Grooming is the way pet owners show their respect and love for their pets. The human touch values, maintains and communicates love and health. A vet once told me that most dog owners only touch the heads of their animals, so physical problems like tender spots, sensitive areas, skin conditions, or emerging lumps do not get detected. Billy and Jill advocate using grooming as an opportunity for careful daily inspection. A comprehensive chart showing which breeds or types have which kind of hair (39-41) leads toward another chart called “Hairstyles of the Furry and Famous” (44-45). The authors believe that each breed or type depends upon its natural coat to maintain insulation, warmth, and protection of the skin from sun. The authors do not advocate short summer hairdos for long-haired breeds because short cuts can expose the skin to sun burn and skin cancer and create an irregular grow out (46-47). Since Raja’s coat flows all year long, personally I felt vindicated against all the advice to cool him off by buzzing him down. (Thanks, pals.) And Billy and Jill ban those cold, shocking baths all the TV commercials love to depict as “just so much fun” with the dog, a tub and a hose outside (319). Bravo!
While grooming is the gateway to a tactile, caring engagement with your dog, the authors also thoroughly and compassionately address dog nutrition, dog medical emergencies, dog safety at home and on the road, dog first aid, choosing a doggy daycare or kennel, fun activities with dogs and- Raja’s and my favorite topic- dog travel in cars, boats and planes. The authors have definite views on all topics and the book is unwaveringly clear about best practices, but they always advocate a level headed, analytical approach to the commitments of dog care:
“A healthy dose of skepticism and common sense helps when wading through all the marketing puffery, vague claims and fancy packaging [for commercial dog food]. Look past the … vague endorsements and self certifications.” (79)
Meaning, be self-referential and maintain your sovereignty over how you process product information.
I especially appreciate Billy and Jill’s advice about yard care and want to share it with you here since flea season is upon us right now:
The authors say: “Treat Your Yard” (and I thought, “Oh no, here come the chemicals.”) But no, they say …
“Fleas like to hide out in the long grass and moist shady spots. Mow your lawn; remove weeds; clean up grass clippings, old leaves and other yard waste and remove all standing water. “ (193) Same for ticks. (And for those living in apartments, seek groomed areas for dog walks in flea season.) Also, as a first defense against fleas indoors, they want you to vacuum all the time. OK, well that works better than anything.
Happy Dog: Caring for your Dog’s Body, Mind and Spirit is a labor of love for the authors. They value our commitment to our furry family members deeply and offer this meticulous guide to help us all, combs and brushes in hand, along the path to fun with our happy dogs.
While Raja says, sorry Billy, he will never really be super happy about baths, he appreciates all Jill and Billy’s nurturing thoughts about pets and water and will do his best to see his frequent baths in a scrupulously clean (319) and rubber mated kitchen sink as my attempt to help him toward self actualization and comfort.
Check it out: Happy Dog: Caring for Your Dog’s Body, Mind and Spirit $12.00 US, $20.00 CAN.
And don’t forget Ian and his hard working friends. Read about them at: http://www.iansbeadcompany.com/