Do-it-yourself doggie salon

When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up my answer was: a lawyer, a police officer or a hairdresser.

When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up my answer was: a lawyer, a police officer or a hairdresser.

There’s no chance I’ll enter any of those fields now, but a few decades after I was first asked the question, I’ve kind of become the latter. Well, for dogs anyway. My dogs.

How it happened was an accident. I’d taken my 30 lb. cockapoos, Lola and Charlie, for an early muddy hike in the woods and was giving them a bath when I noticed a ton of prickly burrs stuck to their bellies and legs. I tried removing them while the dogs were in the tub, but there were too many.

After they’d dried off I tried brushing the spiky seedpods off their fur, but their fur had grown too much and it was like extracting gum out of a tangled head of hair.

Grabbing the scissors, I carefully cut out all the burrs from Charlie’s fur and thoroughly brushed him as he laid on the kitchen floor enjoying the attention. After that I got scissor-happy.

Over an hour later I was still on the floor filling up empty ice cream pails with his fluffy locks and having a blast as I did it.

“What are you doing?” my 11-year-old daughter asked when she woke up.

“Giving the dogs a haircut,” I replied, letting go of Charlie and starting in on Lola.

“We should give some of that hair to Dad,” she said. “For his empty spot.”

It might be a little too white and curly for Paul’s head, but it was a thoughtful suggestion.

Charlie’s sister Lola enjoyed the grooming as well, and except for having to get close to the skin near the matted hairs, I felt relaxed about the process. I decided to buy some proper nail and fur clippers for next time.

The dogs didn’t look quite as pretty as when they come home from the dog groomers with sweet little bows in their hair, but for two dogs who like to roll around in the dirt and jump in the creek every chance they get, my amateurish services were just fine.

I’m not sure why it never occurred to me that grooming them myself was an option. I probably didn’t think they’d stay still for me and they would end up looking terrible. If I’d known it would be such a fun experience and that they’d still look cute, I would have cut their hair all along and saved some money.

Lola and Charlie turn five-years-old in September and my daughter thinks we should throw them a birthday party and dye their fur the color of a rainbow. I’ve seen pups with brightly colored hairdos and it can look adorable, but colored hair spray is as far as I’ll go. Call me boring, but I like our dogs to look like dogs.

I like them to act like dogs as well, but I wouldn’t mind if they stopped rolling around in the mud for a day. It’s not easy being a dog groomer you know.

Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at


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