Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cami in her PJs

This is the 2nd time Cami is fully stripped, the 1st time by a professional Cairn breeder from Australia, whom visited our home back in 2008. Which means, this is the first time I am doing a full strip for Cami. All the while, I have been using a stripping knife bought from the States to keep her hair groomed but my thumb always ended up with a sore spot after using it for a short while.

Finally, determined to give Cami a good strip, I had a friend of mine help order and hand carry a set of McClellan stripping knifes from the States. These knifes have rubber curve handles which allow your thumb to sit comfortably without giving you a blister. Perfect! :) My friend Viv was kind enough to help me shop around online for the lowest price and lo behold, she ended up buying the set from CPCRN (Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network), talk about coincidence.

Here are some photos of Cami prior to getting stripped. These were taken one fine afternoon after her bath. As you can see, she has a lot of hair and it made her look more like a yak than a Cairn.



Spot any similarities?

Anyhow, with my newly purchased McClellan knifes, I started working on Cami quickly, starting with her back and working my way to her side, legs, neck, followed by her tail. I decided to strip one side first so that I can show the difference before and after stripping. I forgot to record how long it took to complete the stripping process but it was roughly 1-1/2 to 2 hours before I was satisfied with the results.

Top half done

Right side done

Full body done. Check out the amount of hair removed

Cami's beautiful brindle undercoat

After a long day, I decided to wait and strip her head and face another day.

Head/face stripping completed

The end results; she looks like a pup again

It will take 2-3 months before her outer coat grows out again and it will be (hopefully) rough and healthy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Stripper

Ever wondered how it feels to be a stripper? It feels great to have a satisfied customer and all it takes are some skillful moves and the right tools. This is definitely hairy business but it is worth all the time and effort. Don’t let your thoughts run wild as I am referring to stripping the hair off most wire coat dogs, definitely a necessary grooming necessity for all Cairns.

Unlike other breeds, Cairns have hair which does not shed (at least not much). The hair will just grow and once it stops growing, it becomes ‘dead’ hair which remains on the skin follicles until it is removed manually. Until this dead hair is removed, new healthy hair will not grow in its place. As a result, the hair becomes soft and unable to keep water and dirt off efficiently. A Cairn with a healthy coat would seem like he’s wearing a rain coat all the time. He just needs to give himself a good shake to dry off almost instantaneously.

Ever since we got our Cairns, they have been given some basic stripping sessions with a stripping knife and a Mars Coat King. I’ve also used my fingers to strip the dogs manually which is more effective but takes a longer time. Let me go through the different methods:

1. Stripping Knife

I would recommend using a stripping knife if you’re thinking of doing some serious stripping business. This is because it is the fastest method with the best results, especially for large areas. First, you need to hold the knife like how you would hold a regular kitchen knife. Then, grip some of the longer hair between your thumb and the knife. Hold your Cairn’s body around the area you are gripping with your other hand to steady him. Finally, gently pull out the dead hair with one quick stroke in the direction of his hair growth. Your dog should not be yelping in pain but may just feel a slight discomfort if he is not used to the process. Do start from the top portion of his body and work your way to his neck, legs, underbody, and finally his head. Further instructions are available here:

2. Fingers

This method works very well for me when I strip Cami’s face especially around her ears and neck area. Just grip the hair between your thumb and index finger and pull. I find that pulling quickly and switching sides tend to keep Cami from getting too agitated. When you use your fingers, you can actually feel how easily the hair is coming off and hence know whether you are pulling dead or healthy hair.

3. MCK

I found out about the Mars Coat King through the cairn forum. It is a stripping tool made from Germany which strips but also slightly cuts the coat quite quickly. It is easy to use as you just need to use it like a brush and it practically removes a lot of dead undercoat. However, be careful not to overuse this or your Cairn will end up bald! I normally use the MCK when I want to give our Cairns a quick makeover and keep their hair tidy.

It is recommended to fully strip a Cairn down to its undercoat twice a year to promote new hair growth. So far both Axle and Cami have been fully stripped once in their lifetime. It definitely takes time and patience to see the end results but it is a funny sight once they are stripped down to their PJs. You may be surprised to find the bright and colorful undercoat your Cairn has been wearing. So if you have the time and is looking for a challenge, do consider stripping…

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Darn Ichigo!

Have I not promised to keep the blog more up to date now that it's a brand new year and it calls for a fresh start to better and more frequent posts? 'Gomennasai' to all my avid readers (ahem, as if) but we've been too caught up watching BLEACH! Due to the numerous fights Kurosaki Ichigo and his companions keep getting caught in, it is tough to get unglued from the TV considering that over 200 episodes are already in my hands and this series is still running. Hence, please stay tune for more posts on CNY 2010 and Cairn happenings...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

As I looked back at my blog I was shocked when I saw that my last post was in February last year! It is now the year 2010 (a beautiful number by the way) and it seems like my blog needs to be rejuvenated with new and more frequent entries to keep up with the minimal blogging standards. OK, I will try my best but I blame last year's poor performance to the 'shooting photos in RAW' strategy whereby post processing of the photos are required to tune the light, color, tint, and so on. To keep it fair for year 2009, I dedicate this post to a snapshot of what are thought to be the highlights of the year. Although there were less doggie events in the Klang Valley area, Cami was still able to compete in other states i.e. Penang & Johor, thanks to her very competent handler imported from KL.

1. January: Our new addition to the family

2. February: There is always time for a Bully Stick

3. February: CNY, the most festive time of the year (at least in my books)

4. March: Winnings at PetnYou Agility Trials @Kulai, Johor

5. To be loved by our new family member

5. May: Winnings at PAA Agility Trials @Penang

6. June: Fun & Games in the garden

7. June: Puppycom Agility Trials @KL

8. June: The premier of Transformer 2, Revenge of the Fallen and along with it came many transformer toys...

9. July: Fun at PetnYou MidValley OB & Agility Trials

10. August: Dogathon 2009

11. Sept: Another PAA Agility trials

12. October: Birthday celebration for the 1-year old

13. October: Shortest Peacewalk ever with Waggie Tails & PetnYou against animal violence

14. November: Yet another PAA Aglity trials (kudos to them for organizing so many trials in a year)

15. December: Red Tomato fair makes its tribute. Cami won fastest rat (treat) smeller title (*--* that little stinker)

16. December: The 3 mouseketeers remain buddies

Last but not least, we would like to pay tribute to our Cairn buddy at Penang whom ate poison while playing at the beach in December, may he rest in peace. So everyone, please be careful and not let your dog pick up unknown stuff from the ground.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Prior to Christmas 08, we had a visitor stay over for a weekend while his owners were away having fun in Singapore. This visitor was none other than Groovy, the hyper JRT with endless energy and incredibly long-lasting stamina! It was his 2nd sleepover with us so he is no stranger to our home and is good friends with Axle and Cami.

Compared to his usual active lifestyle, it was definitely a change of pace for Groovy. Needless to say, there were no exciting outings to pubs and restaurants but more resort like with plenty of R&R. The Cairn resort is a place to relax and rejuvenate with plenty of sleep, good eats, and scheduled playtime.

One good thing about our Cairns is that they are not picky eaters (except after Cami’s heat then we need to keep switching kibbles on her and add in dollops of wet food to get her to eat). Hence, it’s each dog to him/herself when it comes to food. Groovy, whom is normally a light weight when it comes to eating, tends to have a better appetite whenever he checks into the Cairn resort. Could it be that his food somehow tastes better here or that he fears the circling Cairn vultures?

Where's the food???

The (3) doggieteers begging for their dinner


Cami: Are you done yet?

Axle & Cami checking to make sure there is no food wasted in view of the slumping economy

Cami: You need to lick up everything. Let me show you how it's done...

Did I already mention that sleeping is the way of life in the Cairn resort? It sure didn’t take long for Groovy to get accustomed to the resort culture.

Groovy: Somehow the resort pillow is more comfortable...

Snoozing under the teak bench

And of course, what is a dog’s life without playtime…fortunately, our garden now has grass suitable for running, unlike Groovy’s first visit when our garden was overgrown with weed.

Frisbee maniacs


Groovy: So far so good...I think I will be back for more Cairn company. I even had time to take some handsome self portraits...