How do you do it yourself?

I’ve mentioned in other posts how RV living requires some degree of self-reliance.  Unless you are independently wealthy, at some point you are going to have to fix something or perform a task that you normally do not do or to which you have never given much thought.  Some issue that come up might not seem like a big deal, but if you are not willing to try new things you might run into trouble.

One thing that came up recently was the grooming of our 3 dogs.  We have 2 Maltese and one poodle.  These dogs are great for RV life because they do not shed and are hypoallergenic.  They have hair, not fur, and they don’t leave hair on every seat and article of clothing.  .  The downside is that, like human hair, it just keeps growing and requires regular grooming.  They also require more work in the form of brushing and baths than other breeds.

When we lived in a S&B we would take them to a great groomer to have them shaved.  We would drop them off and 3 or 4 hours later they would be cleaned, shaved, nails would be trimmed and they would smell so much better.  Of course, our wallet lost considerable weight, as well.  To groom all three dogs would cost around $150, which was cheap compared to other dog grooming places we’ve looked at.  We considered it a good value since it kept us from having to deal with it.

Now that we are living full-time in an RV, it is hard to justify these kinds of expenses.  Since matting is such an issue if they are not properly groomed, we needed to find a new solution.  Rachel and I are definitely do-it-yourselfers and not afraid to jump in and try something out.  If you don’t know how to do something just remember Google is your friend.  You can find tutorial videos or instructions for almost anything.

Rachel has tried before to shave the dogs and they (by her own description) end up looking like radiation victims.  They are very wiggly and difficult to work with when it comes to grooming.  However, they tend to be better behaved for me when brushing and bathing so we decided that I would make an attempt at shaving them.  Worst case scenario: they would look like they got caught in a paper shredder.  The hair grows back.

While it took much longer than a professional groomer, I managed to shave all three dogs.  Cyrisa (the poodle) was first.  She has always been easiest because she is blind so she just stands there without a fight.  Her curly hair is harder to shave, though, and she struggles if you try to touch her paws.  Finn was next and he was surprisingly cooperative.  Had to wait until the next day to do Khaleesi.  She is by far the biggest wiggle-worm.  She took a couple of hours and was NOT happy about having her paws shaved, but we got through it.  I learned a great deal about using clippers and how to deal with grooming dogs, as well as a knowledge level of canine physiology I could have done without.  It isn’t something I would ever want to do for a living, but I am glad I can save us $150 every few months.

We have learned so many things since we went full time.  Some we expected and some were never foreseen.  We have much more to learn that we don’t even know about, yet.  I hope that after some experience grooming our dogs I will become proficient enough to make it slightly less traumatizing for them.

Yes, I gave Finn a mohawk.  It matches his skull sweater.
Khaleesi does not like having her picture taken, but she looks so much better.
Rachel was impressed that I was able to shave Cyrisa’s paws.   That was the only part where she put up a fight.