When it’s time to groom the dog, everyone has strong opinions

A household was divided after the family’s poodle got a new do: They either loved it or hated it.

Merlin has a new look called “The German Trim,” but not every family member is a fan. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Merlin has a new look called “The German Trim,” but not every family member is a fan. (Jennifer Bardsley)

My children hate me right now. Doors have been slammed. Names have been called. They’ve both teamed up against me with tears, threats and accusations.

It’s like I murdered Christmas.

What’s my heinous crime? I took our poodle, Merlin, to the groomers and got him a dramatic new haircut. It’s called “The German Trim,” and I think he’s adorable.

Merlin has a shaved face, tail and ears, and a short clip around the rest of his body up through his head, almost like a mohawk. I think Merlin looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm candy. He looks like he could spring into Angela Merkel’s lap for a quick snuggle.

My children think Merlin looks horrible.

“You guys do know that the word ‘poodle’ comes from the German word ‘pudel,’ right?” I asked, trying to defend myself. “This might be Merlin’s natural style.”

“Mom,” my son said with a fierce edge to his voice, “the only acceptable cut is The Puppy Clip with a clean face. You know that. We’ve been over this before.”

“You made Merlin look ridiculous,” my daughter sobbed. She was still crying an hour later.

“What do you think?” I asked my husband when he got home from work.

He shrugged. “I think you made Merlin look stupid, but I gave up on having an opinion about dog aesthetics three years ago when you brought a miniature poodle into our home.”

I’m not sure why my children love The Puppy Clip so much. It’s not very poodle-y. The Puppy Clip turns Merlin into a fluff-ball that picks up dirt like he’s a Swiffer. When I take Merlin on a walk for his morning constitutional, he comes back with dried leaves and blackberry brambles stuck to his fur.

If I had my way, Merlin would change his appearance every two months. The Bikini, The Continental, The Lamb Cut, The Scandinavian — there are so many ways to spice a poodle up. But my children have strict standards; it’s The Puppy Clip or there will be hell to pay.

The day after Merlin’s makeover, I walked him up to school for the morning drop-off, and all of the local children commented on his new appearance. Opinions were divided: They either loved it or thought he looked silly.

Merlin, as tolerant as ever, sniffed each hand that petted him and snuck in a few licks while he was at it. He only has a few teeth left, so I never worry about him biting.

As I walked back home, I thought about the costs of dog ownership. Merlin is only 14 pounds. A trip to the groomers costs between $51 at a pet store chain or upwards of $100 for our favorite mobile groomer. That’s more money than I spend on my own hair cut. Some doodle owners learn to groom their dogs themselves. I’ve considered this — but yuck. Learn to squeeze anal glands? No thank you.

Since Merlin is 13 years old, our days of paying for grooming are numbered. Until then, I’ve relented and agreed to keep him young with future Puppy Clips.

But in the meantime, Merlin’s putting the pudel in poodle. Hands off, Angela Merkel. This doggie’s mine.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and her pseudonym, Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal.

More in Life

Drink this: Scuttlebutt no longer brewing with English ale yeast

Scuttlebutt’s Bali Ha’i, a pomegranate and hibiscus fruit beer, is included in your weekend six-pack.

The rise of rose in Northwest wine comes in many shades

Look for Barnard Griffin’s rose, a perennial favorite of wine judges, to arrive around Valentine’s Day.

One-woman show in Bothell follows Josephine Baker’s singular life

The entertainer who defined glamour in the 1920s also was a WWII resistance fighter and later a civil rights advocate.

Delicious pizzas emerge from this Bothell eatery’s huge oven

The Brick Oven Pizza Lounge, which recently opened next to McMenamin’s, offers a wide selection of Italian food.

Yum! Food and drink events around Snohomish County

Surf and Turf: Sno-Isle TECH Culinary Arts’ fundraiser is at 6:30 p.m.… Continue reading

Beer, wine, spirits: Where to grab a drink in Snohomish County

National Beer Can Day at At Large: Everett’s At Large Brewing will… Continue reading

Does he really have to pay a Days Inn cleaning fee?

A traveler is hit with a $150 bed-cleaning bill from a sketchy motel in St. Paul, Minnesota.

See the ‘million dollar movie’ of 1922 at Historic Everett Theatre

“Foolish Wives” was notorious for director Erich von Stroheim’s foolish spending on its production.

Guy Ritchie’s ‘Lock, Stock’ shtick is passing its sell-by date

Rampant real-world gun violence makes the Brit director’s smirky crime-comedy formula seem desperate and tired.

Most Read