Oh, Mr. Bear. How I love thee. Let me count the ways.
Oh, Baby Bear. How I get frustrated with thee. Let me multiply the ways.
My goal for the past several months has been to keep Bear mat-free so that we can keep his fur long. We prefer the sheepdog look to the poodle look, but his dense fur is pretty high maintenance, so it takes eom real doing.
Blake built me a laundry/craft table in the unfinished portion of our basement and I've found that it works really well as a grooming table. It's high enough that when I put Bear on it he doesn't try to jump off. In fact, he just stands there in utter dejection while I brush him and tell him what a good dog he is. It makes me feel bad that he's scared to be up so high, but it's the only way to brush him without him thinking it's a game. Everything is a game to this little guy.
I gave myself a big pat on the back when I picked Bear up at the groomer a week ago. He came out looking great and had maintained most of his fluff. This is a first. Usually he has to get a short cut because his matting is out of control. But this time. This time was different. This time he came out with a serious swagger to his fluffy walk.
Blake and I marked the occasion by pulling out the nice camera and getting some glamour shots of our main man. I'm not ashamed to admit that I felt like squealing "it's so fluffy I'm going to die!" every few seconds. Yes, he's a soft as he looks.
Lest you think he's all fluff and sweetness. Here are some other Bear anecdotes for your comedic enjoyment:
1. A couple days before he was groomed, there was a day where I had to give Bear three baths. Twice because he had been playing in the snow and was covered in snowballs (dingleberries, we like to call them), and once because he had a stow-away cling-on.
I'm usually pretty good at spotting cling-ons. In fact, I'm usually meticulous about keeping his "poop-shoot" shaved (oh the ways your dignity leaves you when you get a puppy). But this one he got past me. Well, he got it past me until he decided to jump up on the couch and drag his bum across my lap, leaving a very unpleasant-smelling skid mark in his wake.
Needless to say, bath number three included the use of surgical gloves and a plethora of gagging.
2. I made the mistake of letting Bear run around on the neighborhood tennis court with his friends for over an hour. The poor guy ran down his paw pads and got blisters. I felt like the worst dog-owner in history as Bear spent the next day carefully licking his paws. Uhg. The poor guy didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to go on walks the next couple days.
When I finally took him out on a short walk, he made it three blocks before he sat down and refused to go any further.
Of course this was the one time I'd forgotten to bring my phone, so I couldn't call Blake to come pick us up.
Three blocks doesn't sound like much, but I'm 7 months pregnant, waddly in the extreme, and not supposed to pick up things over 25 pounds (Bear weighs in at a heafty 32 pounds). But I couldn't let the poor guy suffer and didn't want to drag him home on his sore feet.
So I picked him up. And he was in so much pain that he started head butting me and crying. And I started the heavy, stuttery breathing that precedes crying. I waddled three blocks home with a head-butting dog and a determination not to have a breakdown before entering my home.
I made it through the door, but just barely...I started crying so hard I almost fell over. Blake, who was on a conference call on the couch, looked at me with panic in his eyes. Hormones. I tell ya. They make a girl do the strangest things.
Alls well that ends well, though. Bear's paws are just fine. And I used enough crying power to get me through the next year. Go team.