2008-01-09 / Editorials

Other Voices

A different resolution
Mitch Clarke

Mitch Clarke is executive editor of The Times in Gainesville, Ga. He can be reached at mclarke@ gainesvilletimes.com. Mitch Clarke is executive editor of The Times in Gainesville, Ga. He can be reached at mclarke@ gainesvilletimes.com. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions because I usually can't keep them. Like many people, I start the year with grand plans and by the second week of January, I'm back to my old habits.

For many years, I resolved to lose weight. My pants were a little tight, and I was really feeling out of shape. So I'd start the year with good intentions, eating better foods and less of them. Exercising more. Cutting out sweets.

But true to form, after a week of eating celery and carrots, I'd surrender and order a double cheeseburger. Resolution blown.

Some years I make resolutions I know I can keep. One year, I resolved to not eat mushrooms in the new year. It was easy to keep because I hate mushrooms. Another year, I resolved to not buy a yacht. No problem. I can't afford a yacht, so I knew I wouldn't be buying one.

I did finally lose some weight last year. But it wasn't part of a New Year's resolution. Maybe there's just too much pressure involved with making resolutions. Maybe it would be easier if we started doing things to better ourselves at random times during the year.

This year is going to be different, though. This year, I'm actually going to make a resolution, and I have every intention of keeping it.

This year, I'm going to become a dog groomer.

Don't worry. I'm not giving up my day job. But after taking Glory, the black and white Springer spaniel who lives at my house, to the groomer every couple of months for nearly 10 years, I've decided to try it myself.

The reason is mainly financial. I can get my hair cut for a full year for what it costs for one trip to the groomer.

Granted, I don't have much hair and what I do have, I keep cut very short. Glory, on the other hand, manufactures hair. She gets brushed just about every night. Yet I still brush out enough hair each time to create a whole new dog. I can't imagine how much hair I've vacuumed up over the last decade.

I'm not knocking the good folks who've been cutting Glory's hair recently. They've done a marvelous job, and they don't charge me any more than other places I've taken her.

And to be fair, they do more than cut her hair. She also gets a bath and a blow dry, which she hates. And her toenails get cut. I don't envy the groomers that task. Glory hates for anyone to mess with her paws, so toenail clipping is usually a two-person job.

Still, Glory's trip to the groomer shouldn't cost more than 10 times what my haircuts cost.

Cheryl, the nice woman who cuts my hair, does a great job and only charges me $5. She puts a quarterinch blade on the clipper and runs it over my head until all my hair is the same length. She brushes a little talcum powder on my neck and sends me on my way.

I plan on doing pretty much the same thing to Glory. Minus the talcum powder.

Glory doesn't get the traditional Springer cut. I get her coat cut the same length all over. Several people I've talked to say I should be able to learn how to do it without much trouble.

Doc, the veterinarian in my hometown who I call for all dog-related issues, has sent me a veterinary supply catalog. In it, he circled the exact clipper I need, as well as the blades and several other accessories. For the cost of two trips to the groomer, I can own everything I need to take care of Glory myself.

For the last few weeks, I'm been reading articles on the Internet about dog grooming. It seems like something I can do.

It'll be another month or so before Glory really needs to be groomed. Hopefully by then, I'll feel comfortable enough to give it a try.

But do me a favor, please. If you see Glory at the park in the next few months and she has a funny haircut, please don't laugh at her.

I'm just a beginner, you know.

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