Having already spent the vast majority of RocketNews24‘s budget on trips to Turkey and Portugal or stuffing our faces with vats of curry, we felt it was time to cut back on the spending a little. We know that our star reporter Mr. Sato loves to look good and is constantly changing his hairstyle to keep up with trends, though, so we were concerned that tightening the purse strings would crush his spirit entirely. It was quite the conundrum.
Then it struck us: what if it were possible to take our style-conscious investigator somewhere a little cheaper to get him tidied up every so often? What if one of Tokyo’s own dog grooming salons would consent to giving him a quick shampoo and trim? One slightly confused but ultimately successful phone call later we had Mr. Sato on a leash and were heading out the door.
With space at a premium and many landlords operating strict “no pets” policies in their property, it’s often the case that Tokyo’s pet owners either own their home or are able to spend a little more on a place that permits animals. The pets, too, don’t come cheap, so it’s only natural that their owners spend exorbitant amounts of money keeping them looking their best, taking them to grooming salons and “pet hotels” on a regular basis, some of which even come to your home to collect your pet, returning them a couple of hours later fluffy and smelling like roses.
Thankfully, a nearby salon was more than happy to take our man in and spruce him up a bit. Writer Yoshio went along with Mr. Sato to document the entire visit.
- The first hurdle
“Give him a trim and thin his hair out a little,” Yoshio told the staff, ruffling Sato’s thick ginger locks. The staff — friends of RocketNews24 who weren’t especially surprised when we approached them with the strange request — assured us that it would be no problem. No sooner had they said so, however, than we ran into a minor issue. The plastic capes that the pet salon usually slips onto animals while trimming their head and neck hair were all far too small for our human reporter. After a great deal of searching and head scratching, there was nothing for it but to cut a hole in trash bag and slip it over his head.
Thankfully, Mr. Sato didn’t seem to mind, and he looked good, too.
Kitted up, we were ready to wash our best boy’s barnet. Since he was too big to fit in the dog bath, we stood him to one side and shoved his head in. Reporter Yoshio later remarked on how good the shampoo had smelt, and how it was “very close to regular, human shampoo.” The only difference being that, as Mr. Sato will no doubt have noticed with his nose in it, the dog bath did have more than a faint whiff of pooch to it…
With his locks thoroughly shampooed and rinsed clean, it was time to dry him off. The industrial-sized dryer the salon uses quite took our duo’s breath away; thanks to the dryer’s large, open mouth the entire process was over in the blink of an eye. Surely we could get a couple of these on the market for human use somewhere along the line? Mr. Sato seemed to really enjoy this part of the treatment, but then as we all know, having a girl tousle your hair always feels wonderful.
- Same tools, different technique
One thing we did notice about the dog grooming process is that, although the groomers utilize many of the same tools, they’re often used quite differently. Unlike at a regular — human — hair salon where the stylist cuts along the edge of a comb, dog groomers go straight in with their scissors, only combing to straighten up the pup’s fur and comb it back into place.
- The final touches
Following our instructions to the letter, the attentive dog groomer finished thinning out Mr. Sato’s mane before reaching for the clippers and tidying up his shorter hairs. With that, we once again slipped the plastic bag over Mr. Sato’s head and himself off; job done! And, would you believe it, our man actually looked pretty good! Of course, this being a genuine dog grooming salon, we felt it only fair to give Mr. Sato the same treatment that every regular pooch would receive. Our kind groomer led him over to a spotlessly clean cage and gave him a gentle shove from behind. And there he waited until Yoshio decided he was ready to take him home.
Mission successful and lesson learned: dog grooming salons really are a viable alternative to expensive barber shops and hair salons! We’ll leave you now with our full photo album, detailing the events of the day. It really was a fun afternoon, and Mr. Sato didn’t growl or bite even once.
▼Inside the salon. That’s a lot of equipment!
▼”Perhaps this trash bag will do?”
▼ “Yeah, that’ll probably work…”
▼Wash ‘n’ dry time
▼ Thin his coat out a little, would you?
▼ Looking good, sir!
▼ Now get in the cage.
▼ We were even able to add Mr. Sato to the wall of fame!
▼ Mission success!
[ Read in Japanese ]