NaBloPoMo # 29: When Bathing a Dog…

Who bathes who when one is bathing a dog? Between wetting and sudsing and rinsing there is the wrangling.

Bijou does not like baths. She doesn’t like being dirty either. But she loathes bathtime. And, I’ve been putting it off much longer than I probably should have because it’s no fun task for me either.

First, I have to trick her into going anywhere near the bathroom. This usually works by opening the bedroom door, getting her to jump up on the end of the bed and then scooping her up quickly before she realizes she’s actually headed to the bathroom.

Once in the confines of the bathroom which is smaller than a jail cell, the trick then becomes carefully placing the overwhelmed ball of fur into the bathtub. Now, this wouldn’t seem like such a chore. But once the dog is in the bathtub, you have to turn the water on, open the soap and get the actual bathing process started…all while the ball of fur is looking for an escape route.

One would think that you could turn the water on and open the bottle of soap prior to placing the dog in the bathtub. Yes, I too was once that naive. This allows one of two scenarios to play out.

1. The dog now has time to elicit an escape plan. Or so she thinks. She runs to the other end of the tub, and pulls down the shower curtain in an attempt to escape the watery tub of torture. And, oh, did I mention that my bathroom is the size of a closet? This means that in the process of pulling down the shower curtain, the dog has managed to dislodge the shower curtain rod, which falls from its safe location above the tub onto my head. Now, imagine if you will, I am in the process of stepping into the tub to grab the dog when the curtain rod strikes the top of my noggin. In just that brief moment where I stop to think “What the?” the dog has managed to mummify me in the shower curtain. Unable to go anywhere, I now fall into the tub, taking out the open bottle of shampoo and submerging myself in the stream of water from the showerhead. The dog manages to headbut the door and escape.

2. The dog doesn’t even make it to the tub. I reach in to turn on the water, making sure it is a good temperature for her. I don’t want to have it too hot to burn her, or too cold to chill her. So I keep her in the bathroom with me, but haven’t placed her in the tub yet. She is standing as far away from me as she can in the little room which is my bathroom. And, she gets the brilliant idea of crouching down and crawling into the itty bitty space between the bathroom wall and the toilet…where I am unable to successfully reach her to pull her out. I poke her with the plunger. I gently pull her tail. All of my efforts are in vain. She retreats back further into the small corner which I didn’t even realize she could fit into. Finally giving up after 15 minutes or more of trying to coax the dog from her last bit of hope, I throw my hands in the air and walk out.

Don’t believe me? You haven’t met Bijou.

But, I have learned the ways of the furball! So tonight, after putting off bathing the dog for longer than I probably should have, I decided that tonight was the night that Bijou would get a bath. I coaxed her upstairs under the impression that we were going to the bedroom. She loves the bedroom. It is her oasis away from the cats. I don’t know whether the cats bully her or simply annoy her, but she doesn’t particularly care for them. But, that’s a tale for another day.

So, I get the dog upstairs. She happily jumps up onto the bed and wags her little tail. As I reach for her collar, she knows something is up and goes for her standard pose when she is threatened…she rolls onto her back with her paws tucked up under her chin with the cutest expression ever. Maybe she thinks I will be distracted the uber cuteness? Maybe she thinks I will take pity on her? Whatever her rationale? She’s wrong.

I tug on her collar. She doesn’t budge. So I reach over and pick her up. Having the knowledge from previous bathing experiences, I know that I need to move quickly. She is already beginning to show signs of protestation by kicking and clawing, trying fervently to break free from my arms.

In one seemingly fluid motion I am able to place the dog into the tub and turn the water on, pull the extending shower head down to doggy level and start to wet the dog down. Once she is wet, Bijou will normally give into the bathing process. She isn’t happy about it, but hasn’t tried to escape once she is a sopping wet mess. (Let’s hope she doesn’t read this and get any ideas for next time.)

While keeping the water on the dog, I reach around behind me to grab the doggy shampoo out of the cabinet behind me. But, it’s not there. I actually turn my head around to look, without removing the stream of water from the dog, in fear that she will think bathtime is already over. I turn back to make sure she’s not planning on escaping and then turn back to the cabinet. And back and forth I look for a few successions, before I realize that I had apparently not replaced the bottle of doggy shampoo tragically lost in battle during the last bathing attempt.

Now, the dog is already wet and miserable. I can’t stop the bathing process. So I take a look around me. There’s the handsoap. Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla. Hell no am I using that on the dog. I look at what is available in the shower. My Dove Ultra Rich Cream Oil Body Wash? Again, hell no. Mike’s Old Spice Body Wash? I can’t have the dog smelling like Old Spice. Shampoo? Which one? I enjoy the moisture my Suave provides, especially after the recent coloring. So, that leaves the Head ‘N Shoulders. Sorry Mike, some sacrifices need to be made. This dog will have a bath tonight!

I proceed to lather the dog with the Head ‘N Shoulders. As I’m thinking of it, the dog does have dry skin. And, the winter air magnifies her itchiness. So, this may not be a bad thing afterall.
I get the dog thoroughly bathed and she smells good. She doesn’t smell like the funk that was before her bath. She doesn’t smell like dog shampoo either. She smells clean….like Head ‘N Shoulders clean. And, I’m okay with that.


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