Friday, August 7, 2009

Bathing the dogs

I know it probably sounds ridiculous but bathing my two dogs is an all day event. I just finished the process and it is almost 5pm. This exhaustive feat normally begins with me having to lure them to the bathroom by shaking the treat box repeatedly and calling their names excitedly like there is something thrilling going on there. Usually they spot the shampoo and towels before I can close the door and immediately run the other direction. Gracie will literally sprint out the doggie door to the farthest end of our yard to hide when she knows it's bath time. This is especially funny coming from a dog that I used to repeatedly have to pull out of the shower as a puppy anytime Derek got in. I cannot count the times I heard Derek yelling out my name for help from the shower only to find a sopping wet, tail wagging Gracie standing next to him in the shower. Now she hides. I'm not really sure what happened.

Once I finally round them up into the bathroom Bear is usually my first victim. I put him in the tub and the shaking begins. Not the normal dog shaking the water off its coat shaking. I'm talking the vibrating, like he's freezing cold, teeth chattering shaking. Today he actually let out a noise he was shaking so hard that sounded like a mixture of a whine, a howl, and a burp. Now I have tried everything to make bathing less traumatizing for him and nothing works. I've put Gracie in the tub with him so he has company (that just makes the situation worse as I then have two dogs to block from jumping out and from licking the shampoo off themselves and each other). I've tried bringing him in the shower with me (which just makes my back hurt from having to lean over and there is no less shaking). I've tried feeding him treats while he's in the tub (he just spits them out and looks at me like I'm trying to kill him). You know the cat from Shrek (I think his name is Boots) with the big sad droopy eyes? That's the look I get.

Now the fact that Bear's weight is pretty much made up of mostly hair he not only shrinks into what looks like a drowned rat but he also retains water in each paw like he has secret compartments. I am constantly on the look out for flying paws trying to escape the tub that carry with them a full 2 cups of water each. Basically if I don't stop them before they get to eye level, I look as though I've just taken a shower. Once I am finally finished with him, it's the big dogs turn.

Gracie and her full 40 pounds will not get in the tub by herself anymore no matter how many treats I throw in there. Every time I have to pick her up (where she begins flailing her legs like she is swimming already) and deposit her in the tub. She does better throughout the bath than Bear, but it is a constant fight to keep her from licking up all the shampoo off her legs. Once the bathing part is done the drying and grooming part begins. Since Gracie gets skin infections so easily she has to be completely blown dry with my hair dryer. She's very good about it but the trimming of her hair she is not a fan of. Bear starts his usual shaking routine as soon as the dryer is turned on him and if I get it close to his head he literally jumps straight up into the air like a cat and tears out of the room. Today I tried trimming his paw with Derek's hair buzzer instead of scissors, thinking it would go faster and lessen the struggle. Not so much. You'd think I was electrocuting him. Trying to buzz the hair off Bear's feet with the trimmer was pretty much like playing a game of cat and mouse. Bear would pull his foot out of my grip and try to run, I would grab a hold of another leg and pull him back towards me across the hardwood floor and repeat.

Finally, hours later, both dogs are clean, dried, trimmed, and all three of us are sufficiently exhausted. I'm saving the nail filing for tomorrow...

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