I think a lot of us wanted a dog just like Lassie when we were growing up. Not only was she smart and a protector of Timmy, but she had that beautiful long hair flowing as she ran. Would Lassie have been quite so popular had she been a Smooth Coated Collie -- the short-haired version of her breed?
Many people are attracted to long haired animals as pets. There's just something about luxurious locks on a rabbit, cat or dog that attracts us.
Unfortunately too many people don't think about how much care long hair requires on an animal -- despite the fact that people comment all the time about how much work their own long hair is, or how much easier it is to care for a shorter hair cut.
All too often HAWS gets in animals that have been neglected by their owners and need a haircut because the fur is extremely matted. Matted hair on an animal is unsanitary and painful. The more matted it is, the more it pinches or pulls at the skin as the animal moves.
The dog in the photo came in for surgery through HAWS low-cost Spay and Neuter Program. The owner loves this dog -- why else would she bother to have him neutered? But she was a bit uneducated as to his grooming requirements. Our staff was able to talk her into having him shaved and you can see the result -- it looks more like sheep wool after having been sheared rather than hair after a cut!
If you realize that you've neglected your pet's hair and have some matts your best bet is to take him to a groomer. Trying to get matts out is a delicate process that could result in the dog being cut if you do it wrong. A professional touch is needed to ensure your pet isn't hurt, but also ends up with an attractive new "do".