From Drab to Fab…Shanti’s Got a New Groomer


Alright, I lied. Shanit doesn’t look fab, more like sad. You see, dogs, unlike cats, are not highly esteemed in these parts. Shanti, used to monthly ‘treatments’ at the groomer and getting his teeth brushed is looking like a mess. Back in Old Town Alexandria, dogs are treated better than people (i.e. there are parks specifically for dogs, dog walkers are hard to find (because they’re booked solid despite their outrageous prices), the Hotel Monaco has ‘Yappy Hour’ in the summers for dogs and their owners). We found it so difficult to even make an appointment at the groomer that we had to have a monthly standing appointment to insure that he would be seen. Here in Amman, there are few, if any groomers, and the few that exist, operate out of veterinary clinics. Shortly after Raj arrived here, he took Shanti to the groomer/veterinarian for a hair cut. Luckily for me, I missed the trauma. As the story goes, Shanti was so upset that the veterinarian/groomer said he had to give him a sedative. Really? For a hair cut? Isn’t that overkill? (I’m curious to know how a groomer could shampoo, cut, and shave a dog that’s limp from a sedative.) Needless to say, the picture of Shanti that Raj sent to me afterwards was pathetic. He looked  like a ‘plucked chicken,’ which explains the two types of dog cuts in available in Amman: shaven or trimmed (no boutique cuts). His ‘skirt’ was shaven, but nothing else, that’s why he’s sporting the dumbo, fluffy, ‘you can’t see my eyes’ look in the picture above.

As a result of the lack of grooming options in Amman, we came up with a few solutions to the dilemma. We could:

  • let Shanti go native and stop grooming him (but when we walk him through the trash lot around the corner at night, his fur is so long that he picks up all kinds of gunk that gets stuck in it. I really enjoyed having to cut gum out of his beard last week!)
  • send him back to the vet./groomer where he’ll keep getting tranquilized and will get a bad haircut (for $40 JD’s)
  • or, groom him ourselves with a grooming kit
As you may have guessed, we opted to try grooming Shanti for ourselves. Having never groomed a dog, Raj thought, “It can’t be that hard!” I ordered a clipper set from Amazon, but in the back of my mind I was recalling images of Schultz, my first Schnauzer and the haircuts he received under my father’s impatient hand. I’ll admit, the haircuts got better over time, but there were a number of the initial attempts that left the poor dog’s ears bloody.
Raj washed and dried Shanti and we set up shop in the kitchen (don’t cringe, there’s no outlet in the backyard for the clippers). It took about an hour and the finished product is below. It was much more difficult than we imagined (and we watched the informational DVD). Poor guy (Shanti, that is). He looks much better than he did, but this is no schnauzer cut. On the bright side, we’re anticipating saving SO much money doing Shanti’s grooming ourselves, money that I’ll surely be able to use on something for myself.

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12 thoughts on “From Drab to Fab…Shanti’s Got a New Groomer

  1. Since your’e currently unemployed and have some new found skills (thanks to the informational DVD) I suggest that you tap into an untapped niche in the market. I bet that in Jordan they don’t have mobile grooming trucks for dogs or cats. You can come up with a cute name like “Noah’s Bark”- you are near the holy land after all. You can start calling Shanti, Noah, and plaster his mug on the side of your truck. You can drive around town and provide mobile grooming services. You might even offer “Yappy Hour” for some of your fur child’s fur friends. You can tweet as to your location. People and dogs might flock. Just a thought.

  2. I love the name, but it won’t fly here. It’s CATs and ONLY CATS. I’m not sure there’s much of a market for cat grooming since they’re ALL feral and live in my backyard. I’d love to tweet about my fur baby’s play dates, but there aren’t ANY fellow pups in the area to play with. Plus, where would we play, the local empty lot that’s full of trash?

  3. Oh, poor Shanti! I don’t think I would have gone back for more “professional” groomings at that vet either. I always had to take my Labs in because they were so big, and Hamlet hated water, had so much “down” fur. But they went to the Paradise groomers next to Davies Animal Hospital and they were good. I also would opt for the home grooming, and you guys did a good job! Shanti looks just fine. :o) You may have the neighbors wanting you to groom their dogs, so watch out!

    1. Thanks, Kim. Raj considers himself a ‘dog whisperer’ so I’m volunteering Raj to groom Hamlet next time he’s in town with his new ‘kit’ and set of skills. (j/k. I wouldn’t do that to your dog).

    1. Dear Buddy, You too have had the plucked chicken look. It’s not a good look for a dog like you with an underbite. If only your family would play the game ‘brush the dog’ like the dog groomer Darlene taught Nicole, then you wouldn’t have to be shaven.

  4. Jen, I am so hurt about your comments on my haircutting ability. Shultz did enjoy my cuts and so what I skinned his ears a few times.. He after all had terrific sleeping accomadations in the garage. He did get gun shy after a period and I believe it was not my lack of skills but the poor equipment. The clippers kept getting stuck and Schulz would go crazy. Whereas Shanti appears to be much mor calm around his groomers. All in all, GOOD

    1. Are you referring to the antique satin-lined suitcase that he slept in in his chicken wire pen? Why did he have to have a little pen even though he was in the garage? I can’t remember.

      Your favorite daughter:)

  5. Ok. That is so funny! I decided that I needed to save money myself, so I too bought a kit and groomed Teddy and Chuy. Ok. It us worth it to go to the Groomers. I have hair everywhere. I cut and cut. And there is still hair everywhere. In the end the dogs look like i did when I lives on the islands , got lice and my mom gave me a hair cut — a pixie! Poor dogs! So I broke down, took them to a groomer who is 1/2 what my regular groomer costs – digs doesn’t look better, and now has bad hot spots! Back to the original plan– suck it up, spend the money, afterall, these r our babies!!

    1. I’m with you. I’d much rather pay someone to do this. We didn’t cut his nails (b/c I’m afraid to cause them to bleed) and worse still, we didn’t ‘express’ his you know what glands and I think he’s in serious need of that…but I’m too afraid to do that too.

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