2015-04-30 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

He’s been bugging me so long; I can’t put him off any longer. My “Edgar Afghan Poe” wants to write a dog beauty tip column, but his name sounds too grim to give grooming advice so he will be using the nom de plume “Monsieur Edgar” this week in his Q&A about canine cosmetology. (Note: I haven’t the faintest idea why these naïve dogs think my big braggart is an expert worthy of their questions.) Here goes:

Q: I used to be so pretty, but now I am a very matted Cocker Spaniel because I have been wandering so long, looking for my missing owner. Someone placed me in this crowded kennel. I heard it was called a Town shelter and that I am up for adoption. Will anyone ever want me if I am so dirty and unkempt? Signed, Lady minus the Tramp

A: Oh, Mon Dieu! You poor girl. Yes, someone is searching for a Cocker just like you. It may take time. Compassionate people view homeless dogs like others do real estate when they enter a neglected house. They picture the potential of the house. Kind adopters will see into your soul and envision the dog you can be. I bet the nice folks at the shelter will begin your makeover when you relax. They may shave your mats, and bathe you. In 2008 I was a matted mess, one of the worst, when seized by Animal Control in Santa Fe with my 66 Afghan siblings. I was so scared that the staff anesthetized me to strip me down. When I got to Newark Airport, I still had pieces of cactus stuck to my coat. Then Afghan Hound rescue angels took over and did the best they could grooming with the little coat I had left. Look at me now. A top judge said I had the best domino Afghan head he has ever seen, even though I am not a show dog.

Monsieur Edgar offers dog beauty tips. Monsieur Edgar offers dog beauty tips. Q: I am a Beagle, and I love to be outside sniffing around-that is, when I am not sleeping on top of my doghouse. Charlie Brown found a tick stuck on me. He yanked it off with tweezers. After that bloody scene, he put some glop in between my shoulder blades so I don’t get any more ticks. He’s worried I might get “lime disease.” I’m a dog. I don’t eat citrus. Do I really need this sticky stuff on my back? Signed, Snoopy

A: C’est dommage! Ticks are terrible! It’s spelled “Lyme” disease named after the Connecticut town where the illness was first noticed. There are other tick-borne diseases to worry about, too. Unfortunately, Snoopy, many vets feel our owners should protect us from ticks (and fleas) with topicals or other vet-approved products year round depending on the climate where we live. At least you have short hair. Charlie Brown can inspect you with a cat comb and find any varmints adhering to your skin. What about me? I have a long, luxurious coat. I always thought that Gardiner Park in Bay Shore was “Tick Haven,” yet two days before my last grooming appointment, we went for a walk in Belmont Lake woods. When my groomer put the forced-air dryer on and my wet hair separated, she found six ticks, several already embedded in my skin. My Mom found another when we got home. Oh, the humanity! Those tweezers hurt. The tick topicals mess up my coat so my Mom delays using Frontline as long as possible. Eventually she realizes it is better to have a sticky Afghan than a sick one. Frontline and K9 Advantix II packages say to wait 24 hours after a bath before applying, but my vet is more careful. For better protection, he recommends not applying tick topicals less than three days before, or three days after a bath because of interference with oils in the skin.

Q: I am an older Yorkie stray, new to Babylon Shelter. I’m wearing out-of-state tags from 2013, and the phone number registered to my microchip is disconnected. The kind vet at the shelter shaved my wooden mats so I can relieve myself and so I can walk better. Monsieur Edgar, why do people get long-haired dogs if they have no intention of brushing them? Signed, Sweetheart the Yorkie

A: That’s a good question, Sweetheart. These people have to know that although we are smart, we can’t brush ourselves. It is more than a matter of aesthetics. Proper grooming provides us with comfort and prevents many ailments, such as flea dermatitis and ear infections. Neglecting our coats is a form of torture. Severely matted dogs can barely walk. Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment; owning a long-haired dog is a lifetime grooming commitment, too. It’s best to get a puppy used to the feel of a brush before his coat grows in. Afghans should learn to stand on grooming tables as young as possible. The Afghans from my hoarder house were not used to being brushed. Afghan Rescue ladies worked hard to desensitize us to a grooming routine by offering cheese while they de-matted or bathed us. My Mom called Velveeta the “Afghan valium.”

Q: I have long ears that hang in my food bowl when I try to eat. I don’t like having sloppy, soggy ears that taste like leftover liver. Any suggestions, M. Afghan Savant? Signed, Huckleberry Hound

A: Know the feeling so well, Huckleberry. Hate noshing on my long, luxurious ear fringes. You can bark and maybe your Mom will catch on that you want her to buy you a deep, narrow dish. Meanwhile, the veterinary jury is still out about whether raised dog dishes help prevent or prompt cases of deadly bloat.

You can also wear a snood which will pull your ears away from the dish. Be advised, only Afghans and Salukis look marvelous in snoods, especially when they’re sequined or brocade. No other breeds have our ancient, sculpted profile, accentuated by a flowing coat that resembles the Nile against an Egyptian pyramid. Snoods are the ultimate sight hound fashion statement.

For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643- 9270) Lamar St., W. Babylon: “Sweetheart” 15-261 is the sweet but pathetic Yorkie whose question appeared above, while the poor cat “Dante” 5-98 lost his home when his owner became quite ill.

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