The girls are living a dog’s life here in Maryland. They have no lack of dog lovers here and, best of all, a huge fenced-in yard in which to play. There are even other dogs within eye and earshot. Conversation’s good, I’m assuming; they’ve not uttered anything to the contrary, so if there’s trouble, they’re keeping it to themselves.
Further more, there’s a warm fireplace downstairs. If we’re upstairs in the sitting room, there’s always the space heater. The chairs here are generous, with plenty of room for man and beast. The whole house is just generally dog-friendly. It’s a good place to be, whether you’re a dog or a dog’s person.
But there is a dark side, unseen abuses happening within these walls. Terrible things. For instance, today the girls underwent Nail
Trauma Trimming. I doped ’em up with some diphenhydramine HCL (generic for Benadryl), hoping to sedate them a bit. The dosage is 1mg per pound, for those who are curious; it works well for some dogs for motion sickness as well as acting as a mild sedative.
I carried a nicely-relaxed Sarah to the bedroom and put her on the bed. Best to keep them separated during this engagement. It’s also best to do Emma first. This all we’ve learned from experience. If we do Sarah first, Emma gets excited by Sarah’s squeals, starts dancing around and barking in commiseration. Sarah’s anxiety level goes through the roof and there’s too great a chance for her to pull a muscle in her struggles. Yeah, it’s that bad. Thank God Sarah only weighs 32 pounds; she packs a lot of power into that compact doggie body as it is.
So, Sarah closed in the bedroom, I went back to the sitting area and sat on the floor. As soon as I pulled 48-pound Emma to me, she figured out This Isn’t Good at All and sprang to full alert. Grasping a paw, I had no sooner touched clipper to nail than she catapulted herself backward in an attempt to escape. “Yeah, it’s party time”, I thought.
You’re beginning to see why this is normally a two-person maneuver. Howie holds the dog on his lap and (mostly) imobilizes her while I pry a paw away from her body at a time to trim the nails. It’s stressful, with much bitter yelping and crying. And that’s just me. Right now, though, Howie isn’t able to help me, so it was a juggling act the likes of which are normally reserved for Circ du Soleil performances.
Emma morphs into a wild-eyed crazy dog during The Trim. On a couple ” 3″ occasions, she’s tried biting. Not good. Anticipating trouble, I muzzled her with the belt to my terrycloth bathrobe. I hate having to manhandle the pups like that, but it’s all I can do if I get the job done.
As soon as Emma’s claws were at a reasonable length (as close as I could get to the quick without drawing blood), I let her out in the yard to run off her adrenaline. Then came Sarah. She knew what was coming and wanted no part of it. When I called her into the office, she immediately leaped up on Howie’s chair. He told her to get down, but all this did was make her slither over onto the the back of my chair, adjacent to his.
With Sarah, there’s a fine line between her cringing and her cringing and peeing, so I pulled out my trump card and appealed to her base instincts. “Squirrel!” I cried, then clicking my tongue as we do to get her riled up. It worked and she perked up and stood on the arm of the chair, looking out the window.
That was the easy part. You would never guess she’d ingested a sedative an hour earlier. She was a basket case, twisting and writhing in my arms, crying bloody murder. A passer-by would think she was being beaten. All of this did not go unnoticed by Emma, who was downstairs in the back yard. She could hear Sarah through the window glass and was voicing her outrage from below.
Despite the uproar and calesthenics, I had not nicked the quick on one nail. Not one, that is, until the very last. I drew a bead of blood from Sarah’s last digit and my heart sank. Crap. The carpet’s beige. No time to think – grab dog, stand up, carry dog into tile-floored bathroom. Deposited shivering onto the tile, Sarah looked up at me with big brown eyes still wide open in stress. Poor girlie! I picked up the white bath rug and closed her in the bathroom for a bit so her heart rate would go back down and the nail would quit bleeding.
After a little while, Sarah joined Emma outside and I breathed a sigh of relief. It was over!
A little 409 spray on the tile and it was good as new. I’d just showered previous to doing their nails, but by the time I got done I was a sweaty mess. It’s stressful! Why do we do this to them? Why do we do this to ourselves? We’ve decided next time we’re just going to pay a groomer. I’ve said this before, but after today, my resolve is mightily strenghened. Unsurprisingly, the girls don’t act up near as much when taken to a strange place and handled by strangers. It’s so worth it!