In the K household we have two beasties that has fur that requires constant grooming. Me being a girl who had short haired dogs all of my life, I had no idea how to tackle either of my fur babies' long, in Hermione's case, and semi-long, in Rufio's case, coats. Hermione was the first to arrive on the scene with her fluffy fur, but her feathers really didn't grow in until she was about a year old. Tenie had left Scotland when Hermione was about eight months old and when Tenie saw her for the first time upon our return to the Land of Ice and Snow, Tenie was shocked at how furry Hermione was. Hence, up until recently, I haven't really had to battle with Hermione's hair. However, I had read, before buying Hermione, that Cavaliers would most certainly have feathers and so I had started combing her when she was just a puppy to get her used to being groomed. I wasn't sure if we'd have to have her professionally groomed, but if we did I wanted to make sure Hermione would be comfortable. My biggest problem was figuring out what grooming tools I needed to keep Hermione tangle and mat free. It wasn't until Rufio came along and I was researching how to groom him for a show, that I came across an article that rained praises on the "Greyhound comb." I've blogged about this tool before, but I'll refresh your memories.
The comb is just a metal comb with teeth close together at one end and further apart on the opposite. The name is deceiving as it certainly should not be used on a Greyhound as the teeth are not soft and would probably scratch a Greyhound. In fact, the comb is a bit of a weapon. Just yesterday I dropped the comb on my bare foot and it left a small welt. This is a testament to its unsuitability for short haired dogs. I don't even really use it on our other three dogs as their coats are too short. In the aforementioned article, I read that you can use the end of the comb where the teeth are spaced further apart, to pick at knots. Essentially, you use the last tooth on the comb to pull apart the tangled fur. When I first wrote about the use of this comb, I told you how I had not had to cut knots out of either of my animals' fur since purchasing the comb. As long as you stay up on the pet's grooming regiment, cutting knots will be eliminated. So, where am I going with all of this "Greyhound comb" talk?
Since moving in to our new place, relieving schedules have been a bit of a mess. Otis has been pretty good and the big dogs are spot on of course, but Her Royal Highness, Princess Hermione Sophia has other ideas. She doesn't like going in the backyard because the grass is too long right now. We had a bit of rain over last weekend and the yard got very wet. She doesn't like that either. She had started to go in the front yard on leash, but she gets very distracted out there. There are always people, kids, other dogs and so many other distractions going by out there, that she forgets to go. So, getting her to remember to go has been a bit of a struggle. Thankfully, there is a small park at the end of the street and I've noticed that if you walk her in a bit, she will go. It's kind of annoying and I'm not sure what's going to happen when the Land of Ice and Snow actually becomes covered in ice and snow, but I guess I'll fight that battle when we get there.
Yesterday afternoon, after the dogs had eaten, I started the relieving routine and of course Hermione didn't want to go. So, off to the park we went. I walked her in further than normal in the hopes that movement would get her to go. As we were leaving, Hermione started hopping around in a strange fashion. I stopped and checked her paws and discovered that she had been attacked by a bur plant. Now, Hermione's encountered burs in Scotland, but they are not the same as the ones here. The ones in Scotland, at least where we were, were little buds that clung to her fur, but were easily pulled out. The ones here are gum ball sized and have long hooks that hook into everything, including human skin/clothes. Since moving here, Hermione's had a few run ins with bur plants, but this one was the worst I had seen.
The burs were in all but one paw; there was one on her left hip; another under her right front leg; more under her ear; and a small one clinging to the tip of her tail. I pulled out as many as I could, but it was going to take some time and actual grooming products to get these evil things off. I had noticed once before when she had one attached to a paw that water softened them so much that the hooks just let go and I could pull them off. So, I whisked her away home, knowing that a bath was probably in order.
When I got home, I went straight to the grooming drawer and pulled out the Greyhound comb (not meant for Greyhounds) and a grooming spray Brooke and Huib from Ruled by Paws so generously sent home with our crew after they watched our bunch until we arrived in Canada. I can't quite remember what the spray is called, but it is basically a waterless shampoo/conditioner. I then herded everyone out on to the back deck and carefully began picking the burs out of her fur with the end of the comb. Sometimes Hermione can be fidgety, but I think she realised I was trying to help, so she sat very still. The spray came in handy too. if her fur was not only caught up by a bur, but tangled around itself as well, I'd use the spray and the knot and bur came out very quickly. This worked well for her ears, belly, chest and hip, but the shorter yet still feathery fur on her paws was proving more difficult. The burs were so tightly tangled in that I couldn't hold the fur by the roots to ensure no pulling. Hermione was getting antsy, probably because I kept pulling her paw fur, and I still had giant burs stuck in her paws. I decided it was time to try the bath tub.
I carried Her Royal Highness upstairs and turned the water on. I lathered her paws in conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, with my wonderful Greyhound comb (not meant for Greyhounds) I was able to gently pull the rest of the knots and burs out of her fur. I made sure to thoroughly rinse the conditioner out of her fur as any soap residue can lead to hot spots which is basically a skin irritation. Hermione's paws were towelled off and she was released, completely bur free and smelling a little better.
So, what's the point of my giant rant about burs, a comb called Greyhound but is not for Greyhounds?
1. Despite its deceptive name, the Greyhound comb is a fantastic grooming tool and I would suggest to anyone who has a long haired beasty to own one.
2. Bur plants are evil.
. 3. Hermione needs a haircut.