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August 28th, 2009

ace the wonder dog

skin as white as a cuttlefish bone

Well, after archery today (I shot pretty well for somebody who is probably a quarter of a diopter off in the prescription for her dominant eye, currently) and dinner, I went after the poor shedding GRD with an undercoat rake. This is, thank God, a little easier than it used to be, because he no longer has to be kept in show coat, so I cut the worst matts out, and I can saturate his coat with detangler without worrying it will weaken the coat and cause breakage. If it breaks at this point, that's cool. He's a full-time pet now, and the object is to keep him comfortable and clean and healthy, not perfectly coiffed.

It also means that once I get my hands on some thinning shears, I can thin out his fall so he can see when he doesn't have a ponytail in, which will make him less of a hazard to navigation and himself.

Of course, the real problem is not the matts, which do, after all, come out with a few scissor snips. The real problem is that it's been around ninety degrees and eighty percent humidity for the past two weeks, and he's blown every bit of undercoat. Which felts into his guard hairs, creating an dense and nigh-impenetrable layer of insulation and armor. And which also traps dirt and makes him smelly and harbors ick, and which will turn into matts if ignored for too long.

Which means that just his regular maintenance grooming is not cutting it currently.

I just spent three and a half hour with an undercoat rake, (first we use the undercoat rake to get rid of as much of the dead coat as possible, then we brush him to get the rest, then we go through with the comb for any lingering tangles) and in the process I removed an approximate, oh, Shetland sheepdog worth of fur. And he's not even remotely done--there are still matts in his armpits and groin, his belly and tail and legs aren't brushed, there's still dead coat in his ruff and bloomers and some scattered bits elsewhere that haven't given up the ghost yet... and he still needs his toenails cut.

Thank something my mom's coming over tomorrow to help me with the rest of it, because I think I'm beat. But it's got to be done. Of course, my copy-edited manuscript of Chill has to be done, too, and so does the draft of The White City. But they aren't suffering the tormenting itchies of a dirty dog, and he has to be brushed before he can be washed. Or I really will be making felt.

Aieeee!

Yeah. Snap. Bed now.