Snippity Snip

May 23, 2011 § 42 Comments

With the weather warming up and Maple sending us signs of discontent that her coat has gotten too fluffy for her liking, we decided it was time for a good trim. The last grooming session (which also happened to be ours and Maple’s first experience) was one of utter shock. Maple walked out of the salon as naked as a piglet.  Having learnt from our previous mistake, we now know not to wait until Maple’s hair gets matted and out-of-control before sending her for a groom.

We booked an appointment at Bark & Bubbles, which we discovered while perusing a local pets forum. Bark & Bubbles is located off of Jalan Bukit Merah, just minutes away from IKEA and Queensway Shopping Centre. The location suits us nicely since we live in the West of Singapore. 

Recounting the first experience we had at a grooming salon, I felt a little nervous about what we would encounter at Bark & Bubbles. Upon entering Bark & Bubbles, however, I felt a sense of ease. I can’t quite place my finger on it—perhaps it was the cleanliness of the salon, the clutter-free decor, the calmness of the four-legged customers waiting to be groomed, or the pint-sized Toy Poodle named Toffee who greeted us with such authority for a small little dogster.

Toffee’s owner, Joette, is the proprietor of Bark & Bubbles. Having worked in the banking industry for fifteen years, Joette decided to leave her profession to pursue a longtime passion for pets. As a proud owner of two Toy Poodles and two Cocker Spaniels, Joette became a certified groomer. It was at the grooming school that Joette met Megumi, a former fashion designer. Both Joette and Megumi provide grooming services at Bark & Bubbles, which has been in operation for five years.

We spoke with Joette about our preferred style for Maple and she was patient to listen to both of our differing views—we eventually settled on a look for the munchkin. As usual, we also requested that these two common procedures not be performed on Maple: anal glands expression and ear-hair plucking. We didn’t expect the waiting time to be two hours and needed to make our way to a pre-arranged a meeting that couldn’t be cancelled. Thankfully, Joette allowed Maple to stay with her in the salon until our meeting ended later that afternoon. Feeling comforted that Maple was in good hands, we left the salon to run our errands.

When the time came for us to pick-up Maple, our eyes beamed at the sight of her. Heeeeere’s Maple!

What a pretty gal—we LOVE the little red bandana that Maple was wearing.

There was a lot of oohing and aahing as we all gushed over Maple’s new look. It was clear, however, that Maple was tired. Here she is giving us a sulky face (totally understandable, of course)…

The cost of the full grooming was S$45, which seems to be the average in Singapore for a toy breed like Maple. We left the salon feeling like we made a good choice. It was only that evening, however, that we noticed a couple of glitches. One glitch was the scissoring work around Maple’s ears and muzzle—some unevenness here and there (I’ll probably touch it up a bit in these next few days). The other glitch is a little more worrisome and I wish I had inspected Maple closely before leaving the salon. We specifically requested that the hair in Maple’s inner-ears not be plucked. When I examined Maple’s ears at home, however, there was significantly less hair than before. I’m unable to tell what method was used for the hair removal, but Maple’s ears have a noticeably reddish hue and the irritation is causing her to scratch her ears more often than usual.

Will we be returning to Bark & Bubbles? It’s a tough call—we really adore Maple’s new do and would like to think that we’ve found her a suitable groomer. Ultimately, however, it is our hope to one day groom Maple on our own—I know several dog owners who are already doing this for their four-legged friends, and I am so impressed. Until that day comes, we’ll have to depend on professional groomers to help us in this department. So, we’ve created a list of things to remember the next time we make a trip to the grooming salon. If anything, hopefully this might help other newbies like us 😀

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§ 42 Responses to Snippity Snip

  • Anny says:

    Awww… tat’s a sweet cut. Maple is look more beautiful and cute as always.

    We went through a few groomers too before we found a really good one for Piper and Dom. It is not easy to find a good one.. the same as boarding hotels for pets.

    Hope your next experience with them will be better.

  • xmasyve says:

    This look is definitely a huge improvement from the earlier one! Maple looks sooo cute and round with this hairstyle :)))

    S$45 is pretty reasonable! The groomer I used to go to here is about AU$60 per dog, so it was quite big a motivation for me to get my own clippers, especially since I have a long-haired breed. I love the round look on Panda too but the groomer gives Panda a triangular look (more suited for Poodles I think, as they specialise in Poodles) so grooming him myself lets me have the look I want. Though self-grooming is definitely not easy! Polar is less tolerant of grooming and bathing so it is quite a chore trying to scissor or clip a struggling, protesting dog.

    One question – why do you not want them to pluck the ear-hairs and do anal glands expression?

    • Thank you, we also feel it’s a H-U-G-E improvement! Good on you for learning how to self-groom Panpo and, you’re right, it gives you more flexibility to decide the kind of clip you would like to see them in. I can imagine, however, that it isn’t an easy feat so I really applaud your efforts. Maple is super hyperactive after every bath—she runs in circles around our coffee table, zips up and down the hall, then rubs herself all over our floor rug before finally settling down (LOL)!

      As for the plucking of the inner-ear hairs, we discussed it with Maple’s vet and his personal opinion is that dogs should keep their inner-ear hairs because the hair follicles prevent harmful particles from entering the ear while also working to dislodge solid bits of ear wax out (hard to believe at first, but I actually noticed this happening with Maple). The situation will differ from dog to dog. From what I understand, some dogs have very hairy inner-ears and, if not properly cleaned regulary, may be more prone to ear infections. We also forgo anal glands expression because Maple has been able to clear hers on her own naturally. If she has any trouble in this department, we’ll probably seek the help of her vet to perform the procedure. Hope this helps to answer your questions! *sigh* There’s so much to learn about doggie care besides potty-training, eh?

      • xmasyve says:

        We had a discussion a few months ago about that! Many of our dogs do zoomies after baths, and no one knows why. Some theories proposed were that of fear, of weight, of coldness/wetness, but nobody knows for sure. One thing for sure though, it’s definitely not the zoomies that make it hard to groom. The rubbing is a little easier to explain – getting rid of the water on their bodies and in their ears.

        Yes hairs in or on bodies serve a purpose, usually to trap dirt and dust from going into a passageway. However there tends to be overgrowth of hair in dog’s ears, hairs that have trapped lots of dirt and can sustain microbial growth and lead to infections. So unless you do clean her ears regularly (which a lot of people don’t encourage because of the complications that might arise) it’s probably best to pluck them. As for the anal glands expression, well, that is something they don’t do here at the groomers. Only the vets do them here.

        Thanks for your explanations (:

  • raisingdaisy says:

    I love Maple’s new do! She looks adorable! She’s so expressive, you can see exactly how she feels.

    We have to have Daisy’s ears plucked as well, but our vet wanted the inner ear hair removed because he’s had too many dogs develop serious ear infections from inner ear hair (I saw one dog like that – it was awful and he was in a lot of pain). But when the groomer removes the hair, Daisy’s ears are never red, and she’s never in any pain (we stay and watch). The groomer showed us that she uses an antibacterial powder that also has a little bit of anesthetic in it. That seems to work perfectly.

    • Many thanks! We feel the same way about her new look 😀

      Thanks for sharing with us your experience of Daisy’s inner-ear hair issues—an issue that Bichon Frise and Poodle owners are all too familiar with (LOL)! It’s interesting because Maple’s vet seems to hold a different view about the removal of the inner-ear hair, despite the fact that Maple was found to have an ear infection during that visit. We cleared it up with one course of antibiotics and have managed to keep future infections at bay by cleaning her ears with cotton buds dabbed in Johnson & Johnson baby oil and stuffing her ears with cotton balls during her baths to prevent water from getting into her ears. I’m not sure how Maple’s inner-ear hairs were removed…maybe they were plucked, or shaved off, or cut with scissors. Wish I had been there to find out 😦 Now that Maple’s ears have a lot less hair, I guess we can better observe the effect it will have on her overall ear health these next few months.

      Glad to hear that Daisy’s experience with her groomer is a good one. Like Anny said, good groomers are hard to come by!

  • Kas says:

    Oh my goodness she looks too cute!! While Evee doesn’t like being groomed, she sure does like the feeling of her summer cut. I enjoy grooming Evee myself, but it is somewhat time-consuming. Thankfully I’ve gotten better and more efficient with each time. I’m sure that you’ll be able to groom Miss Maple in time – it’s not as hard as you would think and curly hair hides most mistakes. 🙂 And those are great tips on taking your dog to the groomer’s!

    • Yeah, I recall reading that you self-groom Evee! That’s so impressive and I’m sure Evee feels comfortable having her summer cut done by you. It’s true, learning to groom your own furkid is a matter of time and practice. I would also think having the right tools and equipment can help a great deal! And, yes, small mistakes aren’t as obvious on curly-haired dogs… whew 😀

      • Kas says:

        I invested about $100 into my grooming supplies, and while they are definitely not professional pieces of equipment, they do work decently well. It ends up saving money in the long run, that’s for sure! 🙂

  • Miss Maple, we think you look quite cute and floofy! We actually thought you looked cute when you got cut naked, too. (We get cut naked in the summer every 6 weeks because we get really wooly really fast and we get quite hot…) We’ve been lucky on the grooming front; long before we came into the picture, Mom had to find a groomer who knew how to deal with older poodles (this was back when TaiChi was still alive), because she had run into groomers who didn’t know older poodles could have warts and TaiChi was getting nicked. Anyway, Mom found this place who has a resident standard poodle, and even though they are more expensive than the pet store groomers, they were really good with TaiChi, and we like their standard poodle, so Mom brings them to us.

    Anyway, we think you look quite cute, Miss Maple!

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

    • Hey there Fiona and Abby! I bet there’s nothing more liberating than frolicking around in your birthday suits on a hot summer day 😉 Maple actually enjoyed being naked for that period of time—it was my hubby and I who needed time adjusting to the sight of her very bare bottom (LOL). Ouch-y, we’re sorry to hear that TaiChi was being nicked back in those days before the switch to your current groomer. Good to know that older poodles may develop warts—that’s new to us. We think that you two always look fab and it sounds like your mom found a gem of a groomer!

      Have a great week, you guys. And thank you for liking Maple’s new summer cut—she’s loving it, too 😀

  • Miss Maple looks so sweet. She almost looks like a stuffed animal she is so poised! What a cutie.

    • Greetings! Thanks for popping by our blog—we’re so glad to have you here. It’s rare for us to see a Newfoundland both online and offline, so we’re ecstatic for this chance to meet an adorably cute one by the name of Miss Stella. Looking forward to following Stella and her pal Sadie on their adventures.

      P.s. I think our little tyke, Miss Maple, can barely reach Miss Stella’s ankles 😀

      • Enjoyed stopping by and look forward to seeing what adventures you all have in the future. I think you right…I think Miss Maple would be pretty tiny next to Miss Stella…what a cute picture that would make!

  • Miss Maple looks stunning after her recent haircut!

    I’m sorry to hear about the couple of items you were disappointed with. We had a horrific experience with Gus at the groomers (his nails were cracked and bleeding) and that’s the main reason we decided to home groom. The downside is that he always looks raggedy for the couple of weeks following.

    I wonder if you called in to Bark & Bubbles they would be able to tell you if here ears were plucked? I’m sure they’d be horrified to learn her ears were irritated and would want to make it right with you. I hope the itchiness goes away soon!

    • I think you guys do a wonderful job of home-grooming Gus (I’m not able to spot any raggediness at all). Gus always looks so spiffy and coiffed 😀 Maple, on the otherhand, can get a really bad case of bed-hair… it’s ridiculously funny (LOL). With this new haircut, though, Maple now looks a little more “presentable” and we can just walk out the door without having to fuss over her too much!

      You’re right, I think I should contact Bark & Bubbles to find out if Maple’s ears were plucked. Perhaps they may be able to suggest ways of reducing the irritation. Thanks for you concern!

  • TOto's mommy says:

    Maple looks so good haha as compare to her previous cut!! So fluffy, CUteeeeeeeeee ~

    I was still wondering why Maple ear hair cannot be plucked but I read one of ur comment’s reply! TOto’s ear hair have to be pluck regularly if not, his whole head starts to get smelly haha maybe because of the erected ear so the smell is not enclose WITHIN the ear!

    But I sure envy you, TOto had have bad grooming experience so we have to do everything ourselves. Just the handstripping takes about 4-6hours and separately my hubs will deal with the ‘trimming of his privates and paw pad.’ Doing his nail is a NIGHTMARE for us!

    It is so much easier just to drop him somewhere and come out looking purrrfect like Maple! Kekeke ~ Maybe Maple is so much braver than TOto, TOto is such a wimp when it comes to grooming!

    • 4-6 hours for just handstripping alone? Wow, I can see that you guys are really committed to giving TOto the best possible grooming experience in the comfort of his own home. I’m always amazed by dog owners who take it upon themselves to groom their four-legged companions. It’s definitely not an easy task—a lot of patience and perserverence is required! By the way, Maple doesn’t enjoy having us trim her nails either so, not to worry, TOto isn’t the only one (LOL) 😀

      • TOto's mommy says:

        Ya initially it takes about 6hours but now I am getting faster haha. I think I am abit pyschotic. My hubs volunteer to buy me a grooming table but I love the bonding of him and me in very awkward position in my lap.

        Maybe you can start getting a good trimmer to do some snipping here and there. Haha it gets really addictive!! But trimming Maple head to such a ROUND shaped would be a CHALLENGE!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Maple is the cutest thing I ever did see! (I hope her ears are better.) 😦

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. Maple’s right ear is the worst affected because she was scratching at it the most… As of today, Maple seems less troubled by her ears so I’m hoping they’ll recover soon after this. Thank you for your well-wishes 😀

  • Maple looks like that adorable stuffed animal on the shelf that every kid begs their parents to buy!

    Thanks for the informative tips for before, during and after the grooming session. I’m very adamant about owning a fluffy dog that requires (professional) grooming some day, so these tips will definitely come in handy! 😀

    • Hi Pauline! Glad to hear that the tips may be of use for you in the future 😉 Fluffy dogs are fun to pretty-up, but I also really like Oscar’s low-maintenance (almost non-existent?) grooming requirements. Something for my hubby and I to consider a long way down the road from now 😀

      • “Almost non-existent” grooming is the perfect way to describe it!

        Oscar gets brushed a few times a week just to pick up stray fur before they shed and gets a bath once a month—although he should really bathe twice a month because he’s one of the stinkiest dogs I’ve met. LOL!

  • hi miss maple,

    i think you look very pretty. i wish i could look like that but i’m a big fearsome pigdog and i don’t think we’re supposed to look pretty in case the pigs laugh at us. i get groomed everyday at home though. it’s called a hosedown and toweldry special. now that it’s almost winter, i get a blowdry too. i think they’re all for free because my humans would be too stingy to pay for them.

    My Typist says to be sure to thank you for being so nice and dropping by over the last few weeks, so THANK YOU VERY MUCH! 🙂 xox

    • Hiya Georgia and thank you. Hosedown and toweldry special? Sounds like fun! You’re so lucky to be a low-maintenance kind of gal. It sure helps on the wallet, that’s for sure 😉 Thanks for dropping by—we always enjoying greeting new visitors here. Here’s wishing you a happy bark day, everyday!

  • M.C. says:

    Ahhhha… her sleepy eyes are pretty freakin’ adorable. =)

    I’m glad that neither of my dogs need to be taken to the groomer’s. I can’t be bothered to get a professional haircut myself but once every 5 years or so.

    • Thanks, M.C. I think Maple was sleepy and annoyed by my constant picture-taking (LOL)… Dogs that don’t require much in the grooming department are most definitely time-savers. Now that Maple has on her cute summer cut, it’s so much easier to brush out her coat even though we still have to do it everyday!

  • didiwright says:

    Gosh, this dog grooming operation is more complicated than I’ve ever thought. I’m so happy that George doesn’t require any trimming that I can’t do myself. It’s not only the cost, but the worrying, and your story is a perfect example of that. I love Maple’s look, too, but I completely understand your disappointment to discover that your instructions were not followed accurately. No plucking means ‘no plucking’, right? That list of yours is very sensible and I’d find it very useful if I ever had a dog that needs grooming by a professional. Having said that, unless I was planning to show the dog, I’d have a go at doing it myself, and I think you’re right to consider it. Ok, you might go wrong at first (although you can’t do much worse than leaving her ‘as naked as a piglet’), but you’ll get better in time. And, also, you might discover that you’ll do much better than these professionals, simply because Maple is more relaxed around you and lets you handle her better. So…build up the courage and go for it. And then spend the money you save on treats for Little Miss. x

    • Hi Didi, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I’m not sure if other dog owners are as anxious when they take their beloved pooches for grooming, but I sure am! And it’s hard to shake off that feeling, unless you’ve found a regular groomer whom you can trust. To give Bark & Bubbles the benefit of the doubt, I ought to call them like Lori from According to Gus has suggested—just to clarify whether any plucking was done… maybe Maple’s inner-ear hairs were shaved or scissored (which, I suppose, wouldn’t be as upsetting to me as plucking). It’ll take some time before we can initiate any form of home-grooming for Maple—there’s so much to read up on and learn! I have look into tools and equipments, techniques, safety procedures, styles & cuts… Oh boy, you sure are lucky to have a minimalist four-legger who you can easily trim on your own and is pleasing on the eyes 😀

  • May says:

    Maple looks cute in her new hair-do, ya. 🙂

    Hubby and I brought Rossi once to Bark and Bubbles for grooming too, somewhere last year. Similarly, we didnt check her on the spot. we noticed a couple of stuff that were off, only after we left the place.

    We didnt bring Rossi back after that. Since then, we have been grooming her on our own. Just the very basic grooming though. :>

    • Hi May! Thanks for sharing Rossi’s grooming experience. Sorry to hear that you guys also discovered some anomalies. I think Rossi now much prefers being dolled-up in the care of your hands at home. We’re going to try and upkeep Maple’s look with some basic home-grooming as well… but I have a feeling it won’t be long before we have to do a full groomin session again. Poodles grow out their coats way too quickly! Hope you and Rossi are having a great week 😀

  • Maple looks lovely!!
    I groom my two myself, as I’ve heard horror stories of dogs that have been hurt and/or sedated without permission at the groomers. It’s really not hard at all. The shaping around the head is the most difficult bit, but like someone said earlier, curls hide most mistakes!

    Ps. My vet said the same about the ear plucking!! And I have a toy poodle and a bichon!

    • I do hope to see some pictures of your four-legged munchkins on your blog one day! You speak very fondly of them and it would be so nice to have a peek into their lives 😉

      Sedated? Oh my! That’s quite scary. Grooming at home is definitely one way of giving dog owners some peace of mind. Yes, it seems that there are two schools of thought about ear-hair plucking… in the same way that BARF is also a provocative subject. And, in today’s information age, we’ll never be short of accessing opinions and expertise from a wonderfully diverse pool of resources!

  • Kristine says:

    These are some great tips. I’m lucky in that my dog doesn’t require any more grooming than a nail trim or a bath every few months, both of which I can handle myself. If I had a more high-maintence dog I would definitely look into learning how to do it myself. It saves so much time and money, also avoids awkward situations if the dog isn’r so comfortable at the groomers.

    I think Miss Maple looks so pretty! It’s too bad the groomer didn’t follow all of your instructions. In my opinion, that’s their job, right? To give the customer what she wants.

    • Yeah, you’ve hit it on nail—I think it’s more about the awkwardness that arises after an unpleasant or unsatisfactory experience at the groomer’s. We didn’t spot the anomaly with Maple’s ears until after the fact, so we left the salon in good spirits. Now, we’re not too sure whether to return. We absolutely are in love with Maple’s new look, though… *sigh* Oh, the dilemma…

      You’re so lucky that Shiva needs only to have her bathes and nails trimmed! What a huge time-saver. That means you and Shiva get more time to just play and have fun 😀

  • Kame says:

    Maple’s second grooming is much much better than the first…She looked so skinny in that picture.

    And now…maple looks like a doll, anyone who sees her would love to cuddle her

    • Yup, Maple can resemble a twig at times—especially during a bath! We much prefer this fluffier look of hers, too. I bet you and Kroten don’t have to worry at all about grooming and such things…maybe just the occasional scrub of your shells?

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