Long-haired pets are in need of diligent grooming
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By Mickey Zeldes  March 22, 2013 12:00 am


Tommy, a 7-year-old poodle mix, is available for adoption. He’s being very specific in his requirements for a second family. He wants someone willing to provide him with the regular grooming he needs. Now it’s not that Tommy is vain (although poodles do have a reputation for being little frou-frou dogs). It’s not that he needs ribbons in his hair, or little sweaters, or bling on his collar. This is not about aesthetics; it’s about basic comfort and health. If longhaired dogs are not brushed or trimmed, the fur becomes matted. Tommy knows all about that.

When Tommy was first brought into the shelter as a stray, it was hard to identify what exactly was under the dirty matted ball of fur carried by the Rohnert Park’s Community Services Officer. It was difficult to figure out which end was the head and which was the tail because you couldn’t even see his eyes. When our vet tech started to clip the mats away – it was more like shearing a lamb than grooming a dog – the fur came off in one complete robe. Lo and behold, a darling little poodle mix was hiding underneath. After a bath and some treatment for a severe ear infection, you could tell he was feeling much better, and he pranced around to show his appreciation. Check out his before and after photos on our Facebook page.

Mats are not just ugly, they are painful as they tighten and pull the skin. They also prevent the body from cooling properly and harbor foxtails, burrs, and who knows what else. Often when a huge mat is removed, it is discovered that the skin underneath has sores and infection. Fortunately for Tommy, this was not true in his case. Mats can also inhibit natural movement as the fur from one leg gets bound together with the other and effectively hobbles the animal. Add to that the fact feces get caught in the mats and you have quite the smelly mess.

Some people enjoy the care required with longhaired animals, and others don’t. If you can’t afford a groomer and don’t have the time or inclination to regularly brush an animal, don’t get one with long fur. Tommy’s owners came in looking for their lost dog, but after hearing what the fees were and what the follow-up grooming requirements were going to be, they opted to surrender him instead. 

From what we could gather, it appears the father was Tommy’s main caretaker and he, for some reason, was no longer in the picture. The teenaged girl in the family begged her mother to keep the dog, promising to take full care of him. But we all know how busy high school students are and as time went on, poor Tommy got less and less attention. He was relegated to living outdoors, and once out of sight he was out of mind. Sometimes the worst abuse is simple neglect. Such a shame!

We promised Tommy we would do better and find him a home that understood the importance of making a pet part of the family. We would look for someone that would allow him to live indoors, regularly take him to the veterinarian and groomer and would love and pay attention to him. Are you ready for that commitment? Tommy is more than ready to share his love.


Upcoming events:

Free microchips extended – until we do 500 animals! Come in during any of our open hours (Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 1-5:30 p.m., and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.) with your dogs and cats – no appointment necessary. Offer for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati only (proof of residency required).

Fix-it clinics: Ongoing spay/neuter clinics for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Free for cats and just $60 for dogs. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.

Animal Talk: next adult education program is all about Pocket Pets – learn about guinea pigs, rats, mice and hamsters on Wednesday, April 10, 6:30-8 p.m., $10 per person, pre-registration requested. Call 584-1582 or stop by the shelter for more info.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.

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