My beautiful little Bichon Frise, Lily, AKA the Love Of My Life, has many, many delightful qualities.
Her reaction to being groomed is not one of them.
As soon as the slicker brush appears, my adorable little bundle of white fluff morphs into the hound from hell. Regardless of how gently I use the brush, she growls like a demon at me.
For some reason she allows me to brush the hair on her head and face without too much of a struggle, but as soon as the bristles touch her back she bares her comically tiny little teeth at me. I have all but given up on any attempts to brush her legs as the snarling and biting is simply not worth the hassle.
But she saves her most mournful howls of despair for when I try to brush her glorious tail. The OH and I have resorted to what would appear to be a torturous ritual, whereby he holds her little head in his hands while I try to get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible. The cries of dismay and distress that emanate from my little darling are heartbreaking.
Our solution, albeit a costly one, is to frequently bring her to the groomer. Not that this has been any easier to be honest. After a few trips, the groomer hinted that she might not take Lily again, as the biting and snarling was quite bad.
I despaired! If a professional found it hard to cope how on earth would I ever manage?
And then an angel was sent to us from heaven. A new staff member at the groomer, the wonderful Zowie, took Lily under her wing.
I could tell they would get along as Lily jumped into her arms the first time we met her. This was after being carried up the driveway, once Lily realized where she was!
Zowie adores Lily and has often told me she doesn’t find her difficult to groom at all. She did notice the issue with her tail however, and suggested that perhaps she has an underlying muscle strain around the tail area from her past life with her former, less loving, parents.
As I have shared with you all before, Lily came to us at 18 months with a badly matted coat and a tail that needed to be completely shaved to remove all knots and matts. I can only wonder what torture she had to endure in her last home, where she was either not groomed at all, or forcibly groomed at some point early on in her life. Because of this suspicion I find it particularly heart wrenching to feel that I am causing her any pain when I attempt to brush her.
When I return to the groomer to collect her, my little Lily is always so happy to see me and leaps into my arms, smelling better that I think I ever do!
The last time I collected her I had to do a double take. Zowie had so much fun with her that she had plaited her long ears and finished them off with a bow!
I laughed all the way home, watching her little plaits bounce as she walked ahead of me.
Although Lily was not a happy girl… I think her face says it all don’t you?
I, perhaps meanly, left the braids in place until the OH came home from work, as I simply could not deprive him of the sight in the flesh.
It was great joy that Lily shook her beautiful little head as I unraveled the plaits later that evening to reveal amazing corkscrew curls.
Between professional grooms we still struggle to keep her coat matt free.
I wish, more than anything, that I could undo what ever trauma that she carries from her past, so the grooming could be the lovely bonding experience I read about in all the training books.
My only solace is that she has a very forgiving nature and recovers extremely quickly once the brushing is over. She never holds a grudge and loves me, despite the torture I inflict on her.
That really is love, that is!