My Rastafarian Doggy

I’m dreading this tale … I mean tail

Roshana Ariel
3 min readSep 24, 2020


Booda, my Rasta dog, on his morning walk. Photo by author.

My cockapoo, Booda, has a kinky tail to tell. 😎 Like most cocker spaniels and mixes, Booda’s tail was “docked,” or cut back to about 2 inches in length, when he was just a few days old.

According to the American Spaniel Club, cocker spaniels are hunting dogs and have been for more than 100 years.

“The characteristic incessant, merry action of the tail while working in thick, dense cover, which is sometimes deeper than the dog is tall, absolutely necessitates docking to prevent injury,” an ASC paper explains.

The practices are “integral to defining and preserving breed character” in certain breeds, the American Kennel Club says. But in some countries, tail docking, or bobbing, and ear cropping are thought of as unnecessary and cruel, and thus illegal. In the United States, these practices are unregulated and thus can continue as desired by breeders.

The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes these surgeries. Cropping and docking are done to maintain a specific look, in most cases, and looks alone are not relevant to dog health or thriving.

Anyway, little Booda had his tail chopped off when he was a little puppy, and I bought the little muffin 12 years ago.

It’s a home job

I’ve never been big on spending money unnecessarily. So, usually, when Booda needs a haircut, I do it myself. At one point, I bought all the necessary accouterments to make grooming easy for me — clippers, super-sharp scissors, a grooming table and various accessories.

I soon learned that Booda didn’t have the kind of fur that lends itself easily to motorized clipping. Too thick, too curly, too much. Eventually, I started just cutting his hair by hand with scissors.

Every month or so, I begin the clipping process, pulling the curls out about an inch and snipping. It takes hours.

It’s relaxing for me, generally boring for him. It takes about a week of daily sessions before it’s fairly even from nose to tail, and then in about four weeks, we start all over again.

It’s bonding time. I speak to him soothingly: “Such a good doggy. So handsome. Look at that good boy.”…



Roshana Ariel

I write about how to live life well even when it’s crazy or difficult. I’ve had lots of practice! As an editor, I love to rewrite my life to make it beautiful.