There is a certain economy with cats that you do not find with dogs. Cats lick and clean and lick and clean and learn to use a litter box with very little instruction. They deposit headless gifts at the doorstep and do cough up the occasional hairball, but all in all they are quite self-sufficient.
Dogs, however, cannot bathe themselves and so require the back-breaking efforts of their masters (Read that: me.) who refuse to spend fifty plus bucks for the professionals to do it. I have to wonder what our collie would actually look like in the wild. I suppose he would eventually possess collie dreadlocks and have ratted hair domiciles for ride-along creatures, both plant and animal. But since our domesticated canine lives inside with us, is loved as the fifth son, has neighborhood appearances to keep up, and stinks, I must do his bathing for him. Today was that day.
As a preamble to the bath, I took JD for a run (Read that: I bike and he trots.). This is a new venture for me. Kelly has been exercising him like this ever since his latest leg problems have made park romps difficult. This was my third time out, and I was gaining confidence. That is until JD jerked me to a stop—a stop that almost left me splayed in the street. Apparently, when the urge to poop hits him, he just stops. My stopping was not as efficient.
After his exercise, he was too tired to resist my man-handling efforts to drag him into the tub, Typically, I must back him into the bathroom (as if he doesn’t know what is coming), lift the back legs in first, and then body slam him in, keeping one foot of mine in the tub and the other out. So I have stumbled on the new method of “exhaustion,” which I will henceforth call superior planning.
After soaking his long hair and exposing the skinny form that he really is, I proceeded to shampoo him with his Paul Mitchell pet product. Only the best! Layers and layers of coat are lifted and scrubbed and rinsed and rinsed again. Meanwhile, my back burns and reconsiders the fifty bucks. I have tried to sit on the toilet lid to get a rest, but the idiot who designed these new mini-flush toilets was brilliant enough to be environmentally conscious but too stupid to make a lid that does not collapse when the dog washer needs to sit.
Having done the dirty deed—or clean deed, I suppose—I proceed to the drying part. This is no easy feat since JD knows the torture is almost over, and he becomes an expert scrambler, even with the towel covering his eyes. Several times over with the towel and several shaking showers later, he is not approximating dry, but at least he is not dripping. My walls are dripping a bit, though, since I have never convinced him to wait for his shake till he is safely outdoors.
It has been a tiring dog day, and said dog is now sleeping peacefully on the cashmere Mongolian rug, allowing his wet dog smell to settle into it nicely. I, in the meantime, am putting off doing my class corrections and am dreading the combing out which comes next. Every brushing produces a miniature dog in fluff, and still there is more hair. And then comes the vacuuming.
Okay, I’ve stalled enough: On to work!