I have never had a professional manicure. Not that I have anything against them—I love fancy nails and have myself worn artificial nails for years and years. It’s just that there are so many great DIY products on the market now and I can’t see the point in paying to have someone else do my nails for me when I can quite easily do them myself.
And I have always enjoyed doing my own nails to tell you the truth. I find it relaxing. I usually do them on a Sunday evening, when the weekend is nearly over and I am ready to just sit for a while to get my head ready for another working week. I gather all the necessaries around me (emery boards, false nails, glue, nail polish, glass of red wine . . . ) settle myself comfy in front of the telly and spend the next hour or so lazily buffing, gluing, polishing . . . and sipping . . .
If I could only convince my girls that getting their own nails trimmed was something equally relaxing and pleasant to look forward to, but alas . . .
When the dogs were very tiny I decided I would take on the task of keeping their nails trimmed myself. I mean, how hard could it be? I admit I was nervous using the clippers though, and worried about accidentally hurting them during the process—and they played on that fear from the start. Maudie immediately developed an amazing ability to turn herself inside out and upside down with incredible dexterity, escaping my clutches with ease (and then dancing tantalisingly just out of reach and smiling smugly the whole time).
Mabel, although not as strong as or wilful as Maude, developed her own guaranteed ‘release mechanism’—a series of ear-splitting shrieks loud enough to make your teeth ache (and which would also incite every other dog in the neighbourhood to start howling in sympathy).
Molly, by comparison, was a sweetheart. She would quite happily roll over and let you work on her nails. Unfortunately, she has miniscule black nails surrounded by black fur and most of the time I couldn’t even see her nails, let alone trim them. It was just all too fraught. I started to look for alternatives.
‘Perhaps I could try emery boards instead?’, I thought. The girls only have teeny-tiny feet and teeny-tiny nails, so why not? HA! Like that was ever going to happen. The first time I tried to use an emery board on Mabel she looked at me as if I had gone stark-staring mad—and Maudie tried to kill it.
A groomer friend of mine then gave me an electric nail-grinder to try. She used it on all her dogs and thought it was great. So I carefully read all the instructions, got it all set up and ready to go, turned it on and . . . poof . . . the girls all disappeared as if by magic. I found them all huddled together under my bed, and no matter how much I wheedled or cajoled they flatly refused to come out again. Ever. Sigh. Okay. I give in. I know when I am beaten.
So from then on every six weeks it was off to the local Vet Surgery to get our nails trimmed. It always starts the same way. ‘Who wants to go in the car?’ is inevitably answered by a mad, joyous (and loud) rampage around the house, barking, running in ever-decreasing-circles and bouncing off the walls in their excitement. I let them get on with it, quietly positioning myself by the back door, leashes in hand, and watch the birds at the birdfeeder until the madness abates. Eventually they will all calm down and come and sit at my feet (although still emitting little wriggles and ‘yips’ of excitement, which I have to totally ignore because if I even look like I am going to smile they will get silly all over again). I swear, it takes longer to get them all into the car than it does to actually drive to the Surgery.
The calm never lasts long either. On arrival Mabel will suddenly realise where we are and push herself as far into the back corner of the car as possible, digging her little heels in and refusing to move. Maudie will have already leapt out of the car and be dashing back and forth as far as her leash will allow, tangling everyone else up in the process, and Molly—well Molly just likes to make sure that everyone knows she has finally ‘arrived’. She will puff herself up to twice her usual size, and begin to bellow . . . at the cars in the parking lot . . . and the plants in the garden . . . and the cat sitting on the Surgery step (who has heard it all before and is so not interested) . . . and once we get inside the Reception area she will gradually ramp it up a notch or two, just to make doubly sure that everyone in the back of the building knows she’s out the front . . . and waiting . . .
Happily Gavin and the staff at CamVet are well used to such shenanigans and will brook no nonsense from three tiny dogs (kicking and squealing gets them no sympathy here) and we are usually in and out with our nails looking gorgeous in a very short time.
It’s a funny thing though. Although I tell everyone that our six-weekly sojourn is worth every penny (and it really is) I can’t always shake the feeling in the back of my mind that somehow I’ve been conned. How is it that I am so happy pay for my three little dogs to be professionally manicured on a regular basis but unwilling to do the same for myself?
Perhaps I’ll go put on some Enya and have a bit of a think about that . . .