I also realised that my Doggles can double up as safety specs! Not only are they cool, but they're practical too. What more could you ask for?
Now then, you know how scruffy I have been looking of late? Here's a reminder if you need it! Well, on Sunday mum & I went to a stripping class. No, not that kind of stripping! Hair stripping. You see, us Airedales don't really shed apart from when we blow our coat all at once twice a year. We have a double coat - a soft undercoat & a harder, wiry top coat. Left to our own devices, we would end up looking like a big woolly mammoth or a tumbleweed on legs, to quote 2 peoples opinions! Our coat can be clippered, but this can lead to the tan of our coats becoming very pale, & the black jacket turning quite grizzled. It will also mean that our coat is soft rather than wiry. The alternative is to hand strip our coats, whereby the undercoat is removed with a stripping knife or fingers allowing the wiry top coat to grow through. It is fiddly & time consuming, but the result is a much better coat & is it the required grooming method if Airedales are to be shown.
As you know, I have been clippered before, but I was starting to get a lot of white hairs coming through, which mum thought it was a shame as I have a very good coat otherwise. She decided to give the stripping class run by our local Airedale club a try. She had been told that Ruth, the lady who runs the class & the other members who go to class were all really friendly & helpful & thought that it would be a nice afternoon out if nothing else.
When we arrived, another car had just pulled up too. It was a 7 month old girlie called Ruby with her mum & dad. As we were a bit early, we went onto the field for a play. She was GREAT at bitey face game, & we played with my aire Kong on a rope, both running round with it in our mouths. Mum had left her camera in the car, so no photos of her, but hopefully if we go next month I'll meet her again.
There were some boys there too. Some of them such as Rupert were at the show in Hewish that we went to back in February. This time we could play outside properly like adolescent boys should. It was fun, but because most of the other guys are show dogs, they still have all their boy bits & they were all obsessed with trying to hump me! I got my revenge with some Kung-fu moves though.
You can see what I mean here. At one point I had 3 of them trying to mount me. All mum was doing was laughing. Thanks mum. Luckily I'm a good natured boy or they could have got big ticking off from me.
Anyway, once we had had a play it was down to business. There seemed to be lots of hiding under things going on. This old guy wasn't interested in playing with us pups, so he decided to hide under his grooming table.
And look who was hiding under the chairs! She's called Willow & is just 12 weeks old! She was so sweet, I kept going over to give her little licks on the head. Mum was so impressed at how gentle I was with her. Please can I have one mum? I would so love a little sis like her! She went to the class last month when she was just 8 weeks old, & she behaved like a pro on the table this time. Way to go Willow.
Here's my friend Ralf & his mum. Doesn't he look a bit like he's being hung, hehehe! Remember I met Ralf & Molly the other weekend for a romp in the woods? We are going to meet up again this coming weekend, yay! I think we're going somewhere with lots of water, so me & Molly are going to have such fun splashing about together.
And here I am on the table. Mum was shown what to do & she worked on the top of my back & shoulders. After the initial shock of having my hair ripped out, I was pretty well behaved. Only joking, it really doesn't hurt. Ruth, who runs the class said I was a big wimp though as when she started doing my face I was whimpering loads. This eeevil (mum: extremely nice) man Phil held me as Ruth was scared she was going to poke me in the eye with the stripping knife. She told mum it was her fault not mine that I wriggled as she should have got me more used to it at an earlier age. See, I'm perfect mum, it's you that's BAD!
Mum didn't take many photos of me at class as she was too busy balding me. You should see how much hair came off the little section of me that was worked on! Ruth said it was a perfect time to start stripping me as my hair was good & loose. Mum learned lots & we will have a little go each night until my body is done. When we go back next month, Ruth will help with my ears & muzzle & blending my body into my legs.You can't tell too well from this photo, but the hair on the top of my saddle & going down my front shoulders is a lot thinner. A lot of the dead hair has gone & new hair will start growing in very quickly.
This is the eye & side of my face that Ruth did. I can see again! It looks so much tidier. I still have my Airedale eyebrow, but it is much better shaped. She left the other side for mum to do now that she has the one good side to work from, so I'm a little lop-sided at the moment, but we are going to work on it today. I was so pooped by the time we got home last night that I could only flop.
There's still a lot to do, so something tells me I'm not going to get much peace this weekend. As long as I get plenty of treats while we work I should be OK though.