Friday, April 15, 2011

Welcome to the Mobile Dog Groomer

We tried an experiment: We asked Thomas and his mobile dog groomer van to come by our house and clip our two toy poodles.

I got tired of driving to the groomer once a month, twice for each trip. All About the Dogue is a fabulous grooming service; their philosophy is that they'll take all day to do the grooming so that the dog isn't stressed out. However, they're on San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville, and at 5pm during heavy traffic, it takes me an hour to get home with two anxious but tired dogs in the back.

So we tried Thomas. We found him on Yelp. He was right on time, pulling up on the street in an old newspaper truck with a portable generator on the back. However, he apparently has never clipped toy poodles, so I had to give him blow-by-blow descriptions on how to clip each dog. And I probably didn't do a very good job. I did get to stand in his truck and watch, however.

You should also know that Princess and Gabi take two separate cuts. Princess is more just-shear-her, while Gabi resembles a very prized, high-priced poodle. (They were both rescue dogs.)

First he combed them out. Then he washed them. Poor little Princess looked like a drowned rat. She was looking for an escape hatch anywhere she could find one.

Then he dried them off with a high-intensity blow dryer (not on "hot"), and when they were mostly dry, he switched to a blow dryer that was quieter and less power. Then he combed them out. And after that, took the buzz saw to them and then the scissors.

Any time they got out of line and started to wander off (quite often for Princess), Thomas would shriek wordlessly. And once or twice thumped Princess with his hand, not hard at all, and she would stop what she was doing (i.e., trying to make a run for it), and stare at him.

It was an experiment that didn't go well. Thomas didn't clip parts of them very closely (like their feet), and clipped some parts of them irregularly and unevenly. And he's pricey at $75 per dog plus tip.

So we won't be doing that again. But it did teach us that Princess, who hates being groomed, can just be cut by a normal untrained person, and that got us off our duffs to buy a scissor set for her. Gabi will still need the elaborate poodle cut, but by somebody who knows what they're doing.

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