Well, spring has finally arrived in my part of the Pacific Northwest. The news said it officially arrived on the 20th but because we received 2” of snow on the 22th I have been a little tentative to stamp the date on my calendar. However, since it was 60 degrees yesterday I think it’s safe to say it’s here.
For Tess, spring definitely arrived yesterday. Yes, it was spring doggy spa day at my house. Out came the Number 4 blade and away we went. Two hours later we had filled a grocery bag with the past and out came my stealth creature that winter had kept hidden.
During this time of visual re-adjustment, I might be accused of overusing the word stealth when describing my Tess. I can’t deny it. It’s my crutch through the process. The conversation that goes on in my head is quite anxiety provoking, “Who is that skinny, straight-legged dog?” “Give me back my well-balanced, muscular, athletically structured perfection”. “How do I explain this shape-shift to the other poodle owners in the neighborhood?” “Why does Tess look so sad? Will she ever forgive me?” “Do dogs feel embarrassed?” “Where did I put the phone number of that clinic with the underwater treadmill?” “Were her carpals always so knobby?”
With the help of my supportive partner, who sees my dismay begin as soon as I put the number 4 blade back into its “box-o-fun” for another 6 weeks, I move to step one of my recovery process – take action. Out come “the hands” – a hazard of the job – that begin to measure and assess the once hidden boney alignment, symmetry, muscle bulk, and all the many superficial lumps and bumps that belong to my 10-year-old-wonder.
Step two quickly follows with a plan for more hill work and hiking to build up hind limb bulk, more matrix stairs (what I call slow motion stair descent exercises) for more shoulder bulk, more cavaletti work to level out that slight hint of a roach. Oh yes, dermatologist appointment to check out that little hard white bump at the base of her tail. Finally, comes step three. A less aggressive step, but still required: Finding Tess’ two coats, one for style and warmth and the other to protect from the rain.
It makes me wonder what all the top conformation poodles look like under that hair. We probably will never know. The paparazzi are truly missing an opportunity here. I know that in a couple of days when my eyes have become accustomed to the long lean lines and I have fought the temptation to give Tess double rations, my recovery will be complete, feeling stronger and more secure in my “poodleness”. May spring unearth many hidden opportunities for you, too.