Monday, March 19, 2007

Shaggy Dog Story

Cosmo needs a grooming. Cosmo, as some of you may know, is my seven-pound apricot toy poodle, apricot being an accepted American Kennel Club color, as opposed to peach, plum, or papaya. Cosmo comes from a long line of champion poodles. Never mind that his father is also his grandfather (what's a little inbreeding among family?). Or that his mother weighed eleven pounds while his father/grandfather only tipped the scales at five. I try not to picture that union. But I love the result to pieces.

Cosmo will never be a father or a grandfather, having been neutered at nine months. While this may have stopped his reproductive abilities in their tracks, it did nothing to stop his copious, curly, fruit-colored locks from growing at an alarming rate. Cosmo is like me in that he has hair, lots of it, as opposed to fur. So, like me, he needs frequent grooming appointments. Cosmo's haircuts cost more than I would dream of spending on my own, especially now that I've found the Vidal Sassoon of dog groomers. Every few weeks, I bring Cosmo to The Dog from Ipanema, where Jarbas, the gushing Brazilian owner, takes my "baby" from my arms and, cooing all the way, delivers him to Annette for the full spa treatment.

This is not a mere bath, not a mere haircut. For starters, the bather puts special little goggles over Cosmo's big brown doggie eyes. One of the caveats about bathing dogs is never, ever to get soapy water in their eyes. This is one of the reasons why I never, ever give Cosmo a bath, not counting the time when one of my kids accidentally spilled a full pitcher of pineapple juice on top of him. He nearly drowned in the sticky liquid and a bath was the only solution. But normally, I entrust bathing to Jarbas' crew, which does an admirable job. Recently, my poor little pooch had a double ear infection, so Jarbas made sure cotton balls were carefully placed in his ears before bathing was begun.

The signature of a great groomer is the cut and the comb-out. Annette gives Cosmo a regal, yet adorable cut and her comb-out is a work of art, producing a result more impressive than an eight-hundred-dollar Japanese hair straightening job, not that I've had one (but I'm thinking about it). Cosmo's coiled curls become silky, lustrous, and straight. And his nails—well, I could opt for polish, but I draw the line at pet pedicures. After all, Cosmo is a male. Ditto for ribbons around his neck or fancy rhinestone collars. Not for my manly little canine. Still, when Annette is through with him, he looks like a million bucks, as well he should, considering I'm paying almost that much.

Cosmo, ever the aristocrat, appears unfazed by all the groomer's ministrations. When I pick him up, he makes a beeline for the door, anxious, as always to get back to the important things in life—sniffing, peeing, pooping, and above all, eating.