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Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Sweeney'd Dogg

We are all embarrassed to be seen with Lolly now. But then we’re very shallow. Apart from F9 who is a loyal little beast and will adore her forever. “Come on darrrlen’,” he croons, skinny arms held strangle-lovingly tight around her neck.

But for T11 and I it is testing. “Quick!” T hissed, “Let’s go now!”
He had worked out that if we left for school at 8.47, and walked with Lolly corraled between us like a prisoner en route to the black maria, then we would minimise the viewing opportunties. We would arrive at 8.52, 2 minutes after the gates had opened.
Thus the early crowd would be hidden in the playground, and their parents departed – leaving in a selfish screech of smoking tyres riding the pavement, too busy texting to bother with accurate steering, safe in the knowledge that their own children were kill-proof at school and only random others might get caught by a bull bar.
The late crowd would still be having breakfast ,and arguing over whether they’d done the maths game or not. At least that’s what happens in our house.
“Do you have to wear that orange coat?” he asked. It is my skiing-cum-dog walking coat and means that I am readily identifiable at 200 yards. He has a point.

For Lolly has been shorn and it is not her finest hour. We, meanwhile, now have first hand understanding of the phrase, “taken to the cleaners”.

The kennels she was at for a few days at New Year, while we had strange times in Devon in the name of holidaying with friends at a barracks of a hotel, was not a happy experience. They didn’t groom her, and she came home all matted. It was upsetting, but she was so pathetically pleased to see us that although they still charged us an extra 50% ,“it being Christmas” – a point I found myself dumbly agreeing with while inwardly thinking, “er, no it’s not, it’s the 5th of January" – I said nothing about it but hustled her home vowing never to return.
I cut out what I could and established a busy brushing regime to try to rectify the damage. She grew to loathe the comb. But then people kept being sympathetic thinking she’d had an operation, “ahhh, bless,” they’d say with their head held at a kindly tilt, so I had to bite the bullet and book her in for a makeover for the job to be finished off properly.

The “grooming parlour” (a building which might aspire to be a shed in another, more glamorous, life) was very 3 little pigs, seeming to be made from piles of hay and old clapboard. And that was the solid bits. I looked around for an obvious wolf huffing and puffing, but real wolves were thin on the ground, to be found instead I was to learn wearing aprons and bearing clippers and called Sue and Bev and they ran the place and hid their tails and What Big Teeth rather well.
And I didn’t know that then or I would have popped my matty mutt back in the car, locked the doors and driven away.

Inside (a moot point, the insideness of the “grooming parlour”) was a cage containing 4 white and clean little dogs. There were 2 industrial hair dryers attached to the meshed front in a manner displeasing to the health and safety executive within me (not a busy creature admittedly, that, being a disliker of same, but even I noticed it, so it must have been bad: a tangle of frayed extension lead leading unto another, even less impressive stretch of cable which in turn led out of the window and through the parking area and into another building, presumably one which had electricity all of its very own).
Buffeting the dogs they were these hair dryers.
I burst out laughing. Fur flying in all directions, the dogs blinking in mild surprise, I have rarely seen anything so ridiculously funny.

I handed Lolly over and picked her up, 4 hours and £24 later. The other dogs were still there, a permanent testament to the transforming power of the parlour. Cash was demanded first while the dividing door, plastic and collapsible, possibly stolen from a fire-damaged caravan, was kept determinedly shut. It was then opened sufficiently to allow the bulk of the groomer through, leading a large but skinny rat skulking behind her.
I craned my head into the innards of the far room for sight of Lolly.
“Here you are then, ducks,” said she who dared to call herself groomer: I demand an immediate downgrade to butcher.
You know where this one’s going.
The rat was Lolly.

How are the mighty fallen? Poor, poor, erstwhile beauty Lolly, the "darling of the village" now resembles a poodle rat made from pipe-cleaners, with a pornographic tail and Louise Brooks hair and eyes. Truly grotesque.
She had clearly been drugged, too; presumably to allow for the Shaving Of Parts, and looked more than baffled. It was all very disturbing.

We took her home and she shivered, so we laid her on a mountainous duvet and in the next 12 hours she mustered 6 massive turds. Made more extraordinary still coming from the thin sausage of her body, but not a subject best dwelt on.
Today she is sort of back to normal but it’ll be a while til she’s our old Lolly again and although she had to be clipped, about that there is no question, I can’t help feeling for what the poor dog has had to go through recently at the hands of those supposedly qualified to care for animals.


elizabethm said...

Oh no, your beautiful dog all transformed to rattishness! It's not fair. You made me laugh as usual but also steam a bit, someone is raking it in and taking people for a ride, both the kennels and the so called groomers. Is it because they think we are so soft over our pets we will put up with anything? Here is another idea: why doesn't Lolly wear the orange coat?

Anonymous said...

How terrible. Admittedly, I could quite easily take our two to the grooming parlour them being so muck ridden an'all but they seem to prefer it.

Crystal xx

Bill said...

I can attest that the wretched mutt is but a shadow of her former self, which isn't actually saying much. Fine blog as usual.

LittleBrownDog said...

Oh, poor shorn Lolly! Never mind, it will grow - honestly, and faster than you think. Had a similar experience with Brown Dog, tho I'm too mean to part with £24, so he spent an evening on the sofa with me, a pair of nail scissors and a comb. Just as well we don't have a mirror at dog height. You'll have to get her one of those dinky little tartan/tweedy coat things.

Now, I'm wondering whether you and I might share the same kennels - ours is just over the border in Glos and does sound uncannily like you describe... Do the owners put you in mind of a French and Saunders sketch and wear lots of cardigans?

And thank you for your kind words and bacon promises on my page. Yes, indeed, the text-messages and airport people of yore (well remembered) are not unconnected with our present plight. Will expound more once H has secured adequate redundancy package and moved on... And we're ok for bacon at the moment, but will let you know should supplies run low.

LBD xxx

Zoë said...

that made me laugh and frown in equal parts - Rotten Kennels, name and shame, and how mean to charge extra for Christmas( or something in its proximity!)

We have no dogs, but 5 cats, two of which are persians, which frequenlty end up mattier than matty things, and shaven by my goodself whilst iGit holds then down. I have often contemplated recycling the offcuts and knitting myself a new cat - perhaps that is what Lolly needs ... an orange jacket?

bodran... said...

Poor milla!! how awful the hair cut as made her turds grow!!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Ues I laughed at poor Lolly's demise ....then I read Bodran's comment and its a wonder you couldn't hear me shrieking....when are we going to be graced with some pictures of this canine wonder?

Blossomcottage said...

You know Milla the difference between a Good Haircut and a Bad Haircut is about 3 days!! in dog clip terms its about 2 weeks but trust me on this one she will like Head of House be back to herself in no time and don't keep her too warm, let nature take its course, if she is a bit nippy around the nether regions her coat will grow quicker.
Blossom x

mountainear said...

Please find her a dapper coat - I think snow is forecast.

CAMILLA said...

Oh poor darling Lol, know what you mean Milla honey though about dog-grooming parlours. I had a run in with one once, yes little me, I could have sworn she was the she devil of a woman. I have not taken any dogs back since.

Lol's fine mane will grow back quite quickly though Milla, but can understand your feeling of the rather short back and sides shave.

I love your writing Milla, excellent..!

Love Camilla.xxx

Edward said...

By the way, did you know that a children's story based on The Three Little Pigs has been rejected for an award for fear of offending Muslims. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/children/article3241394.ece

You really Couldn't Make It Up.

Preseli Mags said...

Poor Lolly! It'll grow back though. We always used to give our old sheepdog a trim with the scissors. She'd look awful for about a fortnight, then gorgeous for ages. Mum's schnauzer, however, had to go to the parlour. They treated him like royalty and he'd fragrantly return with his moutache freshly waxed, having been flossed, manicured and pedicured. All for 16 quid.

muddyboots said...

poor dog! you'll have to knit a little coat for the sad mutt! perhaps l should send my smelly labs down for a shampoo & set.......

KittyB said...

Sorry to laugh at another's misfortune, but this made me titter indeed until my eyes watered. Poor old Lolly, but how funny. But naughty kennels. Not good.
Massive turds from such a tiny dog? How can it be? Gertie's are like ginger toothpaste.

Expatmum said...

So funny. And since I had a go at my own fringe last night, I am taking great comfort in remembering that it'll grow back soon!

Woozle1967 said...

Oh Milla - sorry but I have to confess to a stitch now, you did make me laugh! Poor Lolly. Our 3 hounds are dire in need of a bath but as the sink was only plumbed in last weekend they've got to wait until the "old" one is plumbed into the new utility (clear as mud?) then they'll have their very own bathroom. Now if only I could find our clippers we could put on a clipped pooch show..........x

Himalayan Blue said...

Oh, poor Lolly! Do hope she is beginning to resemble her normal self now!

@themill said...

I so relate to this - I took the Terrorists to be stripped a couple of years ago and the old lady looked great, but the younger one came out looking, exactly as you say, a pathetic, shivering drowned rat. The children and husband were horrified and I have been banned from ever taking her again.
Very fine blog, as always.
Hope you enjoyed the skiing

Kathleen said...

Sorry to be so tardy in reading this. Well worth it though, I've been giggling here till the tears ran. I'm a Lolly fan - please post photos and more of Lolly! sorry to laugh at poor Lolly's misfortune!

softinthehead said...

Twenty four quid in four hours is a bargain, although it maybe doesn't seem so by the result. Here Mr Bark & Park came to the door (in contraption which sounds strangely similar to the "grooming parlour" but on wheels) and fleeced me to the tune of $70 in 15 minutes! However, we did get a sweeter smelling dog with his own bandana thrown in. Great post btw