By Nani WunderPoodle
Good day, my professional grooming friends, it is I, Nani WunderPoodle. My human, Missi Salzberg, asked me to step in and write an article for GTG as a guest writer, and I am happy to oblige. You see, dogs have a different perspective on the world than you humans, and the poodle, well, even a far different perspective than many other breeds of dogs. Not to bark my own breed’s brilliance, but we are known to have a higher than average intellect amongst canines. I feel not only qualified, but perhaps overly-qualified, to write an article for those of you that work in the wonderful world of dogs. After all, from where I stand, all 5” of me, I see the underbelly of all things.
Now, you may think, “Oh, Nani WunderPoodle, you are a poodle after all. Your life must be so easy, so sweet, so pampered!” Well, Missi is my human! Of course I am spoiled rotten, but that does not mean I haven’t experienced my share of challenges, my friends. I wasn’t going to make it much past week 5 of my life (that’s barely born in human years), when my breeder (I use the term loosely) stopped by The Village Groomer after learning Missi had recently lost my uncle, the legendary Mookie WunderPoodle, to heart disease. So with my open fontanel, my barely hinged patellas and weighing in at ½ pound, I became a WunderPoodle. I came into this world a runt with a great deal of challenges lying ahead of me, but I am one pawsitive poodle, so Missi and I were off on our great adventure.
Now, there are those in the world that regard the poodle as a bit stuck up, and I must respond to this notion. It is absolutely 100%, unequivocally and unarguably TRUE. It is not always easy to be at the head of the class, and we can’t really help it. We are, after all, born this way. Even in the inner circle of poodles, however, I have had my challenges. Nani (yes, I do like to refer to myself in the first canine) has felt oppressed! Nani has been looked down upon, my friends! Nani has felt the pain of being judged and criticized! In the world of top-notch breeders, Nani has no place. I am from poor breeding. I am a little phantom poodle, which right out of the gate is not accepted by that club of yours! I can be registered, sure, but I can’t compete with the other poodles with accepted coat colors. Oh, the injustice of it all.
With that said, I understand what it feels like to be the underdog, no pun intended. Imagine my surprise when I was featured on a grooming supply magazine cover, and there was a controversy over my actual breed, my breeding, my haircut, and one person even said my head was too small for my body! Ouch! It got me to thinking, though. You humans really need to focus more on the moment. Embrace the pawsitive, you know? Stop putting each other down, and start lifting each other up!
I travel with my human to grooming competitions, and I have seen far too much judgment and negativity. Now, remember, you people ask us to travel with you, endure endless hours of baths and brushes, and then the actual contest! It’s a lot to ask of your canine companions, so you could at least be kind to one another! You are always good to me personally. I have no gripe, but a girl hears things being around the competitive ring after all of these years. You must remember, we are your canvas for your creativity, but we can hear! Ah, if all of the competitive grooming world was more like those artsy types in creative. There have been times when they all start crying, not because they lost in the contest, but because someone they love and respect won and they are happy for them! I don’t know that from personal experience, but that’s what Adrianne Pope’s poodle told me.
It’s about a pawsitive outlook and mutual respect. I am a lucky enough poodle to hang with some of the greats in this industry. I could brag with a long list of my aunts and uncles in this grooming circle, but one of the attributes that has made them so successful, beyond their insanely beautiful grooming chops, is that they are incredibly kind and respectful to one another. I immediately think of my aunt Diane (Betelak), and my aunt Chris (Pawlosky), and my auntie Sue (Zecco). When they were competitors and now as educators, they bring pawsitivity to the grooming table, offering newbies and established groomers feedback and constructive criticism. You know, we poodles are incredibly loyal to our humans, so when we see humans being loyal to one another, it makes our stubs wag!
With this in mind, I, Nani WunderPoodle, have some suggestions for the groomers out there, and this is not limited to competitive groomers, or groomers at all! It’s just one poodle’s perspective on how you can ring in 2015 with a pawsitive spin.
Give and receive more belly rubs. We all love a good belly rub, right? Well, you get back what you put out, so whether it’s an actual belly rub, or a hug, or just a shoulder rub for a friend, touch is healing. I actually just finished grooming my brother Boujee, a ½ Chihuahua and ½ Jack Russell, and he lives for a loving touch!
Communicate the pawsitive attributes to the humans you love. In this crazy world, we spend so much time barking about the things that aren’t going our way but we are surrounded by love and pawsitivity. Take the time to give other humans that feedback.
Be happy for other’s successes. You don’t have to cry like the gang in creative, but whether it’s in the grooming world, or in some other situation where someone excels and does well, celebrate that human’s accomplishment!
Try to put yourself in another’s shoes (but please don’t put those dreaded shoes on your dogs! They feel funny!) Empathy and kindness are worthy of our time. If someone is struggling or having a bad day, try to identify with that feeling and offer them support.
Recognize your own worth. As I mentioned previously in this article, some would say the poodle is a bit snobby, or aloof. However, my friends, we embrace our own greatness. It is just who we are. We are incredible, and we know it. Maybe you humans need to recognize your own ‘fantasticness!’ Nani WunderPoodle suggests looking in a mirror and saying to yourself, “I am as fine and loyal and as smart as a poodle. I am popular, good looking and darn it, people like me!”
Get up and move! As a poodle, I need to move! I need exercise. I need to smell questionable things on the ground and sometimes roll in them. Have yourself a good roll! Find a big heapin’ pile of goose poody and go nuts, or, more realistically, take 30 minutes a day for yourself and move your body. Walk, bike, or better yet, hike with your dog!
Realize that you can’t lead a pawsitive life with a negative mind! My human loves this. From Jon Gordon’s “The Carpenter”:
I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity;
When I am surrounded by pessimism, I will choose optimism;
When I feel fear, I will choose faith;
When I want to hate, I will choose love;
When I want to be bitter, I will choose to get better;
When I experience a challenge, I will look for an opportunity to learn and grow;
When I experience a setback, I will be resilient;
When I meet failure, I will fail forward, toward future success;
With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always move forward toward my destiny;
I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me;
I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges;
I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it make everyone around me better;
So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on the world.
This is just one poodle’s perspective, I know, but as much as I don’t always understand you humans, I sure do love you. I wish this life was a little easier for you, but you do tend to complicate things with a lot of drama and emotion. As a poodle, I would never do such a thing! Ah, yes, we poodles also have a clear sense of self! I wish for you in the New Year, lots of love, many joys and more cookies. This is Nani WunderPoodle, heading for a snack, and a well-deserved nap.