Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday, 26 June 2008 - ShedFest

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the final weeks of ShedFest.

Festival season is here, offering a full calendar of events that celebrate all things summer. Roses. Jazz. Beer. Watermelon.

At our house, we celebrate ShedFest, an annual event that begins in late spring and continues through early summer. ShedFest involves two characters: T, the canine superstar who sports a short but extremely dense chocolate Labrador Retriever coat and me, the unpopular groomer.

The 15-20 minute "show" takes place at least once a day on the patio. Here's what happens when the curtain rises.

First, I lure T outside (this is easy since he follows me everywhere). But, as soon as he sees the wire brush in my hand, he hesitates. He knows he's trapped. Although T dislikes the brushing routine, he loves getting my full attention and doesn't try to escape.

I hold T's collar lightly with my left hand. Then, with brush in right hand, I gently stroke his torso and limbs, moving with and against the "nap." I concentrate on "deshedding" the densest areas like his hip and neck regions.

During early performances, I pause once or twice to remove a thick mat of taupe-colored fluff from the bristles. During later performances, I must clean the brush 3-4 times.

After 15-20 minutes, T starts squirming, his way of telling me that he is running out of patience and my cue to end the performance.

After one final all-body brushing to smooth his coat, I release his collar and set him free. He immediately shakes off and retreats to the house. There, I confront him and tell him how handsome he looks. He sits calmly, patiently awaiting the usual but highly coveted rewards: a delicious treat and a big hug. The final curtain falls.

Show over, T decides to nap in a sunny spot in the backyard while I begin my next task.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


(top) April: T models his dense winter coat.
(bottom) June: T shows off his shiny coat and sleek summer physique.

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