Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Handstripping Day 1

Today, with the sunshine coming through, Mum decided she would start handstripping me, seeing that Spring is right around the corner. Broken coated breeds like myself (and many other Terriers) can be handstripped up to 4 times a year, timed at every change of season when the coat changes. The last time I was handstripped was in Nov 07 winter, so its been 4 months since. It will take Mum many hours to strip me right down to the skin. This method is preferred by my Mum over rolling a coat. Rolling a coat is a method of stripping only the longest hairs and this rolling has to be done constantly. Mum would very much prefer to get it all done in one week, and get it over with. This stripping 'down to the skin' is also mostly used on show dogs, and is supposed to be spread over 4 weeks, in preparation to a dog show. I'm no show dog, but Mum likes me kept in excellent condition. Hence my torture.
Pre-starting. Here's a good close up look of my head, neck and shoulders. I am very dirty after not being washed for almost 2 weeks, and I haven't been brushed either. Mum tells me to "climb" onto my grooming table, and I do. I am not allowed to get off or jump off unless I am freed.
I normally fall asleep when Mum is handstripping me. There is a rhythm to her arm motion and it lulls me into a lazy nap.

Wiry coarse tan top coat, thick with a slight grey undercoat

Here are the grooming tools normally used.
  • Slicker brush (used to back comb and make the hairs stand up for easier pulling)
  • Regular brush (used at the 'end' to remove standing dust/chalk from my skin, or 'during' to make coat stay flat to body)
  • Two sized metal comb ('wide' and 'narrow', depending on which part of body is being combed, use 'wide' for furnishings, 'narrow' for face)
  • Raking knife (used to rake out the grey undercoat so mum needs to pluck out less coat)
  • Stripping knives ranging from coarse to extra fine
  • Grooming chalk (added to coat to create more friction for easier gripping)
  • Bandage wrap (for mum's fingers)
  • Thinning scissors (used to blend between stripped parts such as flanks, shoulders, thighs and furnishings)
  • Long straight scissors (used to straighten front legs into poles)
  • Curved scissor (used to shape thigh furnishings and round feet like a cat's)

A picture of my Mum's poor right hand. This is the start of stripping. The bandage helps to slow down those blisters from appearing too soon.
I am normally in a 'down' or relaxed position because stripping takes time and Mum lets me relax as much as possible. There is no real reason for me to stand anyway, just too tiring.

And so we begin. Mum likes to start with the tail, results are fast, and its at the other end of my face. I don't get bothered.

Top and underside of tail is now completed.

A bushy tail now replaced with a bald tail. Both topcoat and undercoat are literally plucked out, a few hairs at a time to minimize discomfort, and that is why it takes so freaking long.

After one portion, I get to run around, pee, get treats and play. In week 1, my saddle is supposed to come off. All that black part is considered the saddle. However, since Mum is compressing 4 weeks work into 3 days, the order doesn't really matter. The rationale of which areas to do first in which week's sequence is based on what length the body part is supposed to be. The longest areas (body saddle) must be stripped first, and the shortest areas (face, neck) left to last.

After a rest, we resume again, and now we start at the top of the saddle, near my right shoulder. The black sections come off first, and Mum does it systematically, one portion moving to the next.

Moving backwards down the saddle. Hair is pulled in the direction of growth. So saddle hairs are pulled backwards.

Got to take another break. Mum's arm is getting sore after a few hours of gripping hair and pulling. Can you easily tell my tail and right back has been stripped?

That's all we can do for today (6 hours with breaks in between). Almost the entire right saddle has been done and the tail too. I look totally weird, so can you imagine when I go out to parks and walks? People think I'm sick or diseased because I look bald and patchy, but I think its hilarious. I get a LOT of attention when I go out to public looking like this. That's why Mum needs to finish me as soon as possible.

At the end of the day, I get tired too, so I just lay around on my designated leather couch in my media room. What's a dale to do?

Oh Mum, I'm semi-naked, don't take too many photos of me, I'm trying to rest.

Ha ha, just kidding!! I'm a total camera-whore!

Take a look from behind. I look weird don't I?

Close up of my back

More to come in Day 2 and Day 3.



At 2:08 AM, Blogger Maggie & Mitch said...

A possum tail! That's what your tail looks like, Kimi! What a lot of work for both you and your mom! We can't wait to see day 2! Does your skin tingle from furs being stripped out?

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

At 4:13 AM, Blogger Cassidy said...

Oooh, thanks for posting on your stripping Kimi! Mummy be taking notes. This is very helpful. Me see mummy need to be braver and pull out more hairs than she has been.

Cassidy x

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Amber-Mae said...

Oh my, you look sooo funny when part of your body is bald like that! Must be a very difficult job for you mom to strip you. I'm just wondering, is it a painful process for you? Coz stripping is pulling hairs off your body. That sounds really painful! Mommy already screams when she tried to pull off a handful of her hair on her head...I'm glad I don't have to be stripped.

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Kimi Wagner said...

Hi Solid Gold Dancer,

Handstripping is a bit like a woman pulling out her eyebrows to shape it. When a woman does it frequently, it doesn't hurt to pull.

The trick is to pull out less when starting, and then when a human becomes more experienced, the handstripping becomes faster and less painful, because she knows how much to pull based on the area being more or less sensitive.



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