In the past, I’ve washed Lupe in the bathtub and – though I know it will make some people squirm – I’ve even brought him into the shower with me, when I had no bathtub. He has never been professionally groomed – I’ve always thought it a frivolous thing for a dog. Even for a dog often described as “the one with the hair coming out all over.” But recently, I started warming up to the idea. Maybe it has something to do with the few professional manicures I’ve allowed myself lately, after which I realized my nails look and feel a whole lot better. It probably also has to do with me not wanting to deal with the mess that is bathing dogs in your own home, in winter. It’s not going to be a regular thing – for either of us – but every once in a while, it seems worth it to have a professional clean you up a bit. I’m also aware these are things I can afford to do, thanks to having a good job (or two) – I can pay other people to do the messy stuff. Once in a while.
The first place I looked into for grooming was a bust. It fulfilled all the stereotypes I’d imagined of a grooming service: pretentious and full of pedigrees. Our initial phone conversation went something like this:
Me: Hi, I want to make an appointment for my dog to get groomed.
Lady: Okay, what breed of dog is it?
Me: Ummm… just a mix. Like terrier/ chihuahua.
Lady: … Okay, what type of cut do you want?
Me: I don’t know. He’s never been groomed before.
Lady: Oh, how old is he?
Me: Like, five?
Lady: He’s five years old and never been groomed?!
Lady: Most of our clients come every 6-8 weeks.
Lady: So you want like a whole body shave?
After re-emphasizing I did not want him to have a whole body shave, she told me I had to come in and fill out a card. I’m glad I visited the business in person before I brought Lupe because it was not a happy place in person, either. There was no lobby or waiting room or receptionist. Instead you walk right in and see all the (purebred) dogs being worked on on tables by frowning employees. There was no real paperwork for me to fill out on Lupe, except this weird almost dissection-like card on how I wanted him groomed. It was a place for people who relate to their dogs like expensive brand-name accessories. I couldn’t imagine bringing my sweet little unkempt Lupe into that place and I cancelled the appointment.
The next place I looked into was a great fit: ENV Pet Spa and Grooming. After Place Number One, I realized I seriously did not want Lupe sprayed or sudsed with harsh chemicals. I’ve always used very mild shampoos with naturally-derived ingredients on the dogs, and it hadn’t occurred to me a groomer might not. ENV uses products I am comfortable with and had options for pups with extra sensitive skin, too. Their lobby was cute and clean and their intake paperwork asked me not only about Lupe’s breed, but also his temperament.
Instead of a dissection-card for me to mark out the haircut, the ENV groomer came out to talk with me about what I wanted for Loops. When the groomer walked in, I knew I had made the right decision: I couldn’t have picked a more perfect guy to work with Lupe. The groomer was shorter than average and quite stout with a thick well-trimmed beard. He had a very gentle and sweet demeanor and quickly understood Lupe’s special personality, scooping him up in his arms and holding him just like he prefers. He also asked me if I wanted to keep Lupe’s mohawk: Yes!
I forgot to take a “Before” picture, but luckily I have many, many photos of my dogs 🙂 Here’s a Lupe collage, depicting the glory of his natural, never-before-groomed POUF:
And here is after:
So, when I first saw him I couldn’t stop laughing. Lupe’s crazy hair was so much a part of his essence that seeing him all neat and uncrazy was bizarre. Also, I noticed… he was a lot fatter around the middle than I thought! And with all those chispas* gone from his face, his big (bug?) eyes were killer. Poor kid seemed to get a little self-conscious with my laughing, so I sucked it up and told him he looked beautiful 🙂 The groomer informed me he was a little gentlemen throughout the process.
Conclusion: I admit, I’m a little sad to have him looking so “normal.” He looks much more schnauzer-y and less creature-y. However, I know he feels good – possibly lighter – and can definitely see better! I suppose a haircut once every 5 years is worthwhile and I am happy with what ENV did.
I also got a little hair cut and color yesterday:
The best hair stylist in Santa Fe, Lauren Wright, gave me a trim and some dramatic blond streaks. I love it!
*Chispas, as far as I can tell, is a New Mexican term for the little wayward hairs people often have around their ears, temples, whatever. It is one of the many new words my co-workers have taught me. I looked it up in a Spanish-English dictionary, which defines chispa as “frisky.” ? New Mexicans should probably have their own dictionary.