Timebanking and the Case of Matted Dog Hair

By Grace Maselli

Timebank to the rescue. My dog Olive is, uh, er, a pet with thick fur. She’s a beautiful wingding dilly of a dog, part Shih Tzu, part Lhasa Apso, part mystery. According to Wikipedia, Lhasa’s were “bred as an interior sentinel in the Buddhist monasteries, to alert the monks to any intruders who entered.” Let’s just say my lovely, tender Olive is a long way from the Ganden Monastery of Tibet, living in lesser environs in Land O’ Lakes with her brother and sister, two other mutts.

True confession: Olive lives with me, her human mother, who doesn’t always stay on top of the stubborn, tangled mess of matted hair that seems to multiply like a quadratic equation (that I also don’t know how to keep up with). Canine College says, “Even the best of the best dog owners can be challenged with this task [of keeping dog hair from getting matted…] – it is very easy to overlook mats in our dog’s coat unless we run our fingers to the base of the coat – right to the skin!  And once those mats start they can be stubborn (boldface, mine) and multiply or expand so quickly.” An excuse after my own heart.

Anyway, with my tail between my legs, I went to co-timebanker Karen Lowman, animal lover extraordinaire, for moral support and an exchange. And without judgement, fearless Karen, a woman who loves a furry challenge, came to the rescue. She arrived without a scintilla of criticism. She showed up on time without even one atomic particle of harshness. Instead, Karen brought only kindness and a buzzer.

Specifically, she brought her warmth and genuinely supportive disposition and a buzz-cutting kit for human hair. She took her buzzer out and gently, delicately, patiently relieved Olive of many mats. But so deep and thick are the said mats, that Karen and I need to schedule Part 2 of “Buzzing Olive,” to complete the new and nearly improved coiff. It’s also worth mentioning at this point that Olive represents Karen’s maiden voyage into the world of dog grooming. Heretofore, Karen’s only groomed people. Next step for Karen: Beauty Parlor Chez Bow Wow. Next step for me, less hand-wringing, more canine action.