The season of costume drama

FURRY FASHION

The season of costume drama

So you got a new pair of sneakers these holidays. And probably a whole new wardrobe for the hot summer. If you’re a cricket fan, I’m sure you begged, bullied or bawled your head off till your poor Ma bought you a Royal Challengers’ jersey.

In the midst of all the IPL fun and the hectic programmes made during the LONG break from school, we tend to forget our pets. So here are some ideas of how to make life a bit better for that furry, four-legged member of your family.

Keep things cool

For starters, ensure that there’s always some water in your dog or cat’s bowl. The more fur your dog has, the more uncomfortable the poor thing will be, through the summer. Remember, those gorgeous Alsatians (or German Shepherds) have a coat that’s supposed to keep them warm in cold German winters. So they’re quite miserable during Indian summers.

Some simple ‘hairdressing’!

If your furry Pomeranian or Lhasa Apso (both mountain dogs with uncomfortably long hair for South Indian summers) are the friendly sort, consider giving them a hair cut…or rather a ‘fur cut’. The dog can be given a nice bone to gnaw away at, while you go snip, snip, snip! Give the dear pooch a ‘middle parting’ down its back, and that way you’ll be able to make sure that you cut evenly on both sides of the parting. Post ‘fur cut,’ your dog might not win the ‘Best in Class’ trophy at a dog show, but it will have a cooler summer. And by the time things start getting cold in Bangalore, its fur would have grown out.

Green screens

A lot of us live in flats. And often, when guests (especially the dog-hating type, or those who’re scared of canines) arrive, that lovable member of the family is banished to the balcony, and the door shut. Now balconies can get very hot in summer. And direct sunlight, especially on black dogs, can make them uncomfortable enough to begin wailing mournfully.

What you can do to make your poor dog’s punishment less harsh is to have some kind of screen. A chatai or chik that you can unroll to block the sun? Or if that’s too hard to manage (fixing it onto the roof edge of the balcony needs professional adult help), line up some bushy potted plants along the balcony railing. This will cut the glare of the sun, and also look pretty. Potted ficus plants are great for balconies.  They’re also much bushier than potted palms, and hence dogs can remain cool in their shade.

Doggie psychology

Most times, poor Bingo or Tiger is banished to the balcony or another room, when he needs to be punished. So he can never understand why you send him away when guests come, after all, he hasn’t done anything wrong….not as yet! So not only is Bingo hot and uncomfortable outside, his feelings are also hurt. If you know your visitors are going to be around for a long time, slip out every half an hour to check on Bingo. Pet him and talk to him in a loving way, so he doesn’t feel so bad.
 
A straight-from-the-heart gift

Just like kids like new things; dogs do, too! Here’s a quick gift you can make your cat or dog. It’s not so much a summer gift as something you can keep ready for when the damp monsoon arrives in a few weeks. This DIY idea works perfectly for slightly smaller dogs, like a Dachshund, Poodle, Pekinese or Pomeranian.

Get your Mum to give you one faded pillow cover. Fill it up loosely with poly-wool (available in any craft store). And sew up the open end of the pillow case. Then, much like with quilting, use running-stitch to go up and down the case, as shown, making a knot, every alternate stitch. This is to make sure that the padding of poly-wool remains uniform across the pillow case, and not bunched up in a lump, to one side. Toss your finished floor cushion on the ground and watch your dog curl up on it for a quiet nap.

The collar  make-over

The horrid part about good collars are that they’re quite expensive. I’ve found the stiff canvas ones that come in bright colours are great because they’re the easiest to wash and dry, and are not harmful to the dog’s skin. But these tend to fade. Within a few months, that bright red collar looks pale and unattractive. Well, if it’s a day that you want Bingo to look his best, go buy some bright satin ribbon — in emerald green, bright red or shocking pink. Wind it tightly around the collar, as shown, and secure the 2 loose ends by stitching the ends firmly onto the collar. With his ‘new’ collar, Bingo will look dashing enough to photograph, and MMS to all your friends!

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