Before and After

Before humans started messing with the locations, not to mention the genetics, of dogs, the various breeds lived in particular areas of the world. These dogs had a purpose, a job, be it a sled dog in the cold North of Alaska, a toy dog for an emperor's lap, a hunting dog in the wilds of Scotland, or a sheepdog guarding a herd in England. 
Maggie before

But as humans are want to do, we started moving these animals around the world. Dogs soon became pets and it was up to the human caretaker to realize that not all dogs were made for all climates. Sheepdogs were NOT meant to live in Oklahoma. Even inside, these poor dogs can overheat.

Thus enters Maggie the sheepdog into this story. Sheepdogs have a coat that grows and grows and . . . grows. People may think these dogs don't shed, but they'd be wrong. Chunks of fur tend to get caught under chair legs, not to mention the furry dust bunnies that just appear within hours of the house being cleaned. This dog's fur is unique in that if a sheepdog has to fight a wolf -- to protect the herd, of course -- it is so thick the teeth of the wolf can't 1) get a good grip, 2) get deep enough to do major injury.
Uh, we don't wolves in Oklahoma, at least none that I'm aware of, nor do we own any sheep.

So we do what we have to do to keep the dog comfortable -- we shear it. Well, truthfully, my hubs does the hard work.

This first picture was taken at about 0730 last Saturday morning.

The fur from the back of the dog
Same fur pile, different view
When I went upstairs to change for my walk, my hubs took a picture of the first pass of shaving Maggie's back.

Did you know people can and do use sheepdog fur to spin yarn? We've also found it in bird nests and bunny nests around the yard.

Four hours later, we had a sheared and bathed dog.
Maggie after
She also wouldn't sit still for a picture, because she had sat/laid/stood for hours while being clipped. She's happier now with her short hair.

I don't even want to think about how much it would cost to have a professional groomer shave this dog, but I could hazard a guess that the $200 Oster clippers would be paid for within two visits to the groomer. If you have a dog that needs grooming, consider doing it yourself . . . of course, you have to start when they are very young to get them used to the sound and feel of the clippers, and fork out a chunk of money for some very good clippers, but it's worth it.

If we could train our cat to like being vacuumed (Yes, Kato was vacuumed weekly. When we would clean the house, he would chase the vacuum down to remind us he wanted his turn!) , then you can train your dog to behave while being groomed.

Remember to take care of your furbabies. They are the only critters out there that give  us their unconditional love. In fact, my Maggie is currently taking up room under my desk where my feet should be. . . . it was cute when she could actually fit under the desk, but now she pushes the chair out to have enough room to curl up.

Okay, I'll admit it . . . it's still cute.

 Later, Peeps!


Marilyn said...

Most of our puppers are okay with being vacuumed. We did try trimming Jack's hair one time a few summers before he passed. He was good about standing there, but the hands on the clippers weren't too good at staying steady. He had distinct zigzag and wandering patterns in his fur for weeks.

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I clipped the hair on my retriever's feet yesterday. She wasn't happy but hey...

And I know what you mean about shed. Our house in FL has mostly tile floors. I have to sweep/vacuum every day and even then, there will be "hair bunnies" as soon as I put away the vacuum. It's a never ending battle.

Maggie looks cooler!

Margaret Golla said...

Marilyn -- Uhm, there's a REASON the hubs won't let me clip the dog . . .

Actually, I would give her a serious buzz cut that would take all summer to grow out. :-)

Thanks, Cyndi! She's much happier and isn't panting all the time. I'd been nagging him for a couple of weeks to give her a haircut, but he likes her long. We're lucky in that this sheepdog's fur seems to stay fairly tangle-free and she doesn't need much brushing.

Meg said...

Maggie looks great!
I've got the tile floors and the dog hair bunnies roam at will.

Margaret Golla said...

MAggie is such a fluffernutter! I like her fur--it's so soft and fluffy!