On January 17, the year of our Lord, 2023, I took our Goldendoodle to the groomer for a trim. Tucker is his name. Properly, Tucker Scout Mitchell. He has a full three names in his name. That’s how much of a doodle dad I am.
The backstory of why we have a doodle is pretty simple. My wife doesn’t like hair on her pants. Or couch. Or floor. To be fair, neither do I. Thus, the doodle is a genetically engineered dog for people who don’t actually want a dog.
If you’ve never tried to purchase a Goldendoodle, or a black market vital organ, just know that the process is similar to that of the Hunger Games. There are lists, down payments, and alliances… If someone else on the list ahead of you mysteriously vanishes, it’s not all loss and isn’t your fault.
The etymology of Doodle, it turns out, is German for, this dog will cost you everything.
You see, doodles require meticulous grooming. I am lucky if my three human daughters’ hair gets brushed every day.
I Wanted a Dog the Least
When Tucker does get brushed, it’s usually because I brush him. I pretty much do the most for him which makes sense because I wanted him the least.
And I knew what would happen.
Against my otherwise unbreakable will, I’ve bonded with the bugger. He went to work with me on the daily for a year coming out of COVID protocols. We’re thick as thieves. It’s to the point that I actually felt some anxiety leaving him with the groomer. Granted, I feel anxious 80% of the time, so there wasn’t a lot to be concerned about.
My greater concern was the end of the day.
8 Hours Later
Like many businesses, the groomer decided that even after Covid the whole not interacting with people was best for everyone. You arrive, call the number posted outside, and they bring your beloved pup out to you.
Waiting in the car on a dreary day, having wondered hour after hour what Tucker would look like, I was strangely giddy and slightly fearful for what I’d see.
The rain falls. I wait.
Sheila emerges from a concrete path lined by hedges. It was as dramatic a scene as my Tennessee Volunteers running through the T in Neyland Stadium.
Then I saw a dog trailing somewhat slothfully behind Sheila. I felt sorry for whoever was taking that one home. Not only was the dog mostly hairless, but I’m also fairly certain its soul had been taken in the process.
Sheila passed by the only other car in the pick-up zone. Oh dear. Clearly, Sheila has made a mistake. This wasn’t my precious Tucker. When Sheila opened the back door and put the animal in my car, it acted like it knew me. At that moment I realized I was going home with this doodle lite version of a doodle.
The part of the exchange I appreciated the most was when Sheila vocalized that she had to shave Tucker. That felt like an unspoken to me since I’d dropped off the likes of Chewbacca that morning.
I joked around a bit about not liking his hair anyways, and she struck back fast.
“Yeah…he’s an every day brush.”
“You have to brush him every single day. And make sure you work around his mouth to get him used to that so he doesn’t nip at me next time.”
Like an aging mother telling her adult child all of the unfortunate things happening with her body, Sheila then informed me that she’d gotten really deep into his ears and cleaned those out. “He’ll be shaking his head quite a bit for the next few days.” Apparently, whatever hair the doodle doesn’t shed just relocates to its ears. Super.
“And don’t worry if he forms some hematomas around his ears, that’s normal.”
I’m not a doctor, Sheila.
One Last Thing
I was ready to say thanks and head on to hear the collective groan of my family, but she wasn’t done. Sheila leaned in(to) my rolled-down driver-side window. Real serious-like she lowered her volume and flattened her tone, “Just so you know, his anal glands were about half full.”
And then she just kept staring into my eyes, as if to say, “I think you know what I’m saying.”
I did not.
Is 50 a good percentage of anal gland fullness?
How are we keeping score? Is this like golf where the lower number is better, or are we playing basketball and I need to get more into those glands to win the game? What are we even doing at this point, Sheila? What is this dance?
All I know is I dropped off a vibrant, one-and-a-half-year-old doodle who seemed pretty satisfied with his hairiness and his anal glands at the time, and I was going home with the equivalent of a 94-year-old man who needs around-the-clock care and is most definitely going to pass the time by scooting his rear across my living room rug.
But it’s fine because there is absolutely no hair getting on my wife’s pants.
I literally laughed out loud when I read this! Being a doodle owner myself, I completely related to ALL this! From the “I want a dog that doesn’t shed” to “why does her butt smell like SHRIMP?!?”