Ithaca, N.Y. — In May of 2015, Nicole Beckman had a vision: To use her creative talents and dog grooming skills to create something not many have thought of.
Beckman, a dog groomer at Kathryn’s Grooming Spa in Lansing, decided to use these skills and transform her newly adopted dog, Ira, into a dragon using a combination of non-toxic, dog friendly dyes and grooming materials.
Beckman was able to groom Ira, a six-year-old standard poodle, into what appears to be a dog-dragon hybrid, complete with purple wings, multicolored “scales”, and red spikes lining the poodle’s back.
Beckman says that she started grooming Ira to express her creativity and because she wanted to see what she was capable of as a dog groomer. She also loved seeing the joy that Ira brought people when they saw him as a dragon.
“I like to groom Ira the way I do to put a smile on people’s faces,” she said. “I can just tell with so many people that seeing him has made their day.”
Ira is indeed a very unique dog. He is Beckman’s third canine and the only one with long hair, making him perfect for Beckman to groom into a mystical being.
Each grooming session takes about two to three hours, and the dye sessions take four to six. Ira is re-groomed and dyed every four months, but aside from that, is always in dragon form.
According to Beckman, Ira loves to be groomed and is very happy to be a ‘dragon’.
“He is very, very happy,” she said of Ira. “Any sort of attention, for him, is good attention.”
In addition to be groomed to look like a dragon, Ira enjoys going for walks, hikes, and also loves regular trips to the dog park.
Recently, Beckman and Ira competed at the New England Grooming Show and won Best Novice Groomer in the Creative Grooming competition. Beckman says that initially, the ultimate goal was to enter Ira in competitions, although she does enjoy grooming him as a creative outlet.
Ira’s colorful coat gets him more than just medals at competitions, as he is a welcome sight to many people and is allowed to go places where other dogs generally are not. His uniqueness and friendly personality allows him to go to many festivals and dog-friendly bars.
Beckman made it clear that as much as she enjoys grooming Ira, everything that she uses is safe for the dog and is also enjoyable.
“If he were shy and didn’t like the attention, I wouldn’t groom him the way I do,” said Beckman, also stating that Ira is a very pleasant, outgoing dog who truly enjoys his dragon status.