A couple weeks ago, Chou and I were in PetSmart and a man came over and said he had raised briards for 40 years. It took a minute for us to recognize each other: he had helped me with Mimi many years ago. I knew he moved away, but I was delighted to learn that he is back in Sacramento.
He travels a lot now, as an international dog show judge, so he no longer has his briards, and he misses them. He invited Chou to his home for a trimming.
I brush Chou every other night. But I am not well trained in how to trim around her paws. I trim the hair from between her toes and pads, making sure there are no bur stickers, and I make sure that hair doesn't block her pads from a grip on slippery surfaces. But the show dog flourishes... I've left that to Chou's handlers and my briard friends. I bought the expensive thinning shears that the handler recommended, but it's one thing to have them and quite another to trim correctly! ("Oui! You are a bit messy with the scissors. But you never cut me, so that's a good thing!")
Chou was getting too shaggy on her paws and between her eyes, so this grooming help was a wonderful opportunity. Today we went to visit with this lost and found briard friend. I brought my thinning shears and he tidied her up. Beautiful! Her paws look so much smaller now without all that hair hanging on the ground. ("Less mud, too!") And I can see her eyes so much better. ("And I can see you much better!")
Chou was permitted to wander around his home from room to room; I was worried that she'd knock something over, but he said he'd just pick it up again. I saw the framed photos of his champion briards with their show ribbons; his dogs were some of the best. The way he interacted with Chou Chou, I could tell that he misses his briards. But, he said, it's not the shows or championships he misses, but the companionship of these briards who curled up with him each night.
After her grooming, Chou Chou ran and sniffed in his big yard. ("All those smells were amazing!") When it was time to go, my briard friend gave me a small gift. He is very generous and kind and I hope we will see him again. ("Oui! Two dewclaws up!")
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