Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Groomer's Dread

Mr S, our formidable fourteen pound Shih Tzu has a “thing” with dog groomers. If it were up to him, he would not offer two cents for any of those overrated professionals. Furthermore he would say, “They do not realize that I, AM, the customer and have certain rights. Rights to be respected. The right to a suitable introduction before the attack on my dignity begins. Heck, most of those clipper whacking maniacs don’t even offer a good belly rub, much less a treat!”

Several professionals had breathed, with glazed eyes and in total exasperation, “Don’t–bother–bringing–him–back!” We realized then, a sedative may be in order before the next grooming; a sedative for the dog that is! “A half of a pill should do it,” the veterinarian assured us.
We quickly found out, half a pill did not keep him from clawing, snapping and snorting when the so-called experts messed with his fuzz around his face! A half pill may make him tolerate a napping cat in the next town, but scissors, an inch from his nose,––no way!
A whole pill, enough for a big dog to become slaphappy, was our next experiment. We administered the drug, cloaked inside a piece of white bread, one hour before the appointment with yet another grooming expert. Our daffy fellow was delivered into the waiting arms of the new pet lover!
An hour later, when the beautified package was promised to be picked up, I entered the parlor and was greeted by a bewildered proprietor. Mr S was latched in a head harness and shivering in rage. “I could not trim his toenails!” announced the groomer. “I’ve never before seen a stick of self assurance turn into a writhing pretzel!”
So, I helped hold the little fellow’s head tightly against my body while his toenails were being clipped. His eyes pleaded for mercy. I calmly reassured my brave buddy that the world was not coming to an end. Each time he felt a snip he imploringly looked up and let out a wail combined with whimpers and snorts. Howls of death filled the room. I’ve never heard such expressions of extreme agony. Much pity was evoked. Finally, tearful hugs all around ended the visit.
Mr S’s words to us, “That ought to be worth two treats!”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

S's Escape to a Wedding

Our Shih Tzu will not climb through the railing pickets on our deck. However, if the ground below is less than four feet from his nose he possibly would venture a jump–– if the reward was worth it. That is why, among other reasons, a dark green, decorative wire fence was added to the outside of the pickets on the lower deck.
In the Fall of the year, when the temperature is suitable, Mr S likes to bat around a few fallen crabapples. The deck is full of them. He chews on them, throws them into the air, and even takes a bite of some until the bitterness gets the best of him.
The old groundhog who lives under the shed has a different notion about the crabapples. He sought them not to play with, but to fill his belly. One day, Mr Groundhog was in the process of scaling the wire barrier when he realized the crabapples were guarded by mighty Mr S.
I did not witness the confrontation, nor did I spot any drops of blood, but I knew a battle had taken place. The wire fence, fairly stout and plastic coated, was mangled and skinned in one small area under the rhododendron. Teeth had obviously snagged portions of the wire and pulled it outward, yet within inches the wire had been yanked toward the inside as well. I can just imagine, two fourteen pound titans going at each other hanging two feet off the deck floor, snarling, clawing and trying to rip each other’s ear off. Mr S lost his two front teeth that day.
As I mentioned, the wire fence was added also for other reasons. Well, earlier in the year, on a pleasant day, Mr S was not allowed to ride in the car with us. He was delegated to spend the afternoon on the deck. Poor thing, our faithful little spark plug, did not get his wish that day. Having been outranked, and miffed about it, he soon figured out which part of the corral offered the least resistance. It was the full hight trellis in the corner, supporting the morning glories. Venting his annoyance, he chewed his way through the lath and to freedom.

When my wife and I returned home late that afternoon we were greeted by Mr S tied to a tree in the front yard. The message on the phone explained the happenings. Mr S had wandered out onto the busy road, was picked up by a passing car and taken to town. Apparently, when Mr S’s new friend found the ID tag on his collar she returned the little guy to his family. But, only after Mr S had the privilege of attending a wedding rehearsal ten miles away. He undoubtedly made new friends there and, moreover, a little pig of himself.
As always, he was happy to see us when we rolled in; although tied to a stubborn tree. His message to us was, “In case you forgot, to ride with you would have been MY first choice!”