Back, Sack and Crack

by Maria on May 12, 2017

This morning, Milo had his third professional grooming session. The first was a disaster. The salon we took him to thought they knew better than the universal wisdom of Samoyed owners, which is to brush first, then shampoo. Reverse the order, and brushing becomes impossible for, oh, about three months, till the matted undercoat grows out. He came home looking like a sheep who’s been too liberal with the Brylcreem, but instead of comely ripples of fur flowing down his back he had a mogul-field made of clumps of three-inch thick dog-felt.

The second time was pretty good. A woman parked outside and ran a power-flex into the house. Milo leapt into the van and sprang out a couple of hours later looking like a pompom. In the meantime, though, his yowling and weeping could be heard through both the van door and the front door and all the way back to the kitchen. When I went to get him, the inside of the van was covered with so much white fluff it looked like a candy floss drum right before the stick goes in.

Third time round, we went with the van-lady again. We have builders in. (Actually, we’ve had them in since January 2016. Work slowed down a LOT in the summer when the best one went home on a family visit and was press-ganged back into the army to go and fight in Donetsk. Allegedly.) When the van arrived and backed into the back-garden, the builders did the whole manly thing of waving it in and holding the gates, issuing a stream of instructions in loud Ukrainian. The Portuguese-speaking groomer found it very helpful.

Then we all had five or so minutes of trying to catch Milo and calm him down as he pinballed around the house and garden, dodging (mostly) power tools and ladders. At one point he stopped suddenly and tiptoed like a Lipizzaner out of the kitchen to hid behind the door, probably on the logic that if he couldn’t see us, etc. etc. Eventually, we got him into the van. The lamenting began and I went back to work upstairs.

About an hour later, the white fluff went up. Milo was ready. Out he trotted in a perfumed cloud of almost blue-white fur, reminding me of the time we nearly christened him Cracker. I paid the groomer and she mentioned that she might have gone a bit close on his intimate areas. Don’t worry, I said, thinking of his stinky under-carriage and its more or less constant contact with the sofa and our bed, it’s not really possible to cut it too short down there.

When she left, I realised what she’d meant. Not his – do dogs have groins? – cockle and mussels (the latter a sadly now-empty ball sack), but his hind-quarters. I lifted up Milo’s tail and saw, in more detail than I could have imagined, his dark, puckered ring of power, edged by a palm-sized buzzcut of white bristles poking from almost humanly pink skin, in the manner of furry posh bacon rinds from the farmer’s market. Think this, but just in a three-inch radius around Milo’s rectum.

He seems happy enough. If he minds it being breezy back there, he’s not letting on. We went straight to the park so he could let out his many feelings about the whole experience. Every time I caught a glimpse of it, I corpsed, then weighed the merits of telling Ed gently or just letting him discover the dog’s baboon-arse himself. Worryingly, the other dog-walkers reacted with either horror or laughter in about a two to one ratio. But my main concern is that now we can see Milo’s arsehole I’ll have to start wiping it.

And also, what will it do to the division of labour in the household? Ed never grooms the dog, but occasionally redeems himself by spending ten minutes nipping crots out of Milo’s hind-fur with the kitchen scissors, a bit like men who never cook weekday pasta but don’t mind whipping up a Lobster Thermidor for guests. Now there is nothing disgusting to clip, I don’t see what grand gestures are left to him.

Anyway, as I always think when I relent and finally go to the hairdresser, it’ll grow back.



Neville Morley 05.12.17 at 3:41 pm

No pictures?


Everett 05.12.17 at 4:37 pm

Usually, I come for the sci-fi book reviews and the erudite discussion. Today? The laffs! Thank you; I totally needed this.


Maria 05.12.17 at 4:46 pm

Oh Neville… OK, I ditched my smartphone the day Trump was elected (Twitter, mental health), but for you I will try. It may not pass porn filters, though. It’s that bad.


Maria 05.12.17 at 5:45 pm

OK I tried a picture, but jesus, it’s too much. It’s almost as bad as the time Ed was convinced that Milo had some sort of infection in his, um, lipstick, which you could only see when the lipstick was extended out, if you take my meaning. He kept trying to make me look, and I kept refusing. Over dinner, Ed pulled out his phone to ‘show me something’, and I was faced with a massive close-up of … it. It was like a weird phallic inversion of the dripping lady bug parts in Starship Troopers. (The vet subsequently confirmed all quite normal.)

I will have to leave it to your imagination.


MPAVictoria 05.12.17 at 6:12 pm

I loved this story.


Ronan(rf) 05.12.17 at 6:25 pm

We’ve all been there Milo, bro. Keep well.


tom 05.12.17 at 6:35 pm

Maybe it’s me but it took me few seconds to figure out that this was not about the homonymous alt-right celebrity…

As to the best builder always disappearing, I believe that is a universal phenomenon. Maybe mine is in Donetsk too.

Nice read, as always.


LFC 05.12.17 at 7:26 pm

Ronan’s comment @6, for its sheer — pun intended, sheer/shear (get it?) — ridiculousness, prob. wins the thread.


Maria 05.12.17 at 8:18 pm

Tks guys. Milo is staying strong.


Matt 05.13.17 at 4:25 am

Something like this happened to our family dog at one point, but he was so closely trimmed that it hurt his skin, leading him to lick the area too much, so insult was added to injury when he had to wear a cone of shame to keep him from licking off the needed ointment. In the mean time, perhaps you should look into something like this ? (Added plus – it’s really funny on its own, whether needed or not.)


Maria 05.13.17 at 3:45 pm

Those are amazing, Matt. And of COURSE they are hand-made in Portland(ia).


Neville Morley 05.13.17 at 8:21 pm

For some reason Matt’s story reminds me of the time our youngest cat Sophie had the snip and then had to be put into a babygro to stop her trying to pull out the stitches. She was not happy…


Helen 05.14.17 at 11:51 pm

This is why I only have shorthairs.
Talking of disgusting animal stories: My riding instructor’s dog gets all the testicles when they need to geld colts. He knows what’s happening and waits, drooling, while they do the procedure.


Kiwanda 05.15.17 at 3:47 am

Matt: oh, man, those things raise some questions I’d don’t really want to think about.


Barbara Roseman 05.16.17 at 12:46 am

Clearly you all have never encountered the neuroticism of the “clean dog” dog owner. The things they sell in our pet stores are awesomely wondrous if you have concerns about your pet-baby leaving any particle of themselves around the house. Aside from Matt’s found product, there are wipes for the little one’s behind, diapers for those who can’t be toilet trained (or are ill), cat litter that makes the pee and poo disappear (not really), and homeopathic remedies for almost anything you can imagine.

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