Danger,Will Robinson. Velcro ahead.

by Susi on September 16, 2011

in body suit, National Specialty, Puli, Velcro

Post image for Danger,Will Robinson. Velcro ahead.

As I prepare to leave for our National Specialty next week, I’m lining up all the things I think my dogs might need while we’re gone. Bowls and food: check.  Towels and blow dryer: check.  Toys and grooming supplies: check.  As I rummaged through the dog room, I came across a “suit” I’d purchased for my dog a couple of years ago but that he’d never worn. Intended to protect his coat from weeds and dirt, the suit is made of a lightweight nylon and has openings in all the important places, like, say, the dog’s head.

At a Puli specialty, one sees the many creative ways in which owners keep their dogs’ coats protected. Di rigeur are fabric covered elastic bands used to tie the cords away from danger spots, most notably, a dog’s “nature spicket.” Then, too, we want to pull the cords up off the ground where a Puli’s coat reliably collects small objects: twigs, dried dead foliage, small mammals.  I know someone who once pulled a slicker brush off her dog’s testicles,  something the dog must have walked over at a dog show. I’ve never forgotten the look of shock on the owner’s face. I’m guessing the dog never forgot the moment, either. Extraction took place in private. I’m told it took a while.

When 175 hair bands aren’t enough to fully protect a dog’s cords, some owners chose to put their dogs into suits, such as the one I have pictured here. So when I came across the suit I’d bought in 2009, I thought: what better time to try it out than at a national specialty when I want my dog squeaky clean. We needed to do a trial run.

“The Suit”

Our first challenge was to figure out what went where since the suit opened up to the shape of a bear skin rug. As per instructions, the dog was to stand over the opened suit and I was to insert his legs into the sleeves. By the time it was all said and done, however, I didn’t so much put the suit on the dog as stuff him into it. Just when I thought I’d gotten one leg into a sleeve, cords erupted out of other openings. Was I putting the dog’s left leg into the left sleeve? No wait, that was his tail. I spent a good ten minutes jamming what I thought was one of the dog’s legs into one sleeve only to realize that two legs were already in it. Sweaty and exhausted, I realized I’d lost my place on the dog.

The dog, meanwhile, was no help at all. I remain suspicious that while I worked at one end, he surreptitiously rearranged his legs and tail at the other end just to mess me up. Every time I looked at his face to see how he was enduring this fiasco, he wore a pleasant smile and gazed absently into the distance. This was unexpected tolerance from a dog for whom patience meant not flaying my ankle as I prepared his meal.

Progress! I got each leg in its own sleeve. The head popped out of where it was supposed to appear. Even the tail seemed in the right spot – opposite the head.  One final act remained and that was to close up the suit.  I peeled off the paper from what I assumed was a zipper – and that’s when I saw it.

Imagine hearing the theme music to the movie, “Jaws.”  You always knew that something bad was about to happen when you heard its ominous tones; The notes started out slowly, faintly, and wafted into your consciousness. It built momentum and got louder and louder until it thundered to a crescendo. On screen, the crescendo came when the water turned bloody and you saw the swimmer go down for the last time.

I’m pretty sure the Jaws theme was wafting through the room when I spotted an 18″ Velcro strip along the back of the suit where I thought a zipper would be. Every corded dog owner knows right about now that this was a game changer. Suddenly, every cord growing out of the dog’s body came alive with but one instinct, and that was to attach itself to the Velcro with the same urgency as a sperm swimming upstream to fertilize an egg. Swear to God, but the dog looked at if he was sharing his suit with wriggly, undulating snakes all driven to find that Velcro.

Under these circumstances, getting the dog out of the suit became a nightmare. I got a one body part out, but the hair growing on it latched on to the Velcro with ferocious tenacity.  With the Puli’s unerring sense of timing, the dog chose this moment to go limp – check out, as it were, and get in a good power nap.

If putting lace-up shoes on a sleeping person is difficult, getting a limp Puli out of a Velcro situation is worse.

Six hours later, I think it was dinner that finally persuaded the dog that he’d had enough. He woke up and surveyed the situation. He took a deep breath, inflated each cord to the extent that it popped off the Velcro, and simply stepped out of the suit and strolled away. “Why are you taking so long to get me my dinner?” he asked me as I held the limp suit in my hands as if it had been someone’s skin recently sloughed off.

We’re not taking the suit with us.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeni September 17, 2011 at 1:35 am

Oh.My.Gosh! I am laughing so hard I have tears! Apparently the suit wasn't intended for corded dogs?

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