Click Go the Shears, Dog!

“Click goes his shears; click, click, click.

Wide are the blows, and his hand is moving quick,

The ringer looks round, for he lost it by a blow,

And he curses that old shearer with the bare belled ewe.”

Click Go the Shears:  The tune is an adaptation of the American Civil War song “Ring the Bell, Watchman” by Henry Clay Work and the first verse follows closely, in parody, Work’s lyrics as well.

Tom Roberts: "Shearing the Rams" 1890.

Tom Roberts: “Shearing the Rams” 1890. Bilbo is almost as woolly as a sheep.

Bilbo, our very woolly, mature-aged Border Collie,  is about to get shorn like a sheep and it’s going to be a real test of endurance not just for the dog groomer but also for Geoff who will be standing in the dog float with him. Bilbo became quite disturbed when I unceremoniously bathed him a few weeks ago with the garden hose out in the back. We’re Australian and both humans and dogs are tough and it’s not often that they receive the royal salon treatment. However, when it comes to the hose and the vacuum cleaner, Bilbo is a pussy cat. Actually, he’s more of a chicken!

Instead of going to the dog salon, the salon is coming to us.

Instead of going to the dog salon, the salon is coming to us.

That’s right. All his glamorous fur is coming off. Not so long ago, Bilbo’s beautiful black & white fluffy coat would have been the envy of many a Hollywood starlet. That was until he stood out in the rain once too often while his winter coat was shedding and it fused into a wadded clump. Brushing, brushing and more brushing and even strategic snips, did little to improve the situation…especially as he was staging a stubbornly  determined campaign of full-scale avoidance, fleeing whenever  we approached his rump with the brush. It reminded me of the classic children’s book: Harry the Dirty Dog written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham. Harry dug a hole and buried his scrubbing brush and ran away. Bilbo has come very close to doing just that.

Bilbo out on the kayak with Geoff.

Bilbo out on the kayak with Geoff.

I know I’ve shared about Bilbo’s intrepid adventures in previous posts. He’s gone sailing, kayaked and looking at the publicity shots, you’d have to say he is quite the intrepid adventurer.

However, contrary to popular belief, the camera lies. Indeed, it can tell the biggest, most seemingly believable, porky pies because, as we’ve been told, the camera never lies!! It sees what it sees. However, it makes the moment seem eternal and can give a fleeting moment a sense of eternity when it was perhaps a moment in time…and an exceptional moment at that!

Despite his bold, audacious and almost ferocious warnings to the postman, Bilbo is bark and all fright. Unlike Lady who greets anybody and everybody at the front door with enthusiastic tail wagging and thump thump thump at accelerating speeds, Bilbo avoids strangers. He generally doesn’t like being patted until he’s really warmed up to people, even those he sees regularly…except for my mother AKA “Ham-Ma”  who has been feeding him ham scraps even since he was a pup.He doesn’t even bark when her car pulls up. Like most dogs, even Bilbo’s love and trust is easily bought.

Perhaps, if I’d offered him food treats every time I tried to brush his rump, his fur might not have ended up in the knotted mess it’s in. Bilbo is the ultimate avoider and doesn’t understand anything about a stitch in time.

Hence, the clip.

I did try to attend to Bilbo’s woes myself and apart from nightly brushing and judicious use of the scissors, I also  gave the mutt a bath. Bilbo has only had a bath once before and to be quite   honest, he hasn’t needed a bath before either. He usually maintains his coat well himself with minimal intervention and never smells.

The beast looks relatively calm here but the hose is off.

The bath. Here the beast looks relatively calm  but the hose is off. He was wild…absolutely wild!!

That’s all changed and he currently stinks…I mean really sticks and his fur is greasy, matting and he seems to have a flea allergy. We’re getting the coat off and then expect to take him to the vet. Get him sorted.

Any moment now, the dog groomer is going to pull up and I am feeling quite nervous. I really don’t know how this is going to pan out. He went ballistic at the hose last week biting the water and lunging at me with his claws out. He gave mister quite a fright and left scratches in my legs. He can get quite skittish in some situations.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
– Nelson Mandela

Yet, Bilbo is not afraid. He’s asleep on the floor, oblivious to his impending ordeal. Instead, it’s me feeling the fear and trying to be brave.

Oh dear…they’ve just pulled up. Wish us luck. We’re going to need it!!

How do you have any tales to tell about your dog and baths and trips to the salon?

Meanwhile, have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

8 thoughts on “Click Go the Shears, Dog!

  1. merrildsmith

    Good luck! I’m sure Bilbo will do great!
    We once had a nightmare experience getting our old lady cat Tasha (now no more in this world) groomed. Tasha was quite old, her long fur was horribly matted, but her skin was very fragile. The groomer we took her to had no idea what she was doing–spent the whole day working on her, but did not actually get to the part that really needed to be done. This was right before Thanksgiving, when I was in the midst of cooking and cleaning–and now worried. My husband picked Tasha up at night in the pouring rain. The next day we had to take poor Tasha to our vet to finish the job because there were long strands of hanging hair along with the mats on her stomach, and it was dangerous, as well as ugly. The groomer had actually wanted us to return another day with Tasha!

  2. maxwellthedog

    Oh, that first photo. That is dog plotting revenge. I would not turn my back on that dog. “Laugh now,” Bilbo says, “you’ll be crying later, muahahaha.”

    I want to see some bald Bilbo photos!

  3. roweeee Post author

    Tom, Bilbo as you perceived was not happy. He wasn’t even grumpy. He was angry and on a self-protective warpath. He loves me and would do anything for me but he was lunging with me with brute force and it was what you would call “ugly”. Bald Bilbo photos are coming up next, although I am going to walk through the whole prelude to getting into the dog float. The dog was terrified. The groomer was at the very least circumspect because Bilbo wouldn’t even let her pat him and she was reflecting on being bitten and really was looking like this clip wasn’t going to happen so what could have been a very simple trip to the mobile salon, became the journey of a thousand small steps xx Ro

  4. Minuscule Moments

    Gorgeous dog Rowena. I remember my favourite little dog Trixie (now passed) Getting covered in fresh cow poop just before school time. My hubby drove up the drive on his quad bike for morning tea and needless to say had the awful job of cleaning her up. She was green from head to toe.

  5. roweeee Post author

    Kate, that is awful. Kids and animals also know how to pick the moment too, don’t they!! My husband grew up on a farm in Tasmania and he tells horror stories of their dogs rolling in cow pats. I don’t know if you read about Lady rolling in the dead fish at the beach. She smeared it over herself like roll-on deodorant and the stench was trapped within the hair follicles, impervious to a bath. It took weeks for that smell to fully dissipate!!! Hope you’ve had a great weekend xx Rowena

  6. New Journey

    Pictures of our newly sheered border please….my border loved to get sheered…she would lay on the bench in any position I would put her in and I swear she was smiling….off came the hair and then a nice bath, we used the outside shower on the RV so we were able to use warm water…not her favorite pastime..but she did like the massage part of the bath….but she would beam with pride after a sheering…LOL she was hot blooded like me so the less hair the happier she was…..God I miss her!!! xxkat

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