“You don't shave a Chow!”
The woman who groomed dogs told us. Her attitude was one of tolerance for
our obvious ignorance.
“Why not?” Milly wanted to
“Well! It just isn't done.
Their fur is what keeps them cool in the summer.”
Milly looked at her and
asked, “Tell me then why is he suffering the heat like he is. Look at him!
He is miserable. I don't think this dog can survive the heat. If you
won't do it and I can't get it done, I will do it myself.” Milly started
to gather the dog up to take with her. This was a brave statement. She
really knew nothing about grooming a dog.
“Oh well, if you are
determined, I will do it, but I'm telling you it just isn't done.” The
woman had her final say.
Milly didn't say anything
more since she had the woman's agreement already. The truth was she had
watched the dog suffering the Oklahoma heat for too long. They had a
soaker hose in the yard where he could come close to the cool air around
it but he was obviously not able to get away from the one area he was so
miserable. Under the shade trees was even too hot.
Having to watch the dog
from their air-conditioned comfort seemed such a cruel thing to do.
Milly's allergies to dogs
threatened to close her breathing down if the dog was in the house for any
time at all. There was a special brush which pulled the deep matted fur
out in great clumps but this did not help that much. There was still the
heavy coat Beau, the Chow, had. The only alternative she could see was to
have the dog shaved of his thick coat.
Milly tried to prepare the
children for the way the dog might act after having his coat removed.
“I had a friend in Dallas
who had her dogs groomed. Without their coat they were so ashamed of
themselves the two dogs wouldn't come out for a couple of days.”
“Will Beau be ashamed of
himself?” The children wanted to know.
“It is a possibility.”
Milly advised them. “It won't last long though. He will be all right.”
Milly left the car running
with the air-conditioner going while she and the children went in to pick
up the dog.
When the woman brought him
into the waiting room, he looked like a totally different breed. As
instructed the woman had left the ruff around his neck which made him look
like a small lion. The ball of fur on the end of his tail added to the
Beau was obviously so
pleased with his new look. He was anything but shy about his appearance.
Instead he was all at once a new dog. He bounced around the room with new
energy. Gone was his lethargic dragging steps. Now he was actively
investigating every part of the room as if he had not been there before.
His winter time personality was all at once back.
The air-conditioned ride
home helped his attitude as well. The soaker hose was still shooting it
tiny streams of water into the air creating a cool zone. Unlike before
when he had his heavy coat Beau was bounding all about the yard as frisky
as a puppy. The yard was once again his and he was trying to make himself
acquainted with every part of it again.
“Mama! I thought you said
he would hide and be ashamed of himself.” The children called the mother's
former advice to mind.
“Let this be a lesson to
all of us. It is sometimes best to use one's common sense as to what is
good and what isn't. That woman who grooms dogs almost had me convinced
that it was wrong to remove that heavy coat. I'm so glad she didn't
change my mind about what I wanted done.”
So it was for all of Beau's
seventeen years he was groomed during the summer months. By the time cool
fall days were arriving his fur was a lot grown back. Every year it was
fun to watch the exuberant playfulness of the dog as he was rid of the
heavy hot coat. The family wasn't involved with showing dogs or the status
quo as far as Chows were concerned. It didn't matter to them that for a
short while he didn't look like a Chow. If he was more like a small lion
that was a good joke too.
“Wow! You folks have a lion
in your backyard?” A stranger who saw the dog might ask and that was fun