Tuesday 7 May 2019

I Shave My Dog in Public

Dammit Karen: I Shave My Dog in Public

Welcome to the Awkward Confessional

Ziggy’s face mirrors the shock and horror of the passerby

That's it, really.  I shave my dog in public. 

The cost of dog grooming here is ridiculous. It was $60 for my local PetSmart to do it in Canada, even though Ziggy is small, about 10 lbs of scruff and teeth. When we moved to London, the neighbourhood groomer said he could do it for £60, which is currently $105.60 in Canadian dollars. Go ahead, ask me how often I have paid even $60 for a haircut for myself. Go on, ask.

I decided that it would be more practical (and more fun!) to order some pet clippers on Amazon. So, I spent the £15.99, my shiny new toy arrived, and financially, even if I only used it once (which, in retrospect, I should have), I’d still be ahead.

I started in the bathtub. As one does. We live in a flat that doesn’t have a balcony or any green space, so I figured that the bathtub would be the easiest place to contain the dog and the hair. I laid down a towel, filled up a little jar with treats, grabbed the dog, and hopped in.

It was no fun for anyone. 

Trimming the smooth fur of his back was pretty easy, as long as I held a treat for him to nibble. As soon as the treat was gone, however, so was any pretense of cooperation. My gel nails were, well, eaten, and by the time most of him was trimmed down, he was snarly and so was I. His (apparently sensitive) undercarriage was still all tangly and matted, and was the main reason he needed a trim, but what can you do? 

I had to vacuum the entire room, twice, and myself, twice, then give the bathtub a good scrub. I took the towel and bathmat out in front of the building to shake them of loose furbits, then vacuum myself again. 

As soon as I opened the bathroom door, Ziggy dashed out and refused to come near me for the rest of the day. Me, his feeder, walker, trainer and playmate. His mommy

He looked very handsome, however, even though he was still wearing bushy little trousers.

My own “bushy little trousers”, post-debacle.

 But, that’s been the routine. Every two months or so, I set aside two hours to sit in the bathtub with my dog, the clippers and an increasingly bad attitude on both of our parts. 

A better way

But then! One day, crossing Regent’s Park, genius struck. It would make far more sense to do this weird and terrible thing to him outside, where I wouldn’t have to sit in a bathtub with a dog (because it’s weird), or vacuum afterwards! It would be quick and easy, and I could even have a picnic afterwards. Yes. This was a great idea, and not weird at all

Let us now talk about the difference between illegal and indecent. Lots of things are illegal in London’s public parks. Others are just wrong. I like to think that shaving my dog is the latter, because although it does not say anywhere that “shaving pets in the Royal Parks” is against the rules, I really feel that it should be, and is only not listed because nobody’s thought to put it in there yet, or perhaps haven’t seen Ziggy and I in one of our haircut death matches.

Let me defend myself a bit here: I don’t shave him down to the skin. That would be terrible. He is absolutely adorable with his fuzzy little eyebrows and moustaches, but his first haircut (at the groomer) revealed a closely-shaven abomination with bulgy eyes and a prominent underbite. No, Ziggy needs moderation.


I aim to shave the entire dog down to 3mm. All of him. So, aside from the oddness of seeing a grown woman wrestle a tiny dog with a pair of clippers (and scissors for cleanup!) on a manicured lawn surrounded by flowerbeds and pathways while children and the elderly run about, there is also the impropriety of which areas of said dog she is trimming. I mean, no wonder he’s so upset about it. If someone dragged me out to Regent’s Park and held me down while they shaved my nethers, I’d try to bite them, too.

So, um, that’s it. There’s no moral, no higher purpose to this story. I shave my dog in a public park.

Thank you.

Note: even Google didn’t know what to do with my “shaving your dog in public” query. There is nothing out there for people like me — so you know it’s weird.

Karen (Power) Hough is a writer, editor and blogger with an Honours BSc. in Human Kinetics. She currently lives in London with her husband, three energetic kids and a codependent dog. She is just fine, thank you very much.

1 comment:

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