Pup gets 'pickled'
By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on April 23, 2012 1:46 PM
Sonny the poodle stands stoically Monday at Shear Grooming Magic as Charlene Lognion, right, and Brandi Mayott dye the fur on his ear yellow. The 60-pound poodle is being dyed blue, black, yellow and green to make him look like Ollie Q. Cumber in honor of the North Carolina Pickle Festival. The pair is planning to to walk around the festival with Sonny this weekend and ask for $1 donations to get a picture taken with the dog. All the proceeds will then go to the Wayne County Humane Society.
The happy-go-lucky poodle gives Mrs. Mayott a nuzzle as he prepares for his debut as Ollie Q. Cumber. He will likely be available for adoption after the N.C. Pickle Festival.
MOUNT OLIVE -- Ollie Q. Cumber, the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. mascot, will not be the only pickle character trekking around the North Carolina Pickle Festival this weekend.
Sonny, a 3-year-old poodle, will be sporting a pickle look of his own.
Charlene Lognion, owner of Shear Magic Grooming, and pet stylist Brandi Mayott, are using a little grooming magic -- and more than a little temporary dye -- to turn the 60-pound canine into a spitting image of the famous cucumber.
And it all began with a trip to the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. gift shop.
Ms. Lognion said she went to the shop to buy some decorations for the tree standing in the front of her grooming business -- as she does every year -- and ended up coming back with a miniature stuffed Ollie.
The stuffed toy was the only inspiration Mrs. Mayott needed to try out some new creative grooming techniques.
And Sonny, the pooch with the big personality, seemed like the perfect candidate for the job.
"He's very sweet," Ms. Lognion said. "He's like a big baby. He's always happy."
Mrs. Mayott decided to practice grooming techniques after the two attended the Atlanta Pet Fair grooming competition in March, and they are now putting what they learned to the test.
"I fell in love with it, and I was like 'I want to compete,'" Ms. Mayott said.
Plus, being new to the town of Mount Olive after relocating with her husband in August, she wanted to get involved in the community.
"I've always been a community person, so when I heard about the festival, I was like, 'I have to get involved,'" Mrs. Mayott said.
The two began Sonny's transformation early last week.
"We're in the process of cutting his body into the shape of a pickle," Ms. Lognion said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, they moved on to the dying process. They worked with one color at a time, starting with the base colors first and then stenciling the detail with chalk.
"The chalking is what we really haven't done too much of," Mrs. Mayott said. "We're kind of trial and error-ing it."
In case the chalking does not work as they hope, they have some temporary spray dyes on hand for backup.
"They don't really have too many classes on how to make a dog look like a pickle," Mrs. Mayott said.
When Sonny is all made up, his legs will be black, body will be green and head and ears will be yellow for the cap.
And where will the pickle stem go? It will come out of his tail.
The only real problem, they say, will be creating the sneakers, since the fur on Sonny's paws is not quite long enough.
"We're getting there," Ms. Lognion said. "He looks like a big hot dog to me now."
The groomers might even attempt to put designs on Sonny's side -- one for the festival and one for Shear Magic Grooming, making him a walking billboard.
Once the two women are finished creating their masterpiece, they will show Sonny off at the pickle festival, walking him through the crowd and stopping by the Mt. Olive Pickle booth, starting about noon.
They might even use the opportunity to raise money for the Wayne County Humane Society, by charging a small amount of money to take a picture with Sonny.
"If we can get him to look like that new pickle, Ollie, I'll be happy," Ms. Lognion said.
If Sonny's new look proves to be a hit at the festival, the two will take him on the road in August to the Creative Grooming Competition in Hershey, Pa., where some of the dogs are groomed to resemble other animals such as lions and bears, Ms. Lognion said.
As part of the competition, they would also come up with a skit incorporating Mt. Olive Pickles.
Ms. Lognion already has a few competitions under her belt for grooming, but Mrs. Mayott is new to the game. Mrs. Mayott has been taking Sonny home with her to work on him, and he has been getting along well with her rottweiler and pit bull mix, Riker.
After all is said and done, Ms. Lognion said she might be looking for a new home for Sonny so he can get more undivided attention than she is able to give him.
The animal lover already has nine dogs, two cats and two birds in her home.
Sonny's new owner would get a "not shy" dog with plenty of love to give, she said.
There will be only one drawback, she added, with a smile.
"He might be a little green when someone gets him," Ms. Lognion said.