PIVOTING WITH A SENIOR PUP – GROOMING

By Thursday, October 13, 2022 3 No tags Permalink

I have accepted the fact that I am now pivoting through life with a senior pup. My plan is to –

  • adapt when necessary
  • swivel when required
  • and share what’s proven beneficial while living in Harley’s aging world #hisminiseries …
For all the years of love – I owe him nothing but the very best…

Our latest adjustment has been grooming.

When your dog is a puppy, everything “puppy” consumes you – 

  • food
  • toys
  • clothes

The obsession is real and it’s OMDog fun.

If you are blessed to have that same puppy go through all the various stages of life and become a senior dog, that obsession returns but it can be – let’s say “not so fun.”

Since the beginning of 2022, my life has started pivoting with a senior pup, because Harley’s now displaying signs that he is in fact a senior dog…

Yes, we are wearing gripper socks in the house now for balance

NEVER SAY NEVER – 

about anything – was something my Nana always told me. And once again my Nana is on point.

Mid Spring, I received a call from the Boys groomer – telling me the Boys were ready for pick-up and Harley has become too difficult to deal with anymore. 

I beg your pardon?

was about all I could muster out of my mouth. 

Harley has been groomed – regularly – his entire life…

This “Dood” has smiled his entire life…

This is a dog who doesn’t know what it’s like to be dirty!

We talked on the phone as I rushed to the car, and drove like a maniac listening to him tell me – 

He had a dryer seizure and started freaking out

Say what?

He is too old to be bathed every other week

Come again?

I will continue to do Jaxson and perhaps once a month or so I can cut Harley’s hair

The hell you say!

When I arrived, we talked a little more. Nothing made sense, so I paid and left. Confused, and concerned about what REALLY happened, I needed a plan that didn’t include going back there ever again.

GROOMERS ARE HARD TO FIND – 

at least in these neck of the woods!

Sitting at my desk, I pushed my brain into reverse and started reliving why I left the groomer before this one and the one before that one. 

This was the first horror story I’d ever heard in more than a decade of regular grooming salons. As I sipped my wine – which I poured before 6pm to truly calm my nerves – I realized where I needed to go…

..back to Andi – 

Andi and at the Boys in 2018

Andi is that groomer you fall for on the very first appointment. For the Boys it was wonderful, but the fur-fest was short lived because she reduced her hours shortly after we met, and with my “then” new job, we just couldn’t make salon spa days happen with her. I remained at the same salon until the 2nd groomer moved away and after four years it was time to change locations.

We were sad to leave…

This was Andi’s last groom in 2018

IT IS WHAT IT IS – 

was my attitude about Andi’s schedule once I called her a week after I vowed never to go back from where we just left. 

When I called Andi – I told her what happened and pretty much said – 

Whatever openings you have I will take and my job will have to work with me. It is what it is!

Andi and I talked about the ordeal at the other facility, she shared her thoughts, and we agreed on a bi-weekly cadence for the Boys.

Unfortunately, she would not be able to see them for another 4 weeks. Harley could barely see with so much hair in his eyes…

This is what we call a bad hair day in Doodleville…

She recommended I bring him in, and she would – 

  • trim his face so he wouldn’t walk into walls #justkidding
  • cut the hair from between his paw pads so he would stop sliding all over the place like a swiff-it broom #notkidding
  • take sometime getting reacquainted with him before a full bath and cut.

As much as he loved her before, as she examined his coat and skin, he was a little stand-offish…

Not the warmest reunion initially…

AND A SNIP SNIP HERE – 

song from the “Wizard of Oz” played over and over in my head when groom day finally came. 

It has been weeks since Harley was blown dry and all the hairs combed. I bathed and dried the best I could, but to be truthful – he had mats.

Temperatures were still hovering in the upper 90’s here, so we decided not to stress him out, and shave vs. comb…

All eyes stayed on me…

Trust me – he appreciated it.

I took the afternoon off to be there for him (and her!). If he was going to have another “episode” as the guy said he did before, I wanted to be there. 

As Andi worked on Harley, she talked to him and was in tune with his body language. She also talked to me about how senior dogs can change towards bathing and grooming. She validated that “dryer seizures” are real, but there are techniques some groomers are familiar with to help dogs calm down and regroup.

As Andi snipped, I noticed something about Harley. He had started to smile, and so had Andi…

It was happening – right before my very eyes…

They were reconnecting, and I felt so privileged to watch all of it as it happened. #blessed

As she moved around to the rear, Harley turned towards her, and she leaned in for the most adorable display of affection…

Talk about an indescribable moment….

GROOMING A SENIOR DOG – 

does require an experienced groomer with patience and instinct when working with a senior dog. Andi shared valuable information as our podcast guest on Girls with Dogs..

YouTube player

As we pivot with our senior dogs – much of what we’ve taken for granted will change. I’ve learned this first hand with something that has occurred all of Harley’s life… grooming.

While this nightmare had a very happy ending, it also taught me that being an advocate for my Boys is, and must always be the priority…

I got you Harley-Darly

If I trust you with my dog, I’d trust you with my life. ❤️

3 Comments
  • Cheryl
    October 13, 2022

    I learn something new and useful every time I read your posts! I’ve never heard of dryer seizures, and while I figured grooming techniques may change with an older dog, I never thought about it much until this post. Thank you for enlightening me and I’m sure many others.
    Be safe

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    October 13, 2022

    So glad you and your former groomer have been reunited. You’re so right, good groomers are worth their weight in gold. With Elsa’s epileptic seizures, I resigned myself to doing her myself. And it is often spread out over a couple of days if she gets too stressed. Luckily Norman is such an easy going guy even though I know he’d rather I didn’t bath and groom him. But we both know a pet therapy dog has to be groomed and bathed for their hospital visits. Here’s hoping Harley’s reconnection last a good long while.

  • Debbie Matos
    October 14, 2022

    What a great article. I too have a senior labradoodle and watching her age is quite painful for me. I love her so. We have a great groomer but will show her the article.
    Thank you Andi for loving Harley❤️