Jan 282014

Phoenix Header

**Editor’s Note: This is a re-post of a story from early last summer. Phoenix’s groomer appointment tomorrow had me think to put this up for a read for many of you that have likely never seen it. It’s one of my favorite posts. Enjoy! **

Nine years ago I made the decision to have my Golden Retriever, Phoenix, shaved for the summer. He looked miserably hot and sure enough after I shaved him his energy level went right back up like it was during the winter months. It has become a rite of passage each year. That doesn’t mean going to the groomer has been pleasant.

I’m a complete head over heels dog lover and I did a lot of research on this back then prior to doing it the first time. I only wanted the best for him and would, have, and will always do what is ever in his best interest and health. Am I promoting and suggesting that you get your dog shaved for the summer? Not even remotely. Every dog is special and unique and so is their body’s reaction to being shaved. Our experience has worked out wonderfully yet is not for every dog.

I do ask that if your dog has developed an undercoat (that is often matted) to have a professional dog groomer bathe him/her and get all of that out. Your dog will thank you afterwards.

Dogs and wolves in the wild lived for thousands upon thousands of years just fine without being shaved. Oh gosh, let’s go shave all the wolves. I am kidding! Lifetime wolf advocate and lover here. My house has been decorated in a wolf motif for over 20 years. But, then man came along and put a domesticated animal in an air-conditioned home. Ok, this man did. Anyhoo, it all worked out for Phoenix and my two little dogs before him. I’ve been doing this some 25 years. Once again, I am not promoting this for your dog. I’m just sharing our story.

I have taken my dogs to Jason who has been working for Kristi’s Dog Grooming and his uncle before him for all of these years. Our vet, King’s Row Animal Hospital, has always been next door with Dr Ditsworth. Best. Vet. Ever.

Phoenix is like Radar from the hit tv show M.A.S.H. He can often feel, know things and events before they happen. Or just that he’s far smarter than his dumb ass daddy. He loves planes and especially helicopters. The path of our local Care Flight medical helicopter comes right over our house. He will go bolting outside to wait for it long before I even hear it. Side note, many years ago, Phoenix and I got to meet one of the pilots at the park and play with his….wait for it. Yep. His Golden Retriever. Btw, I love helicopters too. During the daylight hours he would give us a swagger with his ride above to say hi as he zoomed overhead. We always waved. True story.

Anyhoo, Phoenix is the kindest, softest soul I’ve ever met. Oh, he’s got plenty of mischief in him even now at 10 years old. But, being a smart Golden Retriever he knows when something is up. I can put on my best game face. I never tell Phoenix a fib. Except for grooming day. Ironically, he just stands there for Jason patiently. Amazing. Yes, I’ve watched from afar previously.

We headed out for that drive to that place and I told him we were going for a drive for an appointment for him. I did not tell him we were going to play just so you know. I swear. He hates the groomer. Sorry, he doesn’t hate Jason. He hates the experience.  He loves going to the vet most likely because the cute, nice girls let him roam around the back with them. But for our drive, he was immediately suspect regardless.

Side note, for anyone new to my blog. Using the word “hate” with Phoenix is a comical term only. Because those that have been around us for all these years know that I absolutely treasure him and he’s the light of my life. He’s all I have.

I’ll let my Golden Retriever, Phoenix, take it from here (with a few verbal assists from me) as we were going to the groomer and the rest of the story of the day…

Phoenix In Driveway

“What appointment? I’m not showing anything on my calendar. You’ve got that look in your eyes, Daddy.”

Out Of Control And Blind As A Bat

“Out of control and blind as bat!” Movie trivia quote there.

Next Turn Is The Park

“Ok, the next turn is the park, Daddy.”

Missed Turn Off

“You missed the turn off, dumb ass. Care to share a little more intel with me about this appointment?”

Not Good

“This is not good.”

Car At Light

“Mister! Roll your window down! I’ve been dog-napped! I don’t know this man! Call for help!” Embarrassing.

Give Me That Camera

“Give me your eff’ing cell phone, I need to make a call.”

Highway To Hell

The Highway To Hell. There are only two things at the end of this driveway in his life that matter. The vet and the groomer.

Kristi's Dog Grooming

Moment of truth.



Let's Go To The Vet

“They are closed. Let’s go say hi to the girls at the vet.”

And we pause for intermission. Please run to the restroom. Grab another cup of coffee or more popcorn. To be continued shortly…

I’m back. You still there? So, I dropped him off. Gawd, I hate it. I went home and waited for the phone to ring from Jason saying he was ready to be picked up. Which was before he went in the door. But, I mean, after he was washed and shaved. I waited at the house, had a visitor in the backyard, and then picked him up. Ok, back to the story…


I was passing by the window and caught this by total chance. One of Phoenix’s friends. Oh, we don’t own a kitty but apparently he knew that my kid was not home.

Oh You're Home

“Hey, dumb ass! So, you’re home.” I swear I live in Eddie Murphy’s foul mouthed Dr Doolittle world sometimes.

Kitty Where's Phoenix

“Where’s Phoenix?! I was resting up for a good game of chase.” Never mind you kitty.

And then it was pick-up time. Sorry, I couldn’t get a pic of it. But, he sits there quietly until I walk in and then he goes absolutely ape-shit to get him out of there.

Cute Lab

“OMG. A cute Lab coming out of that purgatory too. Wow, she’s got the walk. Hips like no tomorrow. Eyes that will melt ya. Legs that will…ahem…keep your trap shut, Daddy. I got this.”

Lab Phone Number

“Hey! I’m Phoenix! We can go for walks at the park! Tennis balls! Rolling in the grass! Oh this guy? He’s just my dog sitter.” I hate him.


Nine years. Same routine each year after the shave. He will have nothing to do with me. Silence. It’s not the shave itself. It’s that I left him at the groomer.

Please Talk To Me

I literally had a treat in my hand. Yes, with the camera in the same hand for those of you Pay Attention Post Police.


One of my best buddies, Mike S, always gives me crap that my dog looks overweight in pics. It’s his reverse psych way of reminding me to always keep Phoenix’s weight down. 72 pounds. I rock!

Make My Butt Look Big

“Does this haircut make my butt look big?” Oh, now he’s talking to me.

Bite My Ass

I told him how cute he was and got back, “Kiss my ass…”


“Here, cutest shaved Golden Retriever pic, Daddy. Post it. Now, gimme a treat.” Attitude all day long *sigh*

If you’re asking how did I get those pictures in the Jeep. I held my Canon point and shoot with my right hand and snapped them “blindly” praying I captured a few good ones. Pure dumb luck…

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 40+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories, commentary, and (of course) my greatest love... my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.

  82 Responses to “Phoenix’s Trip To The Dog Groomer, A Flashback”

  1. I just love this story! And the photos! Phoenix is the cutest shaved golden retriever. Thanks for making me smile you two 🙂

    • Oh that is very sweet and a smiling reader is definitely a successful post in our book, Chareese! 🙂

  2. How sweet 🙂 My Zoey has short hair, but Speckles needed groomed on a regular basis. I did have a cocker spaniel named Rambo when I was a kid. His coat got terribly matted, and when I came home one day after my mom had taken him to the groomer’s, he was totally shaved. Looked like a totally different dog, but was much more comfortable.

    • It’s quite a shock the very first time we see them shaved isn’t, Jeri? Rambo the Cocker Spaniel…the rocks! And Zoey is lucky to not have to worry about her hair getting matted 🙂

  3. Love this story as well. Especially the dialogue!

  4. Love the story and the pictures Mike! Seriously Phoenix is the cutest shaved Golden Retriever in the whole world!

    • It’s the funniest thing how people do fawn all over him (you should see it on our walks) after he’s been shaved. Looks like a puppy all over again and I love it for him, Rita 🙂

  5. Cute pictures!! I wonder how much you love Phoenix! This is more than what you mention! And how many more pics you have clicked, do you click them every summer? Sure, he seems to be your best buddie!!

    • Oh you’ve read some of my other posts with him and there should be no doubt as to Phoenix being my best friend, soul mate and life long dream come true for me, Balroop! 🙂

  6. My favourite bit of this post – Phoenix is like Radar from the hit tv show M.A.S.H. He can often feel, know things and events before they happen! Phoenix reminds me of my dog I left in Poland! Missing it so much these days!

    • Thank you, Agness! I so wish there was a way to transport full size dogs overseas without putting them in storage. I refuse to ever do that. So sorry you miss your baby back home. You’ll get back there soon enough 🙂

  7. Mike, from a dog lover to another, Phoenix is an awesome fellow!! Dogs have this in built instinct that says “Groomer Alert. Groomer Alert.”

    • I so appreciated the compliment, Michelle! Dogs are amazingly wise to not only the slightest change in any routine but also our vibe now matter how much we try and hide it, huh? 🙂

  8. I think you need to do an entire post of just photos of Phoenix with speech bubbles, it would be awesome. A day in the life of a super-hero tennis ball chasing golder retriever who owns a jeep. 😉

    • That would be a lot of fun Patti and I’ve got a few more ideas I’m going to try and see what happens. Now you have me thinking about something else to expand on your idea! 🙂

  9. I love phoenix! He is so cute and handsome shaved… My dog hated going to the groomer (she was a bichon and had to go every six weeks). She literally froze in her tracks when we neared the groomer. Good thing she was small and we could carry her…

    Thanks so much for ordering Dangled! I hope you enjoy it!

    • Oh thank you so much, Hilary. I’m pretty fond of him too. That would definitely help to be able to carry your pup in! The book is scheduled to get here Monday. Just have to make time to read it. Looking forward to it 🙂

  10. Such a difference after the groom! He must feel so much lighter. BTW, do you take pics while driving? It’s hard to tell. Be careful!

    • I love getting a haircut and feeling lighter just like you said so I can only imagine how wonderful it feels for him. The camera was stationary and my eyes were on the road. I just got lucky with the photos 🙂

  11. Phoenix really does look younger, thinner, and happier when he’s shaved. Great photos, but Phoenix’s language is a bit salty. Perhaps you should wash his mouth out with dog treats.

  12. Let’s shave all the wolves….cannot stop laughing about that! He looks really good shaved. I was skeptical. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shaved golden. Now I am looking at my dog and thinking “your turn, buddy!” It gets pretty hot here in the summer too.

    • LOL to your pup, “your turn, buddy!” I’m sure he would like some input on that. But, I swear by the shaving for their comfort, Lillian 🙂

  13. AWWWWW! He’s so perfectly adorable shaved! Love this story!

    When a few of my longer haired cats got older I had to have them shaved, too. Mostly cuz they couldn’t groom mats out anymore and they’d get covered in them. But, they looked soooo funnyadorable! I still have a framed photo of my Pancho all shaved even though he’s been gone several years.

    • Oh my gosh yes and cats too, Beth! Great call. Gosh, some need it so very much. I would love to see that picture of Pancho! 🙂

  14. I just love your Phoenix stories! I was laughing all through this very entertaining post. Thank you Phoenix, oh and you too, Mike 🙂

    I remember my dog going ape poop over the groomer’s as well.

    • They know and there is nothing fun about it, Lisa! And they are with the other dogs who are all complaining and diming out all of their owners while they are there 🙂

  15. Hi Mike

    Hates you now, but I am sure appreciates being less of a coat on when the warm weather shows up.

    Knew a gal that would have her persian shaved due to mats and cooler for the summer. Cat hated it but she was always happier later.


    • Hi Mary, you said it perfectly. For both him and as you mentioned for all pets. Hate us now, thank us later 🙂

  16. What a difference the groomer made! I can’t imagine walking around during a long, hot summer with basically a big jacket on. Love the pics and the story. 🙂

    • Thank you, Colleen. He hates the hot weather and loves the cold weather. The shaved cut is the best compensation I can gift to him 🙂

  17. I think Phoenix looks unbelievably cute all shaved. I just ran the grooming idea by my Caribbeann Cocktail mutt and she is giving me the evil eye. Lucky she moved to a cold climate as she hates the heat.

    Very cute photo of Phoenix looking out the car window.

    • I so appreciate the compliment for him, Leigh! Yes, you will definitely get the evil eye from your kid and I’m sure she loves that cold weather up there in Canada 🙂

  18. OMG HAHAAHAHAHAH we got Chief shaved in the summer as well but your commentary is amazing and awesome and OMG just fabulous!!! The whole “Phoenix is like Radar from the hit tv show M.A.S.H. He can often feel, know things and events before they happen.”
    They know. They so know. but they come in as old dogs and emerge ad puppies! LOVE THIS. Like big love this.

    • Thank you so much, Kristi! He had a lot to offer about the experience so I thought I should share it. He has that Radar perception to so many things in life. Very smart dog. Smarter than me, for sure! You nailed it with emerging as puppies. Isn’t it amazing? I hope Chief thanks you guys as well after all is said and done 🙂

  19. He looks so different shaved but still adorable. Love the story and Phoenix’s “thoughts”. I was wondering ho you got all those pictures. Great job capturing him in your car. Very cute post!

    • It’s always fun offer posts from Phoenix’s perspective, Mary. I was so lucky with those pictures as my eyes truly were on the road when the vehicle was moving. Thank you for the compliments! 🙂

  20. Phoenix looks very handsome when he’s clean-shaven! Don’t you just have to laugh (or cry) when your pet gives you the cold shoulder?!

    • Thank you on his behalf, Corinne! No kidding at laughing at the cold shoulder. Though he’s brutal at it LOL 🙂

  21. Gosh, I almost didn’t recognize Phoenix. What a dramatic change. He’s such a cutie. So next time, you’ll have to sit there while he gets his grooming on.

    • Completely different looking dog isn’t he, Marcia? Thank you for the nice compliment. No way I could stay there as that would only make things far more difficult for him and the groomer 🙂

  22. Ha, this is fantastic! And like most boys, a good haircut will shave years off their look – he looks like a two year old 🙂
    I’ve got a lab without an undercoat – because she’s a mix with who knows what, but that’s where she got her coat from – the unknown. But I wouldn’t hesitate to get that undercoat groomed and/or an overall shave if it would make her more comfortable in summer. But I would be the guilty mom leaving her to get it done 🙂

    • Yes, I always feel terribly guilty and can’t wait to pick him up. Jason always does him last in, first out. The benefit of a long time, loyal customer to the place. That’s great your lab doesn’t have undercoat issues. Make life so much easier and more pleasant for him, Ally 🙂

  23. What a handsome gentleman he is! And he must feel SO much better once all that hair is off him in the heat! I can totally relate all too well to this story…Gillman has to go to the groomer to get his “pedicure”, and I swear he knows where we’re going before even getting him in the bag and out the door…he HATES it, and gives me the cold shoulder for about 5 minutes afterwards, too;-)

    Gotta love our besties and their big personalities!:-)

    • Always love our besties, Jess! I’m glad to hear that Gillman gives you the attitude as well…meaning that it’s not just me. That’s great that you keep him manicured as people so often forget about their nails needing to be clipped. I bet he’s so adorably cute afterwards too 🙂

  24. Phoenix looks so handsome with his shaved coat! It really makes a difference. Short hair, long hair, Phoenix is just a beautiful pup! I always love these posts when you show us Phoenix’s thoughts. Hilarious!

    • Awww, you are always so sweet and kind to us, Dana, and thank you! I am so blessed with such a beautifully sweet, kind, cute boy for sure. Thank you for the compliment on the dialogue too, our friend 🙂

  25. Dog with a blog, I love his commentary and flirting w/the girl dogs! What a hound.

    • I’m just lucky that he let’s me have my say and posts always in the blog, Joy! I totally appreciate your compliments 🙂

  26. Phoenix is precious! And if it’s even possible, he looks even cuter shaved. What a great companion. I love all of the photos.

    My dog hates the car and does the stiff leg any time I take her to the garage. I always have to get my hubby to wrestle her into the car so that I can take her anywhere. Needless to say, she doesn’t go many places and is perfectly content lying at my feet or sleeping under my son’s bed for 23 hours a day. She comes out for her walks and dinner. She’s not spoiled at all.

    • Thank you so much, Mandi! Isn’t amazing how much he looks like a puppy all over again? I’m soooo sorry your baby girl doesn’t like the car. Phoenix has been my wingman in (his) Jeep since the day I brought him home. We go everywhere together. I’m very glad your sweetie isn’t spoiled *wink*. I loved the part that she likes laying under your son’s bed to be near him. I always wanted that as a little boy and have that now 🙂

  27. I did love this story, the comments and the pictures. You guys always know how to make your readers smile :-). Thanks again!

    • What an awesome compliment on the smiles, Adrian, and thank you! If we can make a reader smile – mission accomplished 🙂

  28. Precious pictures of a gentle soul — his eyes are so compassionate. The fact that his character comes through in pictures is a testament to how special he is.

    • He is so very, very special to me, Gunmetal. And following my blog past, present and future you’ll see that 10 fold. I’m so glad you noticed his eyes as you nailed it, he’s the most gentle soul ever. Thank you so much! 🙂

  29. Oh you don’t know how much I needed this chuckle this morning!
    I always threaten to shave my dog. He’s a lab and he sheds everywhere. No matter how much I sweep or vacuum, there will be hair. After I had back surgery, no one *looks at husband* swept the floors. We had dog hair tumble weeds floating across our floors. So disgusting…but I love that turd.
    Champ would have ripped that cat to shreds. I’m not even lying.

    • Sweet that we gave you a laugh, Kimberly! That makes our day. Oh I hear ya on the shedding. Gawd, all of the extra fur Golden Retrievers I could have sold online by now. LOL…tumble weeds…been there! I would love to hear more about Champ. I bet him and Chunky are best buddies 🙂

  30. Ahhh what a handsome boy he is! And taking pictures whilst driving Mike…. The things we do (or shouldn’t do) for a good picture, eh!) 😉

    • Ha, ha…ya, I had to get crafty for taking those pictures while the Jeep was in motion. Totally had my eyes on the road and was just blessed. You have no idea how many shots I took just to get those few that turned out. I so appreciate the compliment about him too, Shing! 🙂

  31. Phoenix is a hansom stud! 😀
    Toss him that ball a couple of extra times today – for me

    • Hey, thank you so much Maria and how awesome to hear from you! The ball will absolutely be thrown in your honor immediately 🙂

  32. Such a funny post. Poor guy looks apprehensive in the car, but so cute afterward with his new hair cut. 🙂

    • Oh thank you, Jan, he does look a cutie. But you’re right, if there is direction driven that isn’t of his planned itinerary the apprehension definitely sets in lol 🙂

  33. Mike,

    Apparently your method of blindly pointing and shooting pictures of Phoenix is working out great! Is it weird that he doesn’t like being groomed but is OK with a vet visit. Personally, I would much rather have a spa day with mani/pedi’s and new hair than a trip to the stirrup doctor!! I only have a daughter and a husband for my pets so while I do like dogs, I don’t have any experience in this matter.

    • LOL re: the stirrup doctor. Not laughing at you but the funny remark as I wouldn’t enjoy that either, Pattie. I’ve gotten so lucky with those pics in his Jeep. I should post the several dozen in the same series where I missed 🙂

  34. haha Phoenix comments are so hilarious. What a great story and pics. He is indeed the most handsome and cutest shaved dog ever.

    • Aww thank you so much, Freya! It’s like the puppy is revived in him each year when he gets that cut to go along with the shaved look 🙂

  35. Mike, here is the reason I think it’s a great practice to get Phoenix shaved in preparation for each summer: My friends who run an award-winning sled-dog team refuse to run their dogs at all if it’s over 60 degrees. Yes, sixty. And their sled dogs are skinny, meaning their bodies are better at cooling off than those of larger dogs like Phoenix. My friends say it’s dangerous to their health to exert themselves above that temperature.

    I’m not surprised that Phoenix’s energy level goes up after he gets shaved. I’ve gathered that dogs suffer more than we imagine in hot weather, because their bodies can’t sweat like ours can to cool off.

    I noticed that you wrote that Phoenix is “all you have”. That makes me curious . . . why? If that’s too personal , no need to respond. It just kind of leapt out at me. You’re a person who is clearly showering love into the world, and receiving some love in return, at least from other online writers. Maybe at some point there is something here for a rather vulnerable blog post. Just a thought. I know you like to keep things real. Sending you a big hug from Oregon.

    • Phoenix is actually about the same size as a sled dog. Maybe I should have chosen different words to describe my bond and relationship with him. Some get it and some do not. I do have a ton of caring people in my life and so very blessed. Hugs back to you and thank you so much, Alison! 🙂

  36. OOOO, I LOVE that dog!!

    The photo of the black cat cracked me up!!!


    • He loves ya back, Kim! That kitty is his tormentor. Phoenix likes cats but this one teases him on the fence. Have no clue what home he belongs to. Xxxx’s! 🙂

  37. I’d never thought of shaving dogs, but Phoenix looks kind of cute even without the furry coat. Wonder if it would have worked for the Newfoundlander I had as a child.

    • The greatest thing for the pups is getting all of the matting and undergrowth removed that we often may not even realize is there. So it might have worked well for your dog. Thank you for the compliment on my kid, Mette! 🙂

  38. Too Funny Mike!!
    But seriously Phoenix, you look so good with your hair cut – very smart looking! Watch out for all those babes out there at the park….they will be all over you.
    Good to hear you want him to be comfortable in the hot weather 🙂

    • He did have his eye on a cut Yellow Lab and insisted on getting her number. But, I told him that was a bit too forward after only a first sniff date, Lisa 🙂

  39. What a cute story. I love how he looks all shaved down. My mom used to do that every summer with a collie she had, Magie. You would not believe how thin a collie really is under all that fur. She looked like an undernourished doe.

    • I always tell folks they never know how well they’ve done with weight management for their four-legged kid until they see them shaved, Donna! I can imagine Magie looking very thin shaved down…and likely/hopefully feeling great! 🙂

  40. What a great story and Phoenix looks fab with his summer haircut.

    • Thank you, Sharon! This year’s cut it still a few months away so we’ll see how that goes 🙂

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