Sunday, May 24, 2009

To Have and to Howl

Like most viewers, I am a sucker for a wedding episode. How kind of Groomer Has It to throw a wedding show into its May sweeps schedule.

Who’s getting married? Why, dogs are!

But first, it’s time for the Pledge ™ Quick Sniff Challenge. The groomers have to put topknots on their dogs. And I learned something! Some breeds, when cut to standard, have hair that falls into their eyes. But some owners would actually like to see their doggies’ soulful eyes, so they ask the groomers to trim accordingly. However, the groomer usually wants to stick to the Breed standard, which often involves hair in the eyes. What’s a groomer to do? Rather than cut the hair shorter, the hair is rubber banded into a little pony tail, which is called a topknot. Artist, last year’s winner, is called upon to advise and judge. Here is his advice: “What you have to do is put a little creativity in it, make it look as close to AKC standards as possible.” Artist’s useful and helpful advice makes him the Paula Abdul of dog grooming judges.

The teams make topknots until Artist tells them they are perfect. The winning team was lead by Danielle. Her prize is that she can trade any of her teammates for other groomers on the other team for the wedding challenge. She swaps Marco for Bill and Cassandra for Hubert. Needless to say Marco and Cassandra are not happy. Marco, who earlier said that most dog groomers are crazy, actually takes it pretty well, but not Cassandra. She pouts. A lot.

Finally, we get to the challenge. One team gets the bride and her wedding party and the other gets the groom and his wedding party. The team with the “most unified bridal party” wins. I guess this means they all have to look alike rather than that they have to avoid drunken brawls at the rehearsal dinner.

Lots of scenes of grooming difficulties follow, but let’s cut to the wedding. Don’t think that I didn’t see the irony of this wedding taking place in California. The guests were assembled with their owners. Everyone was all dressed up. The bride had a wedding dress; the groom had a tux. The bride was a Scotty; the groom was a Westie. Mixed breed wedding. Let’s just be grateful that these dogs were of the opposite sex.

Here are some comments from the judges that you won’t hear at a regular wedding:
“You should have blended the skirt area.”
“I don’t think it was a smart move to give the bride to Hubert.”
“Why did she give the bride to Hubert when she knew Lisa had more experience?”
“Deal with what you’re given and do the best you can.”—Okay, maybe you will hear that at a wedding.

Oh, who won? Does it really matter? Aren’t they all winners by just putting “it out there,” whatever that might mean. Danielle’s strategy of trading her friends for a power team paid off, with the judges warning all four groomers on that team that they relied too much on Lisa (the no-nonsense, very experienced groomer). The person from the losing team that had to go home was Jessica. She was one of a handful of young, attractive groomers without enough experience to last long in the competitive world that is dog grooming.

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