Well Groomed

I watched this 2019 documentary about the world of competitive, creative dog grooming on the Doc Play platform.

I’ve always owned dogs that I could groom myself without too much trouble. (Izzy, for example, has the short coat of a greyhound and only needs brushed and regular nail trims and possibly a bath once a year). But I have clients whose dogs need professional grooming and, hey, this was a movie involving dogs so I had to watch.

The documentary follows the stories of several women who use poodles as their creative canvas in grooming competitions across America.

It’s a different world, to say the least.

Ethically, I’m against the use of brightly coloured dyes being used on dogs. They may be marketed as harmless, but if a dog was meant to have a coat in the colours of the rainbow, genetics would have sorted that out by now. I also can’t endorse the use of nail polish on dogs, either. Both product ranges must have a chemical base and exposing dogs knowingly to these types of chemicals just seems wrong.

The poodles, I have to say, are very well behaved on the grooming table. I suppose they’ve become accustomed to the hours they spend standing on the grooming table for these competitions. To me, though, that seems sad when they could be out playing or just enjoying life as a pet.

Professional dog grooming is just that – a profession. And I am in awe of the great work done for my client’s dogs who are – well – real, loved family members – in need of a solid groom.

I simply can’t get my head around this art form because the dogs don’t really have a choice to opt out.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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