

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  38. Rachel, I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I am sure that I am not the first to do so, but your blog is one of my faves and I’d be remiss in failing to recognize your superb writing style, not to mention your heart and soul. http://amapofcalifornia.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    Reply
  39. Love those fluff-bunny cuddling pups! Sam seems to like his grooming and bath sessions when he realizes it means sleeping in my bed with me or a trip to the hospital to visit patients. But trust me, we’ve all made grooming mistakes and more than once I’ve nicked a pup to my chagrin. I always feel super guilty and spend hours beating myself up for it. Guilt is a terrible companion to a dog mom. 😉

    Reply
    • There’s a video being passed around lately of a dog getting a bath, and just loving every minute of it, like a princess being washed by her lady’s maid. I dream of my girls enjoying bath time like that, or even just tolerating it, but it hasn’t happened so far.

      Reply
  40. I have found that my dogs and cats seem to like the Furminator tool if combing must be done. I’m not going to say my Springer loves it or anything but she doesn’t hate it quite as much as other tools. That being said, we live on a farm and farm dogs aren’t show dogs so the Springer gets to roll in the creek and the mud and still be loved like a princess. Cute blog about your kiddos!

    Reply
  41. She’s very cute! I know what you mean about the struggles with combing, etc. — I have a long-haired cat who absolutely can’t stand it. I’ve had to get her shaved professionally too when necessary…anyway, enjoyed your post and the adorable pictures!

    Reply
  42. I swear Zush( my 12 y/o golden/collie mix) used to walk around the dog park telling the other dogs”Yes, my mom put a bowl on my but to trim my butt hair….. I feel your skills!

    Reply
  43. So cute. With and without fluff

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  44. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for returning to my blog. I’ve been thinking of yours as we’ve welcomed Lady into our family.
    My daughter is very sensitive to having her hair brushed and it tangles very easily despite using conditioner. A friend put me onto a round plastic hairbrush called a Nu Brush which is made in Australia and is dirt cheap at $2.00 each. It works a treat. Might be good for dogs too. Don’t know and not sure whether you could find one overseas. Hope that helps xx Rowena

    Reply
  45. I’ve just tweeted this lovely post. 🙂 I hope your blog stats are up. 🙂

    Reply
  46. Reblogged this on "Alzheimer's: Through My Mothers Eyes" and commented:
    Priceless ! and so incredibly funny – thank you for share !

    Reply
  47. I’ve just tweeted this and added your name as a hashtag. This sometimes brings more attention to the tweet. Best of luck 🙂

    Reply
  48. Dogs usually act better when Mommy isn’t around, like at the groomer. My ex sister-in-law is a groomer. She said when the parents want to watch the dogs act up. When the parents drop them off– they’re angels! Thankfully mine don’t require haircuts, and for the most part they do their own nails. Figures. I used to own and operate a hair salon, so haircuts would be no big deal. Too bad I didn’t live closer to you. Maybe I could’ve helped you out.

    Reply
    • Cricket is the exception to every rule. She’s as grumpy with other people as she is with me. When she first started going to the good groomer her hair cut had to be done on two separate days, because she was such a terror the first, very long, day. She had to come home with the hair on her body trimmed and the hair on her head still a crazy mess. That’s when they politely told us to ask the vet for a sedative.

      Reply
  49. I have just tweeted this lovely post. 🙂

    Reply
  50. On an unrelated matter, I have always enjoyed your blog. That’s why I just nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Check out my blog today if you choose to accept it. You are not obligated to.

    Reply

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