This is a shaggy dog story.
Freddie, the six year old large black shaggy creature who was Mac’s right hand man has had to step up to the plate to become Pack Leader of a pack of two.
Fred came to us a sad thin rescue who ate glass because he had been so hungry he would try anything. The cruelty shown him in his first few years was laid down painfully in his coat, which even after years with us smelt deep down of fear,
So we left him alone, largely, brushing his coat and trimming the worst, and let him be for a while. We fielded emergencies like the day he rolled happily in the waste products of a local fox (that was a shower I will never forget).
He knew what a dog groomer was and anticipated them by planting four paws on the door frame and refusing to advance further. In such situations he proved invincible.
Fur does indeed take care of itself and natural oils can do much to solve problems over time.
But there is one problem with leaving curly canine locks be: doggie dreadlocks.
When a certain kind of dog hair mats it forms dreads. Dreads everywhere, dreads in the most uncompromising of places. These confound any grooming brush or conditioner.
Fred had an admirable set, really, everywhere: and as he was Irish we were concerned, by this Summer and with an apprentice on the way, that he might be accused of Cultural Appropriation.
We were rescued by Maddie’s friend Deeya, a dog lover with no dogs at home, who has a brisk and businesslike attitude to Getting Things Done. She came to see Maddie for a day and they marched off to Pets At Home and came back with doggie conditioner and shampoo and grooming brushes and all sorts (Freddie had broken all ours) and they set to in the back garden and washed that fear right out of his hair. Carefully, they trimmed the dog and groomed him and by the end of the day he looked like a doggy prince and felt like satin, and there was not a dread in sight.
Yesterday we sat checking Fred for any anomalies, giving him a brush, testing to check he felt like satin. he waited with martyred air, for Freddie has Princess Di eyes and can reproach at 50 paces.
Bottom dreadlocks: none. None on his head. Tummy dreadlocks: not a one.
And then, we arrived at his armpit. In just one armpit, not the other, hung a doggie dread. Nice.
It has been dispatched with all speed, spit-spot, observed by the aforementioned Eyes of Reproach.
Behind him, The prentice waited. Riley is a tousle-haired roustabout. While Macaulay was short haired this explosion of sparks has diminutive but proportionally long locks. One can brush his at 6pm and he is sporting dreadlocks by 7.
We are in a whole new world of dread management.