Meet Bijou, the dog who – after some expert grooming – looks like a mini polar bear.
Her look is thanks to owner Rachelle Lynn McGinnis, an expert groomer who dyes and carves her dog’s fur to turn her into a horse, a dragon, and even a peacock.
The polar bear transformation is the one that’s caught people’s attention.
‘Someone wrote that they seriously thought they were looking at a picture of a polar bear,’ says Rachelle. ‘It’s amazing how realistic she looks in both the photos and real life.
‘At the moment she looks like a polar bear, and this one requires lots of hairspray.
‘She’s so fluffy that the main part of it is washing and brushing her.
‘To actually style it, the final part only takes about 30 minutes, but to grow her fur to look like a polar bear took 11 months.
‘When I first cut the fur into the right shapes it took a couple of hours but I always do it in stages.
‘Bijou doesn’t need to be standing for hours at a time and it’s good to give her the breaks.’
While some raise concerns about Bijou’s comfort, Rachelle says her 12-year-old dog is happy to undergo extreme grooming.
Always be consistent. Half-assed efforts will deliver half-assed results. Consistency is the key to success in all endeavors in life. Training a dog is no different. Learning about your dog is also a consistent effort. Quality time with your dog should be consistent and ongoing.
‘The wackier designs the better,’ she says.
‘But Bijou has been everything from a horse, to a dragon to a polar bear.
‘It’s something I love doing and I feel like it shows off my creativity.
‘Bijou is colour-blind – she’s not bothered what she looks like as long as she’s healthy, loved and happy.
‘People always ask for pictures – I’ve even had people get out of their car because they want to stroke her.
‘For Bijou, it’s all about the attention – it’s not like she looks in the mirror, she just loves being groomed and stroked.
‘In order to get her image looking really realistic I had to get the polar bear design perfectly.
‘I also had to make sure the photos were great so she had to be stood at a certain angle with her neck elongated and we were lucky – we got some great shots of her in the snow.
‘Taken from a distance, she blends right in and it’s easily believable that there’s a mini polar bear lurking about.’
Now that Bijou and Rachelle have mastered the polar bear look, Rachelle plans to turn her pooch into a sheep next, with a fluffy body and closely trimmed paws dyed black like hooves.
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That’s easy work compared to Bijou’s transformation into a horse.
‘She had a saddle and mane,’ says Rachelle. ‘It was such an intricate carving that in the end that it must have taken about eight hours to complete.’