by Max Brantley
FLOWER POWER: LR dog groomer Angela Kumpe devised this poodle 'do for a 2009 show. She's in the news again.
I caught this reading the NY Times on my new Kindle as I traveled home yesterday, a feature about a national dog grooming competition.
Once they finished shaving the cats, the glamour event of the dog grooming show began.
Angela Kumpe had won the “creative challenge” event the past two years at Intergroom, one of the more prestigious competitions on the calendar. First, she clipped and colored a standard poodle into an ode to Elvis Presley — Elvis on one side, a guitar on the other. Last year, she turned a dog into a peacock. She is one of the best at canine topiary.
This year, Kumpe, a 34-year-old from Little Rock, Ark., spent more than six months turning a poodle into a buffalo. It probably would have won Sunday, beating the seahorse, the Lady Gaga and the Mad Hatter.
But Kumpe, who has become the groomer-to-beat at contests like this, changed her mind after her mother died Feb. 24. “She was my biggest fan in creative grooming,” Kumpe said.
So Kumpe turned a dog into a living memorial.
Kumpe started from scratch a week ago with a friend’s standard poodle that had not been clipped in nearly a year.
A woman’s body was sculptured onto one side of the dog, head turned away and hair tied in a bun. “It’s a grieving angel for my mom,” Kumpe said. Her mother, Linda Smead, was 66. Kumpe was dressed in white and wore white wings. Down the dog’s rear leg, and on most of its opposite side, were fragile-looking purple flowers and green leaves, part of the dog’s manicured coat and marked with exacting detail. They matched artificial flowers and greenery at the dog’s table.