I don#8217;t consider myself a #8220;jack of all trades.#8221; And by no means would my wife ever refer to me as handy.

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2006

Yes, there are some things I do well — taking out the garbage, cleaning the cat litter boxes and cutting the grass.

But then there are many other things that I have found are better left to the experts.

Take, for example, pet grooming.


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I don’t know if you have a pet the requires regular grooming, but if you do you know it doesn’t come cheap.

When Smokey, our elderly poodle-Lhasa Apso mix recently needed a haircut, my wife called around.

She found one locally that would be $65.

She then found a woman in Isle of Wight County that would be about $20 less, but we figured by the time you drove round trip, and included a tip for the groomer, you’d have about $65 invested anyway.

So what’s the alternative?

What is commonly referred to today ad DIY, or do it yourself.

So, it was off to Wal-Mart to buy a set of clippers and combs.

Once I was ready to cut Smokey’s hair, I unpacked the equipment and, as most men do, set the instructions aside.

After all, even I knew that you plug the two-prong thingy in the wall and the different combs attach to the clipping thingy for different lengths of hair.

I began with the comb that would take the least amount of hair off the dog. I need to gauge myself so I didn’t end up with a poodle mix that resembled a hairless chihuahua.

After running that comb over his body I decided to go to another, one that would cut even more hair. Hey, it’s hot outside and due to his age and medical condition I wanted him to be as comfortable as possible.

As I moved my clippers up and down the dog’s body, the gray hair quickly piled up around him.

I’m very glad he’s a good-natured dog who enjoys a haircut. Otherwise he might have torn me to shreds.

He just stood there and took it as I spun him around and held him up to get those hard-to-reach areas.

Eventually I clipped my last clump of hair and stood back to admire my work.

It was then that I realized that certain things are better left to the experts.

Poor old guy. He had peaks and valley of hair all over his body, and there were two places that I had gotten too close with the blade and cut down to the skin. They were red and irritated, but at least they weren’t bleeding. I kept telling myself that so I’d feel better.

If there was any silver lining to this experience it was that we knew Smokey wouldn’t be going anywhere soon, and we wouldn’t have to explain what happened to him.

I think next time I’ll go ahead and fork over the dough for the do!

Speaking of dog grooming, I was anything but “pleasantly” surprised recently to receive a $17 bill for a pedicure on our Lab mix.

We took the dog to the vet for the procedure. Don’t get me wrong, I really like our vet, but $17?

This is one of those jobs that I have done before and had anything but true success.

Some dogs, like this one, have dark nails and it’s hard to see where the blood line is. And if you cut too much, you’ll end up with a bleeder. And I can only imagine what that feels like to the dog.

After telling my wife this story she let me know she can get a pedicure at her favorite spot for $20. And hers includes a good soaking, a massage and painting of the nails.

I wonder … no, they wouldn’t possibly let me bring Spooge in to see them … would they?

Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolk newsherald.com, or call 934-9603.