Grooming old dogs
Yep; I groomed an old dog yesterday. Tilley has not had a grooming since she was hit with Vestibular disease. She's had a couple of showers but this was the first attempt to do a full body groom. Several weeks ago I did clip her face and her feet but not the full on clip. Standing on the table is out of the question at this point; I gave it a quick try a couple of weeks ago and she was unable to even stand. Being in a crooked state does not lend itself to standing on a table up off of the ground, so ground it was.
First I shaved straight down the middle; from head to tail. I made a 6" swath down the center and gave her the extra support when she wavered. With her top central area complete I got out a big towel and lay her down and over on her side. After only a couple of minutes I realized that my back was explaining to me in no uncertain terms why we put dogs on a table to groom them. As my lower back burned I performed the one handed clip; one hand on the ground for support and one on the clippers. Tilley fell asleep; this is definitely the way to go for the old crooked gal. But this was not the way to go for myself; my back was screaming. After having three kids I sort of have a lower back issue; I'm sure many women do.
I shifted and leaned and clipped as fast as I could. I told Tilley "this is definitely going to be utility." Think she cared? Not in the least. There was alot of hair to come off; I shaved it all. I knew that in the shape she is in now that she could not tolerate a longer length shave. I typically use my 3/4" at this time of year; leaving some length for the chilly evenings. But it had to be quick and the 3/4" clip is not that.
Throughout the process I got up; asked Tilley to stay and bent backwards in attempts to undo my hunching over and then right back at it. It was a fairly quick and easy event and it was over, thankfully. I helped her to her feet; and as she shook her beautiful blue curls flew in the wind. She seemed to have a smile on her face and proceeded to do her mock speed around. This is basically the idea of what she would have once done; racing around the backyard with per joy. She felt great, it was obvious and I quickly forgot about my back seeing her so happy to be much lighter.
Then it was into the shower for a quick suds up; condition and drip dry. Again; not a back friendly event. Someday I will get my standing stainless tub. It was hot yesterday; really hot so she was dry in no time at all. Once she was dry I did a few touch ups with the scissors; beautiful. There is nothing like a freshly clean shaved and bathed poodle. Plus it gives me the chance to see just how she's looking under all the hair and for a 13 year old who is now crooked with Vestibular she's look'n mighty fine.
In her golden years she needs the extra tlc; lastnight she was covered up with two blankets for bed. And this morning she is sleeping on Dad's pillow underneath Dad's comforter. Nice. Things change drastically as a dog ages; grooming is one thing that calls for a big change in the groomer. Some groomers will not do old or aging dogs because they take much more time. But for those who have the patience and take the extra time that is needed; they do it for the love of an old dog.