Yes, Dear…
Hooch title typography
by Anjie Coates
Photo by Anjie Coates
Hooch in red box with red hat and hearts surrounding
I groom a stunning elder Cane Corso named Hooch. He’s a lovely boy, who delights in his spa days.
  • “OK, buddy, we have to get you on the table,” I say as I lead him over to the table where he hops up a whole seven inches to put his front feet on the table.
  • Hooch wags his tail and smiles, “I’m a good boy.”
  • “You are a very good boy—and big, and heavy—but good,” I tell him.
  • Illustration of woman trying to lift back end of dog with the word Hmmpf
  • I lift his back end onto the table and remind myself that this used to be so easy 30 years ago.
  • Hooch tilts his head at me quizzically, “Why you make grunty noises?”
  • “Because you are not light and I am old,” I answer matter-of-factly.
  • Hooch gives me a kiss in hopes it makes me happy.
  • “Thanks, buddy,” I say as I smile at him and pet his soft face.
  • “Can I go nap? I don’t snore very loudly,” Hooch adds with a yawn.
  • “I know exactly how loud you snore. I once thought someone left the dryer on and it was you snoring,” I say with a chuckle.
  • Illustration of woman brushing dog
  • “How can you possibly shed as much as you do? I should make a fur puppy out of this and send it home with your mom.” I say as I continue brushing out a yak’s worth of fur from his back.
  • “She’d just vacuum it. She does that,” Hooch replies.
  • “I have no doubt. I’m not surprised she wants you on a three-week schedule,” I say with a grin, knowing that he’s spot on for his 21-day shed cycle.
  • Hooch gives my eyeball a sidelong kiss as I brush out his massive bib: “You love me.”
  • I wipe my face and wonder if I now have drool in my hair and reply, “Yes, yes I do. You’re my sweet boy.”
  • Illustration of woman with dog
  • Hooch smiles at me and rests his head atop my head.
  • “Comfy?” I ask with a laugh as I finish brushing out his bib.
  • “Yes, very,” Hooch replies.
  • “OK, we have to do your nails and you’re off to the picture room,” I say.
  • Illustration of hand holding dog paw and file
  • I file the little that’s there on his front feet, then crawl under him to do his back feet as he sits on his rump and sticks his feet out under him.
  • Hooch wiggles about: “That tickles!”
  • “OK, all done,” I say as I unclip him from the table.
  • He then leaps from the door to get onto the platform, sending the props flying.

    Hooch sits and smiles, ready for his picture, “I’m ready!”

  • “Yeah, going to be a bit. I have to put everything back in place first,” I tell him.
  • I reset all the props and then look around for an appropriate-sized costume.

    “Oh, this would look good!” I exclaim.

  • I put the bandana on and then place the hat on his head, and tell him, “OK, you have to hold still though, it has no string to hold it on.”
  • Hooch focuses intently on the hat, and then on the treat above the camera: “OK, I can do this.”
  • Illustration of hands with hooch on phone
  • “What a good boy!” I say as I hand him his after-picture treat, take his hat off and kiss his soft head.
  • “I know,” Hooch replies. “So…how about an extra treat?”
  • “Yes, dear…” I utter as I grab another treat.