Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Poodle doodles: Dogs are transformed into pandas, horses and even snails in a barking mad grooming craze

They may resemble pandas, buffalos and camels - but these animals are actually poodles, all competing for the title of top dog at 'creative grooming' shows across the U.S.
Something of a canine fancy dress contest, it takes just two hours for owners to transform their pets, which are sheared and coloured to achieve each look.
The incredible transformations were captured by photographer Ren Netherland, who travels thousands of miles each year to attend each competition.

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Some of the most imaginative ideas have included a snail, an American football player and even Pirates of the Caribbean character Jack Sparrow.
Mr Netherland, 48, said: 'When these dogs come into the arena for a show or a competition you have absolutely no idea what they are going to be turned into.
'The groomers do colour them before they arrive but basically all you see at first is an extremely fluffy poodle that has weird coloured patterns on it.
Flower girl: Cindy, this time as a psychedelic snail. 'The transformation they go through is simply spectacular,' says photographer Ren Netherland

Paws for thought: A poodle is transformed into a very convincing panda for a creative grooming show in Pennsylvania
'The transformation they go through is simply spectacular. There's no other word for it. It's amazing what they can do in so little time.'
But it is not just the owners who enjoy the grooming shows.
'The dogs seem to love the whole experience,' added Mr Netherland. 'One of the reasons I love my job is because I love animals so much. I much prefer working with them than people.
'By the time the dogs get to me after they have been through the tournament they are bounding around and very happy.
'I think all the attention that gets bestowed upon them through the whole process must be nice for them.'

Top dog: Pirates of the Caribbean character Captain Jack Sparrow was the inspiration for poodle owner Missy Gullett

Horse play: The transformation of a poodle into a pony was one of Ren Netherland's favourites. 'You had no clue whatsoever what they were planning,' he said
Mr Netherland, who has been touring the U.S. for 10 years, is the only professional photographer allowed to capture images of the winning poodles on behalf of show organisers.
He said: 'I love my job. I get a really big kick out of it. Watching the owners turn these balls of hair into something so intricate and detailed really does baffle anyone watching.
'The one that shocked me the most was the horse. The way it looked when it arrived at the show you had no clue whatsoever what they were planning.

Team player: This dog was transformed unto an American football player by shearing its coat into a jacket and furry helmet

Hair of the dog: Virtually unrecognisable as a poodle, this very convincing buffalo disguise is uncanny
'When they finished I was blown away.'  The artistic owners - almost entirely women - colour their beloved dogs with powdered paint sprayed on using blow pens which is non-permanent.
Mr Netherland thinks the last thing owners are after is money.
'I think these girls must just love the artistry that's involved,' he said.
'In creative grooming shows the maximum prize is about $1000 (£611) so you couldn't earn a living from it.

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