Freeway Gets Clipped and Snipped
Summerdale, AL - Events of Monday, April 16 to Wednesday, April 18, 2012
On Monday, we decided Freeway was long overdue for a haircut. We had him groomed the first two times at PetSmart at their discounted rate of $16 for puppies under 5 months of age. Now that Freeway is a little over 5 months old, we would have to pay the full price for grooming, which starts at $40. Therefore, we bought a new cordless dog-grooming clipper so we could groom him ourselves. We used to groom our previous dog, Molly, so we figured we could learn to do Freeway as well. The clippers even came with a DVD showing how to groom different parts of the dog and how to groom different breeds. We will probably stick with a puppy cut for Freeway, which is the simplest type of cut where the dog is essentially clipped to the same length all over.
Freeway's coat is very fine, and it tangles easily. The tangles eventually turn into knots, so we need to brush him often. Grooming starts with an extra-thorough brushing so the clipper doesn't hang up on the tangles.
A short time ago, we ordered an arm to mount to a table to hold Freeway still for grooming. We found it works well for the thorough brushing as well.
When we had Freeway groomed at the PetSmart in The Villages, the groomer mentioned using a slicker brush, which we have, to help get out tangles. She also advised getting a metal comb. The metal combs that are available for dog grooming have smooth, round, metal teeth. Unlike plastic combs, the metal comb glides through Freeway's coat. What a difference! The metal comb really makes it easy to keep the tangles out.
The brushing was followed by a bath to remove dirt and grit in Freeway's fur that could dull the clippers. After blow-drying Freeway, Paul started clipping.
The hardest part of grooming Freeway for the first time ourselves was deciding how much to take off. The clippers come with several comb attachments that make it easier to maintain an even cut, and we used the longest one for Freeway. We finished up trimming Freeway's face with scissors. That part is going to take a little practice because he fidgets a lot, especially when you stick a pair of scissors in his face. It was hard to get his face trimmed evenly, but we thought he looked pretty good for our first try.
Freeway got clipped on Monday, and he had an appointment at the vet to get snipped on Wednesday. When Margery was a little girl, her family always had female dogs, and our first two dogs were females. All the females were spayed. This is our first experience with a male dog, and Paul was feeling a little uneasy about having freeway neutered. However, we had no plans to breed Freeway, and we want to be responsible pet owners to help reduce a pet population explosion. Neutering also eliminates potential problems with aggression and marking in males.
Finding a vet in an unknown area is almost as challenging, if not more so, than finding a hair dresser. Our first year on the road, we had to take Molly to the vet numerous times. In all, we visited at least 6 vets between Pittsburgh and California. Each visit included the first-visit exam (at the going rate for new patients) in addition to diagnosis and treatment of her problem (which ended up being a deep-seated bladder infection). It was a very expensive first year! About a year before Molly died, we discovered Banfield Veterinary Services which is a national "chain" available at most PetSmart stores. Now, Freeway's records are available at any Banfield in the country. It makes the continuity of care from one city to another so convenient...and cost effective. We also took advantage of the Puppy Early Care Plus Wellness Plan. For $39/month, we get unlimited office calls/exams, vaccinations, diagnostic testing, and neutering services. We don't know if we'll continue a plan after Freeway's first year, but it has been definitely worthwhile for his first year.
We had to have Freeway at the vet before 8:00 AM, and we dropped him off a little before that time. We took advantage of the early hour to stop at Panini Pete's for breakfast after we dropped him off.
Although breakfast paninis are available, we wanted to try Panini Pete's beignets. As you may know, beignets are fried doughnuts that Café du Monde in New Orleans is so famous for. We had heard a lot about the beignets at Panini Pete's, and we have been wanting to try them; but they only serve breakfast until 10:30, and we haven't been able to in gear to get to Fairhope in time. Having to have Freeway at the vet so early was a perfect excuse to stop.
It was a cool, cloudy morning, so we ate inside for the first time.
Panini Pete's version of beignets is a little different from the ones in New Orleans. Panini Pete's beignets are light and airy like a cream puff except without the cream filling inside. Like the biegnets in New Orleans, they are smothered in powdered sugar on the outside. Panini Pete's also serves their beignets with a wedge of lemon. Lemon juice squeezed onto the beignets combines with the powdered sugar adds a hint of lemonade flavor. We initially ordered one serving of four beignets to share. They were so good and they went down so easily, we just had to order a second serving!
We made a few quick stops on the way back to the motor home from Panini Pete's. After lunch, we got a call from the vet saying Freeway did fine with his surgery, and we could pick him up after 4:00 PM.
We knew our schedule on Wednesday would be a little uncertain and possibly hectic, so we decided to have an early dinner at a restaurant on the way to pick Freeway up. We were both hungry for Chinese, so we stopped at China Wok in Fairhope, which wasn't too far out of our way. The restaurant is located in a strip mall.
We both love General Tso's chicken, and we rarely order anything else at a Chinese restaurant. China Wok had General Tso's chicken on the menu, but they also had a buffet. Chinese buffets are very popular, but we usually don't like them because the breaded coating of General Tso's chicken usually gets soggy sitting on the steam table at a buffet. However, China Wok's buffet looked like it had a good selection of food (including General Tso's chicken). At $5.99, the buffet was cheaper than ordering General Tso's chicken from the menu for $6.75, so we decided to have the buffet.
We were disappointed in our meal at China Wok. The middle of the afternoon isn't a great time to hit a buffet because business is slow at that time of day and there isn't much turn over in the food. Many items were dried out; and, although the General Tso's chicken had good flavor, the coating was soggy as we feared it would be. Some of the other items on the buffet (like the egg rolls, the spicy shrimp, the honey chicken and coconut shrimp) didn't have much flavor.
Most importantly, the steam tables weren't doing a good job of keeping the food warm. Food safety rules say hot foods should be above 140ºF and cold foods should be below 40º. We didn't have a thermometer, but we're sure the hot food wasn't anywhere near 140º.
We didn't know if Freeway would be glad to see us or not when we picked him up, but he was. We expected him to be groggy like he was after his eye surgery, but he was bouncing off the walls by the time we got him home. We are supposed to keep him quiet for a week following the surgery, which isn't an easy task for any 5-month old puppy, and we figured it was going to be impossible the way he was acting. He was running around the motor home, jumping up and down, and trying to get into anything and everything. At first, we thought he was trying to get even with us, but we later found out that the anesthetic sometimes has the side effect of making the dogs hyperactive, disobedient, and downright ornery. Fortunately, the side effects wore off by the following morning.
We still have the job of keeping a young puppy calm and quiet, but we feel we have a fighting chance without the side effects of the anesthetic. We'll be staying around the motor home for a while to keep tabs on Freeway and to work on the project we have mentioned a several times now. It's a fairly big project, and we're working on it in between doing other things so it is taking a while to get it done. We expect the project to be completed soon; and when it is, we'll tell you all about it.