That time of year to pimp your pet

2011-12-23 00:00

APART from the many other things that Christmas reminds us about, it also seems to be the time to remember to pimp up the pooch … and no, I’m not talking about Santa suits for poodles and Grinch-green paint dips for your cat.

Pet parlours experience an annual rush of pet owners wanting haircuts and pedicures for their four-legged munchkins, pitbulls and Persians included, during the festive season, especially in the last week before Christmas.

“I don’t know if it’s because people have family coming over or if it’s because they are sending their pets to kennels,” said Ronnie Yeoman, a semi-retired pet groomer in Scottsville who has worked with animals for over 30 years.

Zandy Armstrong from Groomingdales said that on an average day they receive about 30 to 40 pets, dogs and cats, to groom and in December the number of pets increases to about 70 a day.

“I have people who have booked appointments a year ago for this period,” said Armstrong.

Cuts range from boringly sane to outrageously psycho, with most owners opting for a Summer cut to keep their pets cool.

Some of the stranger styles Armstrong has done include cutting a mohawk for a Maltese poodle, completely shaving a German shepherd, giving cats lion cuts — where their bodies are shaved but their heads left with a mane around their neck — and she once dyed a schnauzer pink.

“It all depends on what the owner wants.

“Some people like their pets with bows and clips, some don’t,” said Yeoman.

However, dogs and cats are not the only animals getting special attention this festive season.

Pets World and Aquatics has turned into a bird hotel, filling the store with cages and endless tweeting.

“We board parrots for our clients for free as we’d rather look after them instead of people who don’t know how to,” said Gavin Armstrong.

“We have 35 to 40 birds that we are currently looking after, mainly African greys and cockatoos, but we also have some smaller birds like lovebirds.

“It’s great fun having them around and some even talk to the customers.”

While there are many pet owners pampering their furry and feathered family members this festive season, many animals are left neglected.

“We get a lot of animals during this time,” said Maureen Vida, the spokesperson for the SPCA.

“Our stray block is full. Many people go on holiday without making proper provisions for their pets and they end up escaping.

“We also have many people donating animals because they don’t want them anymore”.

The boarding facilities at the SPCA have been fully booked for the last six weeks.

Yeoman advises booking pets in as early as September.

“I’ve seen very neglected dogs, to the extent that they are infested with maggots.

“I had one dog come in with fur so matted and heavy that, when I removed it, he couldn’t walk.

“He was so used to being weighed down that he couldn’t find his balance,” said Yeoman.

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