Chessa is a beautiful, massive, menacing-looking German Shepherd who I’ve never heard bark—until a week ago when her life was threatened by a Chihuahua at the park. She kinda oversold herself and the Chihuahua hid in its mama’s lap.
Despite her reaction to the squirrel-sized dog at the park, Chessa is the sweetest 113-pound canine I’ve ever had the honor of caring for.
Chessa is a rescue dog—Nathan adopted her when she was two years old and that was seven years ago. Some rescue dogs are mistreated and develop disruptive behavioral survivor responses. We’re fortunate that she has a loving, intelligent, and sweet personality.
But Chessa has a problem. She sheds 4.7 trillion pounds of fur a day. It’s really quite a mess.
Nathan and I vacuum every other day, and sometimes daily. Nine times out of 10, as the vacuum is being put away and the cord rolled up, a ceiling fan will pick up and whisk across the room, another puffball of Chessa’s fur. Deliver me.
When Nathan and I were first married and I moved into his home, I thought that maybe Chessa had a skin problem or something that was causing the excessive shedding. A googler from way back, I took to the Internet to learn more about this breed. Straight away, every site I read indicated the massive shedding. Which made me wonder about the massive physical energy these dogs use to create new hair every day. Because, she’s not bald anywhere. So, I must conclude that a great amount of her energy is spent sprouting new hair growth. Impressive. And that’s probably why she sleeps so much.
Okay. Since I couldn’t beat the shedding, I was going to have to find the best and most effective tool for warding off its effects in my life. We already had one of the best vacuums on the market, the Dyson Animal, so I started there.
Dyson has an attachment aptly named the Pet Groomer. As I did my research, I read the reviews on Amazon.com.
Side note: If you use Amazon.com, you’ve got to make a habit of reading the reviews. For the most part, they are very useful, particularly for mainstream brands and devices. However, the reviews for offbeat items like Three Wolf Moon T-shirt and the BIC for Her Pen are pure entertainment.
As I skimmed through the reviews, repeatedly, owners who gave it fantastic ratings were owners of . . . German Shepherds. Bingo, I was sold. So, now I had to find the best price. Ebay, of course. I found a used-once groomer and didn’t wait for the auction to end. I went straight for Buy It Now! and purchased the item (with shipping) for about $25. The transaction was great and arrived in about a week.
Now, Chessa has been vacuumed many times with the upholstery attachment on the Dyson and she always loved it. However, I would soon find that the brush of the Pet Groomer combined with the vacuum suction would be her nirvana.
Nathan used the groomer on her first and she could hardly stand still. She would circle around and lean up against Nathan as he swiped the tool across her back. She’d even collapsed with paralysis because she loved it so. We definitely had a hit. And it filled up the vacuum canister in the first grooming. I could’ve knitted a sweater.
What we didn’t realize was how insistent of a monster we’d created. The vacuum could no longer be turned on without whines or pushing or “herding” or stamping of foot. On more than one occasion, as I vacuumed I felt a presence looming behind me. See the image above? Turning, I’d see Chessa, tongue relaxed over her teeth, panting, ears down and eyes alert—stalking me as I worked.
“Go lay down, Chessa,” I commanded. She would turn, walk four or five steps down the hall, then turn to look over her shoulder. “Go,” I said. And she would reluctantly go lay down . . . for 12 seconds. Then she was up, panting, following me around, giving soft whines, touching her nose to the closet that harbored the attachment. I’d direct her back to her bed and give her the “stay” command. That worked for about 67 seconds. Repeatedly, she challenged my commands and would get deeper and deeper “in trouble.” (Please. [Rolling my eyes.] Trouble at our house is “lay down” and “stay.” Not anything super harsh.)
At the end of vacuuming, I then released her from the 28th “stay” command I’d given and attached the grooming tool. I soon found out how much joy one dog could express. She’d stand paralyzed still, on the verge of toppling over, when she’d suddenly break away and sprint around the house for one lap. Back to me for more sweeps with the groomer, then a lap around the house. It was comical.
One day when Nathan and I were both home, we captured her antics; you can see the Vine videos here and a calmer video, here. Do you see how much joy this dog has for the groomer? (And for her daddy?) It’s the best part of her day.
We’ve had the groomer for almost a year now and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There’s still a LOT of hair that falls to the ground, and I still vacuum as much as I always did—primarily because I want to keep up with it and keep things tidy. But the amount of hair I’m vacuuming up is decreased. And the most important thing is that it brings Chessa joy.
Sure, she risks getting into trouble when the vacuum comes out and she stalks me, stands in my way, or tries to herd me while vacuuming. But it’s a risk she’s willing to take. And, let’s be honest, she knows I’m not serious when I laugh as I deliver the “in trouble” commands.
What pet accessories or tools do you just love?
Which accessory or tool does your pet love?
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