Ace was born and raised a city dog, and however mean one might consider the streets of Baltimore, they (and its sidewalks) always did a good job of keeping his claws filed down to a less than deadly length.
That was a good thing, because, when it comes to a toenail trim, Ace will have no part of it.
Groomers, vets and I have all attempted it, only to receive the clear message from him that — as much as he likes to have his paws played with, as much as he likes to hold hands — bringing any sort of grooming tool near his claws is a declaration of war.
Ace’s claws, for that very reason, have always been too long.
That poses problems, to himself and others. Ace is quick to shake hands, and sometimes does so unsolicited. In Baltimore, when he was working as a therapy dog, I feared he might inadvertenly and with all good intentions rip apart the small children reading to him, and I monitored him accordingly.
They were too long when we pulled out of the city, for a year-long, John Steinbeck-inspired tour of America. But by being constantly on the go, his claws remained at least at a tolerable length during our travels.
They were too long, despite daily walks around the block, after we ended up in Winston-Salem, N.C. and moved into the apartment of my birth.
Once again, I went out and bought some expensive clippers, having misplaced several old and never-used ones. But the latest attempt didn’t work either. No brand, no style, no method of claw trimming seems to work on Ace.
He doesn’t snarl, or bite, he just bucks and flails and, at 115 pounds, overpowers anyone attempting to trim his nails. What’s much scarier is the immense stress it seems to cause him. His heartbeat speeds up. He pants and drools and squirms. His eyes get a frightened look. Maybe I just imagine it, but he even starts to exude an odor. The smell of fear?
Once, back in Baltimore, I asked Ace’s vet to trim his nails. Ace resisted. The vet muzzled him and tried again. Ace resisted more. Then the vet called two burly men into the room to usher Ace upstairs.
From below, I heard the ruckus. It sounded like a professional wrestling match was underway, and about two minutes later they brought Ace back down, saying they’d been unable to accomplish the task — despite their muscles and whatever implements of restraint were upstairs.
It was concluded then that the only way to do it would be by sedating him. The idea of that scares me at least as much as how stressed he gets.
For my my most recent effort, I bought the most expensive professional nail clippers I could find. I let them lay around the living room for a week so Ace would get used to them. Then I recruited a friend, and had her feed him treats as I attempted the deed. Despite even that incentive, he balked. By the time it was over, I was almost fully sprawled atop him while whispering sweet nothings into his ear. He bucked me off, and not a single nail got trimmed. (Anybody need some expensive professional nail clippers?)
I described all that to Ace’s most recent veterinarian, here in North Carolina, at his check-up last month.
He suggested we start jogging on sidewalks. Then, seeing my reaction, he suggested I find a young and energetic friend to jog with Ace on sidewalks.
He also suggested a complete blood work-up that, in addition to checking for any health problems, might also help determine how well Ace would handle sedation.
We didn’t take him up on the second offer, deciding to wait until Ace turns 9 for that.
We did consider his other suggestion — though not to the point of taking up jogging.
Since moving to historic Bethania, and having our own back yard, Ace doesn’t go for a walk every day. Bethania doesn’t have a lot in the way of sidewalks. Three or four times a week we take a short walk — mostly on the street — to the little post office where I pick up my mail. Two or three times a week we walk the dirt trail that meanders through Black Walnut Bottoms, behind the visitor center.
Once in a while, Ace will hear a hunter’s gunshot there, prompting him to turn around and head home. Ace also fears loud, cracking noises — anything from a bat hitting a ball to the crackle of the fireplace. His fears, as he grows older, seem to become more pronounced, but then maybe that’s true of all species. Whatever little fears we have turn into big looming nightmarish ones. Probably, there is a drug to help deal with that. But I am increasingly fearful of pharmaceuticals.
Given the lack of options, I decided Ace needed to spend more time pounding the pavement — and at a pace quicker than the slow one at which I prefer to move along.
So we took some of the vet’s advice, and reshaped it to fit our lifestyle (OK, my lifestyle). We headed down to the golf course where I work as a bartender a couple of nights a week. (Ace not having appeared in a movie in a while, I took my new camera along, too, to test out its video capabilities.)
I’m thinking of making it a twice-a-week routine. The mile-long trot seemed to make an immediate difference. His claws weren’t really any shorter, but they were much less sharp and pointy.
Ace slept great that night, but then he sleeps great every night, with only occasional scary dreams that makes his paws flutter as he emits little whimpers. I don’t think he’s chasing rabbits in his dreams. More likely, he’s running away from scary monsters that want to clip his nails.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, animals, baltimore, bethania, cart, cart paths, city dog, claws, country dog, dog, dogs, golf, golf courses, groom, groomer, grooming, hot to trot, hygeine, jogging, long creek golf club, movie, north carolina, pavement, pet care, pets, problems, refusal, sedation, sidewalks, solutions, stress, toenails, travels with ace, trim, trimming, trot, trotting, veterinarians, vets, video, winston-salem
Here’s a story out of California that has Orange County written all over it.
Seems Don Ninow, 76, was returning home after picking up his dogs — Sassy Lassy and Mister Magoo — from the groomer, a place called Critter Clipper.
He placed his dogs, a Yorkshire terrier and a Maltese, in the car, a Jaguar of course.
On the way home, he rear-ended a car at a red light and the driver called police. Ninow was arrested by police in Huntington Beach on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs — though he maintains he had only taken his diabetes, blood pressure and heart medications, according to the Orange County Register.
Ninow, released after the arrest, went to Orange County Animal Care to pick up his dogs, but only one was there — Mister Magoo. Ninow was able to get him back for a $136 fee, but Sassy Lassy was missing in action, and none of the various authorities knew anything about her.
Turns out the police officer — perhaps a bit Magooish himself — never saw the second dog. Mister Magoo had been sitting in the car, but Sassy Lassy was in a carrier. Apparently the tow truck driver didn’t notice Sassy Lassy either, when he towed the Jaguar to an impound lot.
The dog was left in the car from about 4 p.m. July 3 to about 6 p.m. July 4.
Now Ninow has filed a claim seeking $9,999 for the impounding of his 12-year-old dog.
Police confirmed that one of the dogs was unintentionally left in the car. They are still investigating the claim, filed by Ninow Dec. 18, as well as the case against Ninow.
(Photo: Orange County Register)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, arrest, california, car, carrier, dogs, don ninow, groomer, impounded, jaguar, left in car, maltese, missed, missing, mister magoo, orange county, police, pound, sassy lassy, seized, yorkshire terrier
Las Vegas residents eagerly waiting to get their pups cleaned by Heidi Fleiss are going to have to wait a little more.
The 43-year-old former Hollywood madam’s attempt to open a dog grooming business — called the “Dirty Dog” — was blocked Wednesday by a District Court judge, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The judge ruled in favor of Jeffery Marvian, who alleged his estranged wife, Nickol, conspired to sell Fleiss their dog grooming business — named Little Buddy Bath and located in a Kmart shopping center — in violation of the couple’s ongoing divorce action.
Under the ruling, the shop will remain closed pending completion of the divorce proceedings.
Nickol Marvian said Fleiss had threatened and bullied her in text messages. “She basically threatened me (that) she would go to Family Court and try to get my daughter taken away from me and she also wanted all of her money back.”
Jeffery Marvian’s attorney, Shelley Lubritz, said Fleiss entered into the deal with Nickol Marvian knowing it was wrong.
“Ms. Fleiss’ hands are as dirty as the name she wants to put on the business,” Lubritz said after the hearing.
Porn star Kendra Jade Rossi was also involved in the deal, but the judge dropped her from the complaint because she was not with Fleiss and Nickol Marvian when the agreement was reached.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: business, court, dirty dog, divorce, groomer, grooming, heidi fleiss, hollywood madam, jeffery marvian, kendra jade rossi, las vegas, little buddy bath, nickol marvian, ruling, shop
A freelance dog groomer in Greensboro, N.C., was charged with killing her roommate’s dog.
Amanda Todd, 21, was arrested Friday and charged with felony cruelty to animals, according to the Greensboro News-Record.
Police say Todd’s roommate left the dog with her. Todd became agitated with the dog and threw the animal across the room. The dog died from its injuries.
Todd was arrested and held on $1000 bond. She has been released from jail.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, arrested, cruelty, died, dog, greensboro, groomer, grooming, injured, killed, n.c., pets, roomates, thrown
The Decatur Correctional Center in Illinois is looking for a dog groomer, willing to work behind bars.
The center runs a dog-grooming training program, and Kim Schwalbach, the woman who has led it since 2002 is stepping down, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The program is known as CLIP, which stands for Correctional Ladies Improving Pets.
Thirty-six year-old Katrina Williamson went through the program and says it changed her life. She landed a job grooming dogs right out of prison. Prison official Mike Dooley says few of the women who have worked with Schwalbach have returned to prison.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, clip, correctional, decatur, dog, dogs, groomer, grooming, help, illinois, improving, job, ladies, pets, prison, prisoners, program, rehabilitation, training, wanted, women
A Tennessee lawyer who was suing a local groomer over the death of his dog is now working to raise money for the groomer’s parentless children.
Knoxville attorney Tom Ramsey set up the fund after learning that Erik Webb, the man he was suing, had fatally stabbed his wife, then shot and killed himself.
The Webbs had three children.
Erik Webb owned Happy Tails Pet Spa in West Knoxville. He and his wife, Sarah, were separated, according to a WATE-TV report.
Police said Webb killed his wife with a kitchen knife at her home, then drove to his pet spa and shot himself.
Ramsey started the fund the day after the killing. Ramsey had taken his beagle, Moxie, to Happy Tails last year for a bath and the dog later died. A necropsy found Moxie suffered broken ribs and a lacerated liver, as well as bruising inside the beagle’s ear and mouth and signs of heat exhaustion.
The Ramsey family filed a $750,000 lawsuit in December claiming that their dog died as a result of “intentional or highly reckless conduct.” Webb was also charged with animal cruelty.
Ramsey says he doesn’t feel responsible for what happened, but started the fund to help the Webb’s children.
“I’ve got three kids and I spent a sleepless night last night, obviously. But our goal all along with this lawsuit was only to stop the practices that were going on. Our goal wasn’t … to hurt anybody in the family or family members.” Ramsey says.
(Photo: Erik Webb in police file photo)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beagle, children, erik webb, fund, groomer, happy tails, knoxville, moxie, murder, news, ohmidog!, pet spa, sarah webb, suicide, tom ramsey
Five dogs — four pups and their mother — were killed in a fire early today at a pet grooming store in the Chicago suburb of Romeoville.
Eight dogs and a few birds were rescued.
A passerby who was visiting a nearby 7-Eleven convenient store noticed smoke coming from the back of Suzette’s Dog Grooming and called 911 about midnight, according to the Associated Press.
Fire crews forced their way inside and began to search for the fire, which appeared to have started in a storage or bathroom in the one-story building, officials said. Four puppies and their mother in the room where the fire started perished, but firefighters rescued eight other dogs and some birds that were in a cage.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 18th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dog, dogs, fire, firefighters, five dogs killed, groomer, grooming, illinois, killed, news, puppies, rescue, romeoville, shop, store
Take ”Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” replace the straight guys with dogs, throw in some firm tugs on the old heartstrings, and you have a basic understanding of the Animal Planet’s soon to premier program, “Underdog to Wonderdog.”
Every episode will feature the “Wonder Team” — made up of a groomer, carpenter, trainer and, of course, good lookin’ and energetic host — transforming an “unkempt, undernourished, unloved” shelter dog into a well coiffed, housed and trained family dog.
Having not seen it yet, we give it a D for originality, a C for the inadvertent slap in the face to shelter workers, and a B for meaning well.
The show promises to send each dog through “a complete metamorphoses, becoming the dog it was always destined to be. Every shelter dog is rescued, groomed, trained and rehabilitated before finally being placed into a loving home – equipped with its very own custom-designed dog house.”
The show starts Saturday, January 3, at 8 p.m.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 16th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal planet, carpenter, dogs, groomer, host, lucky, makeover, makeovers, maryanski, media, mutts, olivia, programming, reality, ryan smith, shelter, television, trainer, tv, underdog, underdog to wonderdog, wonderdog, yorkshire terrier
I’ve never been real big on “best of” lists. They’re sort of the grown-up equivalent of the cliquish high school in-crowd (head cheerleader, quarterback, etc.) making our minds up for us — whether it’s about what the prom theme is going to be, who can sit at what lunch table, or what constitutes cool.
I’ve been even less big on them since I made last year’s “Best of Baltimore.” *
Nevertheless, Baltimore Magazine’s picks for 2008 ** are out and we feel it is our duty to pass their crack staff’s dog-related choices on to you, so you don’t have to fork over $3.95 for the August issue.
For best pet store, Baltimore Magazine chose Howl, formerly known as “Chow, Baby!” up until pressure from the Purina company prompted owner Robin McDonald to change the name this year. The magazine called Howl, at 3531 Chestnut Avenue, “a Whole Foods for pets.” It offers a wide variety of healthy dog food, and also houses an obedience school for dogs, B-more Charming.
The magazine bestowed best groomer honors on Kerrie Grudziecki, of the Reisterstown Boarding Kennel Pet Resort and Spa, 14454 Old Hanover Road in Reisterstown. The magazine said Grudziecki “is great at calming nervous first timers,” and offers a full line of grooming and spa treatments for your dog.
For the top dog in doggie lodging, the magazine picked PetSmart’s Pet Hotel, 9041 Snowden River Parkway in Columbia. “… With its airy atriums and suites, hypoallergenic lambskin beds, and caring staff, (it) has all the amenities you’d expect in a fancy hotel, including an on-site pet hospital, ’room service’ and in-suite movies.”
For all those dog businesses that, like me, fell from grace and didn’t make the list this year – The Pretentious Pooch, Dogma, and Charm City Dogs were honored as last year’s ”best” – chin up, keep the faith and we still love you.
* In the 2007 “Best of Baltimore” I was voted “Best reason to cancel your Sun subscription … Well, it’s more than one reason: 7,497 of them, actually (we counted). That’s how many words were in Sun reporter John Woestendiek’s interminable seven-part series about his dog’s lineage. Now, we like dogs, we like John Woestendiek, and we even like lineages. But 7,497 words?”
** The 2008 Best of Baltimore list ran 17,065 words. (But who’s counting?)