Jacques Report

Here is Jacques in the utility room, on his grooming table, with his dog shower in the background. He’s pretty scruffy right now, isn’t he? It’s my fault.

Jacques turned four in December. That makes it close enough to four years that I have been less than thrilled with his grooming. The good guys are booked. The others, eew. The last time I took him to the groomer, only to have him turn tail and fight to get away, was once too many. I decided to find another solution but of course being me, I put off any action for quite a while.

My other dog, Piper to me, AKC Champion Legacy Pipes A’ Callin’ to you, was a Wheaten terrier, a sort of strawberry blond color dog who stood about knee-high. She got me through fourteen pretty difficult years, falling ill with cancer for the third and final time just about the time I met Robert. She was put to sleep on 9/11, yes, that 9/11. Years later, when Robert died and things looked bad again, I knew it was time for another dog. But no more showing. I can take only so much.

Most show dogs look pretty good, pretty close to the standard. Besides, often the judges don’t really know the breed standards all that well. This means your ribbon often depends on extraneous factors, which I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say that grooming, which should matter hardly at all, matters a great deal. Fortunately Piper’s breeder was willing to groom her for free, so I sat and chatted with him and watched. This went on for years. I learned that grooming requires patience, but it’s not rocket science. So when Jacques obviously, seriously wanted just to get away from those sweet young women who were so happy to see him, I knew it was time to step up, do the dirty work myself. And I knew I could handle it.

I think maybe he has spent too much time on the table, so I’m starting with short sessions: 10, 15 minutes. That’s part of why he still looks so bad. I found a dog brush with rubber tips, so he’s not being scratched by the metal ones. It’s working. He leans into the brush, loves it, and is now okay with my going after the mats. Obviously I could do a little more with the mats. No bath just yet. It’s about 10 degrees out, which is balmy for France right now, but still, it can wait. We are pneumonia-free and I’d like to stay that way.

Westies have a double coat. The groomers use an electric clipper to remove the outer layer, in the process removing its insulating and dirt-shedding properties. I’m going to let that grow back in. It takes a few months.

Meantime, I’m watching Westie grooming videos on YouTube. I found out I’m supposed to have been brushing him every single day. Oops. I’m sure Jacques will forgive me. When all is done, he’ll be a shaggy little dog, with all that extra hair, but I think he’ll be cleaner and a lot happier. Will he have a show groom? I don’t know and I am grateful beyond measure that I don’t have to care.

9 thoughts on “Jacques Report

    1. Aw. Thank you. I’m sure he would agree. He got a look at the new brush, designed to remove the dead hair. “I’m fine right now, thanks,” was written all over him.


  1. Bronte had her first shower last week due to a fresh squirrel poo incident ( make that skunk poo for the stink!)
    My shower room may never recover.
    I cannot wait to have the downstairs wetroom, right by the cave door, done and dusted.
    Just open the door, throw her in, and send in Trev in trunks


  2. The Bean has a seal-like coat and is therefore rarely bathed. She does, however enjoy a good rub down with my special microspore mits when she is wet and a cool shower when it is boiling. Weighing in at less than 4 kg she won’t be getting her own shower in the near future!


      1. She seldom rolls at all. She does bum shuffle though and likes to stick her nose in free pee so we aren’t without uncivilized habits! The worst stink incident I ever had with a dog was my whippet-X named Achilles who rolled in a dead fish ….. let me tell you NOTHING gets rid of that stench – we bathed him at least 10 times before the odeur even attempted to abate.


        1. Dead fish wins. Unfortunately I know this from experience. So Bean doesn’t leap from the tub before the soap is quite rinsed off, run straight out to the center of the nicest room in the house to shake off the soap that remains, then jump on the sofa, flop over on his side and skid himself along the cushions to dry off? Sweet. Actually Piper taught me about the strategic deployment of towels and all. Jacques has no clue how much damage he could be doing.

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          1. A good lesson Piper taught you …. The Bean is the first dog I have had who is so low maintenance in this regard. Perhaps I should have called her Karma after all the paying forward I have done with past less elegant personalities in the bathing department!

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