Four Paw Spa
Mobile Pet Salon
Getting away from restaurant reviews for a few days, allowing the wounds to heal, I thought it might be better for me to talk about another topic – and what do I like to talk about almost as much as restaurant reviews, grandchildren, fishing, cooking, jamming, etc. – but my 4 year old Golden Retriever, “Shadow.”
Shadow is a rescue dog from the Baja Sanctuary in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. The feeling was that he fell off of an American’s boat and swam to shore. When found he had bee stings – so severe that he had to have surgery to remove one of them.
I knew that “Buddy”, my other Golden Retriever was not going to live much longer – hip problems – and when told about this bedraggled dog I decided I wanted to adopt him. “Perhaps”, I told myself, “he would give Buddy an incentive to live a little longer”. And I think that it worked. Buddy was my husband’s dog. I once told Bob that if I ever got my own dog, I wanted one that would “shadow” me the way Buddy shadowed him. Hence – “Shadow.”
Shadow was trained for only one thing when I got him. He knew he had to go outside to relieve himself. He knew no commands. I spoke to him in Spanish. He ignored me. I had a Japanese student at the time and he didn’t listen to her; I also had a Swiss/German student and he didn’t listen to him either. So I decided it was time to train him in English.
Shadow has had two excellent trainers – for my other dogs. He has absolutely refused to be trained. Oh! Don’t get me wrong! He knows the commands. But he only wants to follow them when he wants to – not when I want him to. For example, at the dining room table if I tell him to lay down, he will. If I give him the same command in the living room he acts like he has never heard the words before.
He spends a great deal of time at my daughter’s house. She has a dog the same age as Shadow and they have a lot of fun together. My daughter will give Shadow a command and he follows it with a smile on his face. I give him the same command and he ignores me. Selective hearing I think is what it is called. (At least that was what I called it when my husband was alive and ignored me too!)
Shadow is a “shedder”. There is fur all over the place. I comb so much fur off of him that I leave it in piles for the birds and they come and “hand pick” the fur for their nests. (Funny about those birds – they take the blond fur and leave the darker color.) But I think that I have combed off enough fur in the past 6 months to make nests for ALL the birds in San Diego.
I used to take Buddy, and my dogs before him, to the Ocean Beach Dog Wash. A wonderful place for them. It would be a good place for Shadow too, except for two things: Shadow gets car sick – even on a short ride – and he is afraid to climb up the steps to get into the tub. Now Shadow weighs 90 pounds. Have you ever tried to lift a 90-pound animal that does not want to be lifted? Right. You get the picture. And since I am talking about Shadow’s foibles, this Golden Retriever does not like water. He doesn’t mind taking a bath but he won’t get in the pool; doesn’t like dog beach, etc. And giving him a bath is a chore – for both of us. So what to do?
A month or so ago I discovered Cari Huges, the owner of Four Paw Spa, a mobile pet salon located here in Ocean Beach. Cari has been in business in Ocean Beach for almost 9 years. She has a degree in Animal Physiology from UCSD and before she went into business for herself was a groomer at Pet Co.
She brought her huge mobile bus to the house and took Shadow out to it for a bath. (I was still recovering from my broken leg and could not bathe him.) He came back smelling nice; he was clean and fluffy. He didn’t seem too traumatized; and for at least two days he stopped shedding.
So now that it is summer and hot, Shadow is shedding a plastic sack – yes, one of those sacks that are being banned from the stores – a week. I have called Cari back and today she is giving Shadow a “haircut.” Not too short, because I don’t want him getting sunburned, but something that will make him more comfortable – and me too!
It was interesting for me to see that when she came to the door he recognized her immediately. He didn’t bark; he ran around in circles – a sign he is happy – and brought her a toy. He is out in the van with her now. I feel sorry for the birds – no more fur for a while – but I think they probably have built all the nests they are going to build this season. But I am thrilled that when the wind blows in the house I will not be wiping strands of fur off of my face.
One of the nice things about having Cari come to the house is that Shadow is not stressed as he was when we went to the Dog Wash. He seems to be comfortable, and, although still stubborn, allows her to work on him with love and treats. It is well worth the price and convenience to have her come her rather than fight him all the way. And guess what? She grooms cats too!