“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. 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.
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.
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 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!