February 28, 2011 § 8 Comments
Maple is feeling a tad embarrassed about her nakedness and, to be honest, I am too. We need to find some creative ways to protect her modesty so we can go out without receiving unsolicited stares and wayward glances from passersby (both human and canines)! MM and I will have to consider getting her some cover-up soon. Meanwhile, MM and I are still adjusting to Maple’s bare-it-all look. You’re probably wondering how the little furball ended up this way.
[Warning: Long-drawn-out, explanatory rambling below. Please read at your leisure!]
Maple’s hair was getting way too long and, because she’s such an active pup who is always on the move, her curly locks got easily knotted and matted. Soon, we found ourselves unable to unravel the tangled mess and knew that Maple was long overdue for a proper grooming. I contacted Wizard of Paws—a pet shop with grooming and boarding services located on East Coast Road in the Joo Chiat area. After reading the customer reviews on their Facebook fan page, I was keen on giving this business a try because their in-house groomer, Sheena, is a dog-grooming instructor. And, since it was Maple’s first trip to a groomer, I thought it would be better to have her handled by a certified professional.
Wizard of Paws is an establishment that has been around for the past six years but the current owners, Adam and Jamie (who were former customers, themselves), took over the business and have been running it for the last two years. It’s a homely shop that’s sparingly stocked with merchandise for dogs and cats, predominantly. Upon entering the shop, you are greeted by the shop’s residents and ‘PR managers’: a rabbit, a bird, and two cats. As we were early for our appointment, Adam took some time to run through a few different Toy Poodle cuts from a book and showed us a few pictures of his customers’ Toy Poodles after their grooming sessions. A few minutes later, Sheena, the groomer, arrived and greeted us.
Sheena examined the condition of Maple’s hair and declared that Maple would have to be shavened down to the skin. De-matting could be performed but the procedure would be very painful for Maple. I anticipated that Maple would require a pretty drastic cut, but nothing could prepare me for the ‘botak’ (no hair) look. We didn’t have much of a choice and decided this was the best and only option.
As this was our first grooming experience, I’m not able to compare the service at Wizard of Paws against other salons. Nevertheless, here are my two cents. When I first made the appointment over the phone, I mentioned that Maple is a puppy and this would be her first groom. Jamie reassured me over the phone and said that I would be able to watch the grooming in session. However, during our visit, we were allowed to ‘peek’ but advised not to hang around and watch, as our presence may cause Maple to become agitated and nervous. I was a little disappointed, but figured it would be best if it meant Maple would endure less stress.
The total for the full groom was S$45, which included a bath and dry, cut and trim (i.e. body, paws, delicate areas), and nail clipping. Ear cleaning/plucking and expressing of the anal sacs are also included in the cost, but we requested not to have them done on Maple. I’m quite happy with Sheena’s handiwork on Maple’s paws—the nails are evenly clipped and the hair in-between Maple’s toes have been neatly trimmed. As for Maple’s full-body shave, well, there are some uneven patches like the knees and neck. Perhaps Maple was wriggling and Sheena couldn’t perform a close enough shave in those areas. We’ll just have to wait for the rest of Maple’s hair to catch up and then it won’t be so obvious.
Fortunately, Sheena was able to salvage the hair around Maple’s face and gave Maple a traditional Teddy Bear look. The cut looks quite symmetrical all around, except for the back of Maple’s left ear where we noticed a little bald spot. On hindsight, MM and I have discovered that we quite like a rounder and fuller ‘face’ on Maple. *sigh* It will take some time, though, before we can reach that stage again.
Before we left the shop, we asked Sheena for advice on grooming maintenance. Sheena mentioned that we should not rely solely on a slicker brush and recommended that we invest in a comb, which does a better job at working through the knots. Sheena also advised pulling the comb in different directions through Maple’s hair, sometimes combing against the direction of hair growth (I’m not sure the reason for this—I’ll have to read up on it). Lastly, we have to help Maple get accustomed to people handling her front legs and paws; at the moment, she doesn’t like to be touched there very much.
All in all, Wizard of Paws does try its best at providing quality customer service and having a grooming instructor on hand is a positive factor. However, for anxious first-time dog owners seeking grooming services for their four-legged companions and wanting one-on-one interaction with the groomer, you may have to continue on with your search. It’s still too early to decide if we will select Wizard of Paws when Maple is next due for a groom because we weren’t able to observe Maple’s chemistry with Sheena during the visit—this kind of relationship, in my view, is quite important when finding a suitable groomer.
For now, MM and I are eagerly waiting for Maple’s hair to grow (although we think she actually enjoys having a shorter cut, now that the weather is warming up). We’ll be tracking her progress with photo updates, which will be posted on Facebook. Feel free to follow us on this journey: From Sausage Roll to Puff Pastry!