It's A Wet Dog's Life



SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


            Sometimes I wish my dog could talk. Other times I realize how very, very good it is that he can’t.

            Bae—we named him Beowulf, although for all I know he thinks of himself as Mxyplictic—must think we’re crazy. We cut our nails without complaint. We put perfectly good food in the trash can and then don’t let him sample. Worst of all, we get wet on purpose.

            “Wait – you’re going in there again? But that’s the room where all the water sprays down. Don’t climb in there! Water! Oh, the humanity!”

            Bathing is an issue.

            Sometimes he gives us looks that make it obvious he understands all too well. When I get ready for work, it’s a time of mourning:

            “Oh, you’ve leaving! But you might not be back this time. Who will give me kibble? Pet me? Say stupid things in weird voices just to hear themselves talk? It’s so depressing … oh, wait, the lady is staying—never mind, she’s lots more interesting than you, anyway.”

            Trying to trim his nails brings an understandable reaction:

            “Okay, I like you, but you have to understand if you approach my toes with that sharp thing one more time I will take your fingers off.”

            We don’t have to tarry for more than a minute in the kitchen before Bae pokes his head in.

            “Hey, this is where the food comes from. Well? Making food? Come on, drop some on the floor, 
make it quick. Come on, you know you will.”

            And of course I do, then pretend it was on purpose to give the dog a treat.

            He’s also puzzled by the fact that we sometimes sit on his couch. Granted it’s usually when we’re petting him, but he really does appear to get offended.

            “Dude. You let me sit on one piece of furniture in the whole house. Do I sleep on the leather couch? No, ‘cause you yell. Do I climb on the bed? No, except during fireworks and thunderstorms, because you swat me off. But then you crowd onto my couch? That’s it—next time you leave the house, I’m sleeping on your desk.”

            One other moment when he makes his feelings clear is at bath time. His basic reaction:

            “Nooooooo!!!!! Murder! Terrorism! They’re waterboarding me, somebody help!”

            It’s the only time I have to fight with our dog, except for when he’s on the leash and sees a rabbit. Unfortunately for me rabbits roam our back yard, so I’ve invested a lot of time in grass stain removal, after being drug halfway across the yard on my face.

            Bae feels very strongly that the purpose of water is to drink. That’s it. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to dogs (something I didn’t know when we got him), so we have to keep his dander down in more ways than one. Also, sometimes he stinks.

            Nobody’s perfect.

            We experimented with different ways of giving him a bath. Sometimes we take him into the back yard, which has the advantage that his inevitable shake won’t soak anything except the closest humans. It also waters the lawn, and when he shakes I mean the whole lawn.

The biggest problem is that it exposes us to the ridicule of the neighbors, who are already well aware of how ridiculous I can be. When two full grown humans wrestle one dog and lose, that’s YouTube material.

In any case, cold weather will come. Put me down as someone who’s against using the garden hose in a snowstorm.

Then we tried the basement, where there’s an old shower. I used to shower down there myself, but the spiders would crawl across the ceiling, turn off the water, and make fun of me. Big spiders.

It’s not so bad showering the dog down there, except we all get showered. And what the heck, don’t we all need it from time to time? But I do get tired of the giggling spiders.

The last time, we tried to get him into the bathtub. I don’t know what we were thinking. Well, I do—a warm room, plenty of water, and a tub that would hold the water in a little. He’d been itching, and we wanted to see if any fleas came off of him.

We saw no fleas, although I lost some skin and hair myself.

You’d be surprised how hard it is to get an 85 pound dog into a tub if he doesn’t want to get into the tub. I ended up bodily picking him up, then had to hold him by the collar for an hour while we washed him down with anti-itch, anti-flea shampoo that was mostly oatmeal and actually smelled pretty good, and I’m thinking of trying it for breakfast next week.

Yes, I hurt my back. Saw that coming, didn’t you?

But at least I didn’t have to sit in the bathtub scrubbing the dog, which is what Emily did. When it comes to getting wet, where we were in the bathtub didn’t really matter, of course. Later I found standing water in the top shelf of the medicine cabinet, and the lid was closed at the time.

Afterward something happened that I almost never see: Bae got mad at Emily. I’m talking full-scale pout.

“I can’t believe you did that … I got so wet. I thought you loved me!”

Well, we do—otherwise we wouldn’t have bothered—and he got over it. And although we may always be a puzzle to our pets, they love us, too.

As long as we bring the kibble.
Wait ... what's that garden hose for?