So today was the big day…spring cleaning for Roxie. For those of you unfamiliar with German Shepherds, they have a dense double coat. Roxie has an extra dense double coat, she has the thickest coat of any dog here. Although shepherds shed all year long, they have a super shed-fest twice a year where they release the undercoat. It is called “blowing coat”. It usually starts on the rear legs and works it’s way forward, and can take a few weeks. You can brush until your arm aches and the fur keeps coming off. You can pull at a small tatter that sticks up and as you extract it it puff to 4 times what you thought it was. It is amazing how much fur they can pack on them.
In an effort to accelerate the process, I decided to bring Roxie down to Sudslingers, the local do-it-yourself dogwash. (Much easier and more effective than washing at home as I will explain). Roxie does not mind being washed, and will stand there patiently. I put her in the sink and started the deep clean. Hose dog down, apply some nice oatmeal shampoo and commence scrubbing. Rinse. Repeat again, although this time start scrubbing using a nice exfoliating mitt that has little plastic nubs to help loosen the coat. Rub back and forth, and also in circular motion in all directions. Add more soap and water periodically. Pause several times to pull fur out of drain screen to prevent tub from filling up with water. Rinse well. Remove from tub and towel dry as best as I can. Now she has little tatters of fur sticking everywhere. I’m wondering why they did not give up during the wash cycle. Oh well. Easy part is over. Time for Stage 2, the Dry Cycle.
Place soggy tattery looking GSD up on table and clip to wall. Take deep breath. Apologize in advance to the other customers present who may not have experienced the Dry Cycle on a GSD. The dog wash facility has dryers that are called “Forced Air”. They are pretty much super powerful shop-vac motors in reverse. No heat, just high velocity powerful air blasting through the hose. You better hang on tight when you flip the switch. Let the games begin! When I first start drying, fur and water spray is blasting off the dog…not too bad initially. However, as I keep moving the hose back and forth, the fur tatters start to loosen up from the constant air flow. Once you reach critical mass of “dry enough” and enough passes of the high velocity air, it is time to ramp up to Stage 3, “The Fur Cyclone“.
Once you reach this point there is nothing but a blinding cloud of fur floating around. The tatters are working their way loose, and flying off the dog like chunky black and tan meteorites. Gravity is irrelevant—there is literally a cloud of fur from floor to ceiling, and everyone in a 20 foot radius is being impacted. The clumps are flying off at different trajectories and landing randomly. I have to stop every few minutes and direct the forced air on myself as I am being blinded by the fur. (Note to self—safety goggles next time). One of the staff does 2 separate fly-bys with the shop vac to clear the immediate area of the fur carpet. I asked him what he thought of the German Shedder and he busted out laughing…he had never heard the term before, but now realizes how appropriate it is. The nice lady grooming a dog near the back is tempted to take a pic and says “Do not try this at home!”. After about 35-40 minutes the bombardment stops…it appears that the remaining fur is going to stay attached to the dog, at least for the next few hours. The majority of the dead undercoat is gone! I think Roxie looks fantastic, and actually looks a little more trim now. Coat is nice and shiny again. I give her a few spritzes of the Sugar Cookie spray and happily pay for the experience.
I think TJ is next in line for the deep clean…I will try to get photo proof of the ordeal so you will see I am not nuts. Anyone who has a GSD can relate to this, while those of you with short coat dogs probably think we are all nuts.