Have you seen Lindsey Shelton's goofy-yet-effective nail clipping hack? The video, which has now been seen by over 15 million viewers worldwide, shows her wrapping her forehead in plastic, then smearing peanut butter across her brow to give her dog a delicious distraction while she trims his nails.
But there’s a lot more to Shelton than one viral video. Before she invented the grooming hack heard round the world, Shelton was working as an ICU nurse in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and spending her free time volunteering for animal shelters and rescues. Now, she has embarked on a new adventure, swapping her home in Tulsa for life on the road as a travel nurse.
Last month, she and her husband, a fellow nurse named Jared, sold their Tulsa home, moved into a 41-foot RV, and drove with their two dogs to Santa Maria, California, to help ease that community’s healthcare burden in the midst of the pandemic. “Travel nurses are just nurses who travel to the places that need the most help,” Shelton explains. “Basically, we go wherever we’re needed.”
That meant loading up her most precious possessions—“I had to get rid of like half my clothes,” she laughs—and traveling cross-country with her two dogs: Schmidt, the Australian Shepherd mix who stars in the video, and Murphy, a rescue whose breed is yet unknown. (Shelton’s best guess: an Irish Wolfhound mix.) The three-day journey from Tulsa to Santa Maria gave her plenty of time to bond with her furry family.
“They’re both really attached to Jared and me. The drive showed us how much they just love being around us,” she says. She expected Schmidt and Murphy to go a bit stir-crazy during their long days in the RV. Instead, the dogs seemed to soak in the extra attention and closeness with their parents. “They definitely just love their people,” Shelton says. “And we got to know them better, too.”
That extra-close bond contributed to Shelton’s nail-trimming lightbulb moment. She had noticed that Schmidt seemed to calm down when he was looking into her eyes.
“So, I thought if I could keep Schmidt’s attention on my face, he wouldn’t freak out. And I knew the peanut butter would keep his attention, but I didn’t want the peanut butter to get in my hair, so I grabbed the Saran Wrap and thought, This just might work.”
(Spoiler: it did.)
Give it a try with your dog! Just make sure your peanut butter doesn’t contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Since the clip blew up online, loads of people have reached out to Shelton, sharing their own experiences, from success stories to funny fails. This hack doesn’t work for every dog, she admits. Though Schmidt happily sat through his nail trim in peanut butter heaven, Murphy only lasted long enough for Shelton to cut one of his nails.
Hey, every dog is different. And in this era of social distancing, Shelton says, we’re all having to come up with our own unique tricks to keep our pets healthy and comfortable.
“You have to know your dog,” Shelton says. “A lot of comments I got from people were saying, ‘Your dog’s gonna bite you in the face!’ But Schmidt has never bitten me—never ever ever. I knew that he wasn’t going to bite me. If you know your dog, you know what they can handle and what little tricks will work for them.”