Winston’s first part of his life was spent locked in a crate with another Staffy, followed by two years at a rescue centre. It’s safe to say, this would have been his first ever groom – and there’s no-one we would have trusted more than Hounds, in Newcastle, to do it.
Winston is a white American Bulldog, and his coat has constantly shed since he was adopted by my brother in October. Black jeans are a no go around this lad, you’ll be covered head to toe in minutes! We think he adapted to living in kennels with a thicker coat, but as soon as he moved into a warm cosy home, his fur has non-stop moulted since. Also, being white means he gets visibly dirty pretty quickly, with grass stains from chasing Phoebe in the garden, and ketchup stains where he’s pinched food he shouldn’t have!
For his first visit to Hounds, we booked him in for a pamper and some spa treatments at one of the later appointments so there would be fewer dogs in the salon. As a rescue, we are still learning about Winston’s behaviour, so didn’t want to overwhelm him with too much. The groomers at Hounds listened actively to our description of Winston’s personality and behaviours, and reassured us he’d be absolutely fine, and that his appointment would be a pretty quick one to just introduce him to everything. As owners of bull breeds, we are hyperaware of their reputation, so when handing them over to – to them – a total stranger, the panic is real because they need to be on their absolute best behaviour to show just how wonderful the breed can be.
We put Winston into the very good hands of salon and dog shop owner, Anya, and went to find somewhere nearby to grab a drink in Newcastle town centre.
Winston’s pamper package was a bath, dry, nail clip and pawfume, and I added on some of the adorable spa treatments, including a banana facial, ear clean, tear stain treatment and paw balm. Anya said he walked straight into the bath – whereas that would be a battle in itself at home – and all he wanted to do was sit down whilst he was shampooed! I know that feeling, there’s nothing better than that head massage at the hairdressers, right?
Hounds use the Hownd Banana Facial and Natural Tear Stain treatment, which is available to buy to use at home too. It’s a gorgeous 2-in-1 face scrub that helps remove dirt and discolourations. With a white dog, this is ideal to prevent his fur looking dull or yellowed. It’s scented with essential oils, is suitable for all breeds over 12 weeks old, and can be used daily!
Winston’s ears can get quite mucky – Frank has the same issue – so it was great that the lovely ladies at Hounds could take care of that for us, too! He was as good as gold with the dryer, which the girls kept on a low setting so as not to spook him. He even got himself onto the table with no assistance from the groomers! Winston let the ladies trim his nails and apply some paw balm. If you’d like to keep up with paw balm at home, Hounds also stock two different brands – one from Dorwest, and another from Be:Loved.
Winston was in and out within half an hour looking and smelling gorgeous! Hounds spritzed him with the Houndsly Black Cherry pawfume, which we have a bottle of at home ourselves because we love it so much. His fur was so soft and absolutely sparkling – it was like the sun was bouncing off him on the way back to the car. His tear stains were significantly reduced, his ears clean, and his nose – which was very stained – was so much better! Winston is an incredibly good boy at home, but even exceeded my expectations in a brand new, unusual setting without his owner. It was such a positive first experience for him, and he’ll certainly be back for regular pampers in the future!