A post should appear every Sunday
Sunday April 30th 2023
What was that I said recently and so nonchalently about trimming Hairy One’s feet?
Last week she had an appointment for a vet’s visit for her anal glands’ emptying ceremony and for her nails to be cut.
The day before, then, seems a good time to tackle her hairy feet. I know that she’ll not like it. And I’m not wrong.
For some reason, which I now forget, I decide to carry out the procedure in the porch – perhaps that’s where she has run to, hoping to escape.
So here we are, soft, calming brushes and dog scissors at hand. I pick up the smallest, softest baby brush with which I always begin grooming sessions. She loves having her head brushed gently with this, and usually wags her tail in time to the strokes. Good, she’s calm and happy now, lulled into a sense of security. I use the same brush, the same lightness of touch, to smooth down the back of her left front leg.
But she snatches the leg away, and turns so that I can’t reach it. I try again, on her right leg this time. Zip! Now she has her back to me. I hoist her to her feet and try her back legs. Zip! Zip!
Now, as she retracts a leg she accompanies the action with a threatening growl.
ISIS! I bellow, rapidly losing my rag as she flicks away legs and paws, twists, turns and growls. Eventually, I grasp a front paw in a workmanlike, ‘it’s going to happen whether you like it or not’ fashion. Like it, she certainly does not, and snaps crossly at my hand.
I know that she will bite me. After three or four near misses, I stop attempting to groom her, and instead fetch her muzzle, adjust it, draw it over her nose and close the clip. It’s a very long time since I used the muzzle. Like most dogs, Isis hates it; it must be unimaginably horrible to be deaf, blind and muzzled.
She still attempts to snatch her feet away, but I hold each one firmly, and, as quickly as possible, remove the thick wads of hair from between her pads. Defeated, and very unhappy, she begins to quiver. What a rotten owner. What a pig of a human. Poor little dog.
Finally, I trim carefully around her toes. At least the veterinary nurse will be able to see her nails tomorrow.
As soon as I remove the muzzle, I attempt to stroke her little head, but she’s having none of it, and dashes down the hall to the back room.
Usually, after I’ve done something which she dislikes, like a thorough groomimg, or a flea treatment, she knows that she deserves a reward, and pops into her dog bed where she sits expectantly upright, wearing a virtuous expression.
Not now though. She lies on the dog bed looking thoroughly miserable.
After about ten minutes, when I go in and sit next to her, the dear little creature accepts some gentle head strokes and wags her tail. We are friends again: dogs are so forgiving. I fetch her one of her best treats.
Oh dear, so soon after the foot trimming battle, someone else is about to assault her little pink feet. I’m apprehensive when we set off for the vet’s, and fearing the worst, take the muzzle with me.
I explain how upset she was when I groomed her feet, and the trainee nurse fetches reinforcements in the form of a senior member of staff. I hold Hairy One’s head still and and stroke her neck and ears, the senior staff member holds her round her middle, and the trainee nurse begins the nail clipping.
Isis still snatches her feet away, which is obviously unnerving for the young nurse, but she takes as much time as she needs, and makes a good job of it. Isis doesn’t quiver or attempt to bite her, in fact she behaves very well, especially considering that she’s already had her rear end sorted.
She is not keen to linger though, and when the door is opened, hurries towards the exit.
Yesterday I trimmed her, removing a huge amount of undercoat and some of the long top hair she has not yet dropped all over the house. I didn’t make a very good job of it, for some reason, but she was certainly not to blame. She behaved like a perfect – even though long-suffering – angel, and back at home was rewarded appropriately!
Human is taking a break next Sunday, so the next post should appear on May 14th.
Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.