Extreme Makeover – Pet Edition

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Our alarms woke us early on what could have been a sleep-in Saturday, but the appointment I made at the grooming salon was for 8 a.m. Kathie tiptoed through the wet grass toward the doghouse and hooked our blue leash on Lydia’s collar. She’s a mid-sized (not more than 50 pounds) mixed breed that shows predominately border collie, about 13 years old now. we took her in thirdhand to keep her second owner from putting her down.
That owner had said Lydia couldn’t be trusted inside. We’ve always kept her tied on a run in the side yard. When she is let loose (supposedly under a watchful eye), she usually manages to roll in something vile. Lydia’s back and rear haunches were heavily matted with shedding hair, and, because of her ripe doggie smell, none of us wanted to brush her. I decided to splurge and have a professional clean her up.
The only times she has been in a car were short trips to the nearby vet, so I wasn’t sure how she’d take a longer ride. I covered the short, middle seat in my van with an old shower curtain and put some newspapers on the floor. I chauffeured while Kathie sat in back with Lydia.
This Saturday bustled at Pet Zone. Dogs stood on tables in chained collars and a cat whined from its carrier on the floor behind a counter. A girl filled out a card with our information and Kathie led Lydia through a Dutch door toward the back. I sat in the waiting area hoping Lydia wouldn’t snap at anyone. She doesn’t take easily to new people.
The owner/manager asked me if I wanted her shaved. Though I knew it might make it easier to get rid of the matted fur, I said I wouldn’t prefer it. Kathie returned and told me they were shampooing Lydia and, surprisingly, she was being polite to her handlers. How do dogs’ minds work? seeing the same thing being done to other canines chained in position at each station around her, maybe she realized this place meant business and accepted her fate. Whatever affected her, she was a model client.
After a couple of hours, the owner, Vera Reese,
came out to report that she had gotten out all the mats without shaving, so did we want her trimmed? We did – toenails, too.
Now came the fun part. Lydia was put on the front table just inside the Dutch door gate. We could see her in a mirror that hung across from the table, but she couldn’t see us. How clean and shiny Lydia looked as Vera combed her fur and made beautiful angular cuts with her sheers! It was like our dog was being groomed for a show.
I had seen “Vera Reese” on the address labels on some magazines in the waiting area, then heard someone ( a regular customer) call her Vera, but it wasn’t until I stood at the counter to pay her that I noticed her name on the plaques that covered the wall behind the counter. With certifications from all sorts of grooming training sessions, Vera had commendations from the Chamber of Commerce and other community groups, and – lucky us – she had administered her expertise on our dog.
Nearing 11 o’clock when we left there, it had been three hours since we arrived.
We bought a clean, blue collar to match our leash, and they tied a three-cornered patriotic print scarf around Lydia’s neck. She looked wonderful.
I could see the pride on Kathie’s face as she paraded our pretty pet across the parking lot. Worth every penny (she smelled better than some people we know), it was like having a new dog. Pet Zone perfection!

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