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Beau's Hair Cut

“You don't shave a Chow!”  The woman who groomed dogs told us. Her attitude was one of tolerance for our obvious ignorance.

“Why not?”  Milly wanted to know.

“Well!  It just isn't done. Their fur is what keeps them cool in the summer.”

Milly looked at her and asked, “Tell me then why is he suffering the heat like he is. Look at him! He is miserable.  I don't think this dog can survive the heat.  If you won't do it and I can't get it done, I will do it myself.”  Milly started to gather the dog up to take with her.  This was a brave statement.  She really knew nothing about grooming a dog.

“Oh well, if you are determined, I will do it, but I'm telling you it just isn't done.”  The woman had her final say.

Milly didn't say anything more since she had the woman's agreement already. The truth was she had watched the dog suffering the Oklahoma heat for too long. They had a soaker hose in the yard where he could come close to the cool air around it but he was obviously not able to get away from the one area he was so miserable.  Under the shade trees was even too hot.

Having to watch the dog from their air-conditioned comfort seemed such a cruel thing to do.

Milly's allergies to dogs threatened to close her breathing down if the dog was in the house for any time at all. There was a special brush which pulled the deep matted fur out in great clumps but this did not help that much. There was still the heavy coat Beau, the Chow,  had. The only alternative she could see was to have the dog shaved of his thick coat.

Milly tried to prepare the children for the way the dog might act after having his coat removed.

“I had a friend in Dallas who had her dogs groomed. Without their coat they were so ashamed of themselves the two dogs  wouldn't come out for a couple of days.”

“Will Beau be ashamed of himself?”  The children wanted to know.

“It is a possibility.”  Milly advised them. “It won't last long though. He will be all right.”

Milly left the car running with the air-conditioner going while she and the children went in to pick up the dog.

When the woman brought him into the waiting room,  he looked like a totally different breed. As instructed the woman had left the ruff around his neck which made him look like a small lion. The ball of fur on the end of his tail added to the picture.

Beau was obviously so pleased with his new look.  He was anything but shy about his appearance. Instead he was all at once a new dog. He bounced around the room with new energy. Gone was his lethargic dragging steps. Now he was actively investigating every part of the room as if he had not been there before. His winter time personality was all at once back.

The air-conditioned ride home helped his attitude as well. The soaker hose was still shooting it tiny streams of water into the air creating a cool zone. Unlike before when he had his heavy coat Beau was bounding all about the yard as frisky as a puppy. The yard was once again his and he was trying to make himself acquainted with every part of it again.

“Mama!  I thought you said he would hide and be ashamed of himself.” The children called the mother's former advice to mind.

“Let this be a lesson to all of us.  It is sometimes best to use one's common sense as to what is good and what isn't. That woman who grooms dogs almost had me convinced that it was wrong to remove that heavy coat.  I'm so glad she didn't change my mind about what I wanted done.”

So it was for all of Beau's seventeen years he was groomed during the summer months. By the time cool fall days were arriving his fur was a lot grown back. Every year it was fun to watch the exuberant playfulness of the dog as he was rid of the heavy hot coat. The family wasn't involved with showing dogs or the status quo as far as Chows were concerned.  It didn't matter to them that for a short while he didn't look like a Chow. If he was more like a small lion that was a good joke too.

“Wow! You folks have a lion in your backyard?”  A stranger who saw the dog might ask and that was fun too.

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