Lio-rat Demon Dog

I have the misfortune of owning a fur-ball dog known as a Westie. Of course, some owners of fur-ball dogs would consider owning a Westie fortunate as they have some odd genetic defect which prevents them from shedding like all normal dogs. To compensate for this defect, they have about three different layers of fur (thick fuzz, normal hair, wire-o-doom) that make it impossible to run a brush through them. If the thick fuzz layer doesn’t mangel the brush, the wire-o-doom layer will make sure to not only destroy the brush, but also to make your hand look like it accidently got between two wild cats who happen to be fighting over a plastic grocery bag with some meat juice in the bottom.

Because I had had such an impossibly horrid week by the time my birthday rolled around, I decided I was going to treat myself to a birthday present and have Mary, my dog, groomed at Petco. Remembering that the place takes “walk-ins”, I was positive they would be able to schedule an appointment for that day. Instead, I was laughingly informed that they were booked through Sunday. I decided my dog really needed a haircut before I left for Rome, so I set an appointment for today.

After the events of this weekend made the earlier horrors of the week seem like lounging on the couch with a popsicle on a “hot” Seattle summer day, I determined that nothing was going to ruin the start of this week. Nothing. Things started out well- I got to leave work early, despite not knowing that the office would be closed before I showed up. I even finished some internship paper that I thought was due today (even though it’s really due in three days). But then I made the mistake of deciding mere feet away from Petco that my Oldsmobile could take on a Grand Wagoneer piloted by a sorority girl (though, definitely the nicest one I’ve met yet). Even though that’s another story, the Grand Wagoneer suffered only a broken tail light and half-an-inch long smudge of my white paint. No dents. No cracks. Nothing. My car, on the other hand, has now become a one-sided gimp, complete with a long dented streak across both passenger side doors and some blue paint to remember the Grand Wagoneer by.

After swapping insurance information, taking some pictures of the “damage” on the Grand Wagoneer, and apologizing profusely for being such a fucking idiot, I walked the soon-to-be-sheered dog to the grooming section of Petco. I wrote down my phone number and signed a waiver form. I then handed the leash to a grimacing woman with hair that was supposed to be blue, but much in the way of Dawn liquid soap in a sink full of water and dirty dishes, it was actually a dingy gray-blue-brown. “My dog is nervous when on the table, and she doesn’t like her toenails fussed with, but she should be well-behaved if you’re sensitive and nice to her,” I cautioned.

“It’ll be no problem,” the woman assured me. “The person who groomed her here before wrote that she’s a bit skittery on the table, but is really nice and calm otherwise.”

I watched as she tried to coax my dog away from a spot on the floor she was rapidly sniffing, and then left feeling an overwhelming amount of stress because of my car and all of the other things that have piled up during the course of the week.

Two and a half hours later found me sitting on the couch with my iBook watching a movie when the phone rang. A quiet voice on the other end informed me that it was the groomer at Petco calling. “Wow, that’s early,” I said.

“Yeah, well, your dog is the worst dog I’ve ever had to groom. It took three of us to hold her down and she was struggling so much that we shaved a funny line down her back. We didn’t even get to her head. I personally think you are the cruelest owner to do this to your dog. What the hell is wrong with you? You shouldn’t put a dog her age under so much stress! We’re so stressed out, and she’s so stressed out that this can’t continue. I want you to pick up this demon hellhound of yours right now and never bring her back here. Don’t ever come back- we don’t want to ever see you or your dog again!”

“Um… I’m really sorry.” Why was I apologizing to the groomer when she was being so mean? “I’m so sorry, she’s usually not that bad. She’s a bit nervous, especially when you cut her toenails, but I’ve never had this type of problem before.”

“Yeah, well I find that hard to believe,” the groomer snapped back. “What the hell’s wrong with her? You abuse her or something?”

“No, I don’t ‘abuse or something’ my dog. Though thanks for your polite concern. She doesn’t like some people- you have to be nice and patient with her. If you aren’t, she tends to act up. But I’ve never had this problem before, so I’m terribly sorry.”

“Yeah, well just get her outta here. We won’t charge you, but I don’t wanna fuckin’ look at that damn dog any longer.”

“I’ll be over as soon as I can,” I told her. With that, the phone on the other end slammed down, fumbling for a split second as it searched for the cradle.

Tears filled my eyes. “What a horrible day”, I intoned over and over again as I blindly searched for my phone book. As soon as I found the phone book, I called the house of some friends and asked with tears flowing down my cheeks if one of them could pick me up and take me to Petco. “Sure, we’ll be there right away,” my friend told me. I waited on the sidewalk for them, eating a mostly ripe pear.

When they brought me to Petco, I ran inside and found a different woman at the counter. “I’m here to pick up the ‘demon hellhound’ I told her.” She looked at me blankly. I guess a lot of demon hellhounds end up there. “She’s a white dog.” Recognition crossed her face, she nodded and went into the back to inform the woman with gray-blue-brown hair that the abusive owner of the demon hellhound was here.

When Graybluebrown brought out my Cerberus, she threw the demonic hellhound as if she was a skipping stone so that Mary skimmed over the surface of the countertop and landed in my arms. She then threw Mary’s collar and leash at me and ran into the back room without a word. Oblivious regarding the supposed stress she caused the groomers, but happy to see me, Mary sat in my arms calmly as I fastened her collar and leash. When I brought her out to my friends’ car, they were too sensitive to laugh at the state of her.

“She looks dumb,” I told them, my mouth trying to simultaneously smile and frown. Her entire body was shaved closely save for her head, which was an untouched mass of fur that veiled her ears and eyes. In fact, her body had been shaved so closely, it was unproportionately smaller than the spray of fur that made up her head. Even her tail had been shaved down to the bone, making it look like a scrawny wagging tree branch.

The Lio-rat

“She looks like the bastard-child of a lion and a rat,” my friend told me from the front passenger seat.

“She’s a Lio-rat,” I said. The three of us stared forward, not laughing.

Fifteen minutes later, we reached my apartment and I got out of the car and saw that her rear had been shaved so closely it was bald. “My dog has a bare ass!” I screamed in a mix of genuine terror and mock horror. My friends both started laughing from the car, laughing about her bare “baboon” ass and laughing about how funny her knobby legs looked when she squatted to pee on the grass.

“You poor thing, you look so stupid,” I told her as my friends drove away. “They certainly did a bad job shaving you down.” I looked down at her as she wiggled in circular patterns and delightedly sniffed around the grass, and wondered how anything pathetic enough to earn the name “Lio-rat” could really be a hellhound straight from the demonic nether-world depths of evil.


  1. What kind of shit-eating groomer tells their client that their dog is a "hellhound" and then throws the fuckin' dog around? No wonder it took three people to hold Miss Mary down! I guess it doesn't matter that they told you not to come back there since you probably never want to because of the amount of evil that seeps forth from that place.
    I blame your accident on the evilness of Petco. Afterall, your accident happened right near it, right?