February 21, 2012

Adventures in Dog Bathing: Raven Edition

This has been a canine-centric week, y'all.  Someday when the public-at-large recognizes my genius, I'll have my own personal paparazzi.  (Which won't be all that different from being paranoid, really.)  Then I'll have slapstick videos instead of crappy drawings to share with you.

But until then, you'll just have to be satisfied with my subpar sketches and superfluous storytelling. 

And my arbitrary alliteration.

Earlier this week, I noticed that our couch smells decidedly dog-like.  That clued me in that another Dog Bathing Debacle was nigh.  The double-dog bathing process is at best an exercise in chaos at my house, but I determined that this time it would be different.  My goal was to prepare for all possible outcomes before a drop of water hit the tub.  (Pre-winning!)

I put three different shampoos (for all of your canine coif conundrums!) on the side of the tub.  I opened the lids to facilitate an efficient shampooing process.  I covered the floor with towels for containment of the inevitable Wet Dog Shakes.  I hung anticipatory towels on hooks to catch the water that usually decorates the wall after a canine cleansing.  I removed all reading material from the bathroom.  And I pushed a sharp, heavy bone out of the way so I wouldn't trip on it whilst wrangling my water-phobic labrador mix into the tub. 

Raven is 10 years old.  She's at that point in a woman's life when pleasing her people just isn't as high a priority as it used to be.  She's all about living authentically in her golden years.  She also despises racial profiling.  She wants you to know that she is more than her heritage.  She is a lab mix who hates baths.

Problem is, thanks to her border collie forebears, she has been blessed with an abundant mane.  This creates a conflict of interest.  There's the whole back to nature, down-with-bathing thing that she's into, but come 6 weeks post-bath, she's sporting an oily 'fro.  And while I respect her right to an alternative lifestyle, I just can't get down with the funk.

Bathing Raven requires that I bodily lift her into the tub.  When she can manage it, she uses her nails to grip door frames and shower curtains--anything--to avoid the dreaded water. 

Once I get her into the tub, I spend about 34343453453423 minutes trying to wet her fur to the skin. (It's bushy like a border collie's coat and water-repellent like a labrador's.) I'm already sweaty and arthritic at this point, but I persevere.  Because the only thing worse than stinky dog is wet stinky dog.  I scrub her all over and then spend 489645349534752305 more minutes rinsing all the dirt and shampoo off.  She usually shakes at this point, and somehow, she catches me off guard every time.  Water and fur go flying, and I can't clean it up immediately because I'm so covered in clumps of black hair that I look like the Wolfman.

Next, I clean her face with tearless baby shampoo.  She really doesn't like to get her face wet, so I try to get this done as quickly as possible.  To rinse, I just dump a bowl of water on her head and shove the shower curtain between us so she can recover with minimal bathroom soakage. 

The final step is the most important.  I throw a towel over her while she's still in the tub, rub her down as quickly as I can, and get the hell out of the way.  She comes barreling out of the tub (because suddenly, she is able to clear the side of the bathtub without help) and then she rolls all over the floor in an effort to get that stinky shampoo scent off of her carefully cultivated coat.

Only problem is, this time I forgot that I pushed that heavy, sharp bone out of the way before bath time. 


So I stepped on the bone and fell backward, messing up my carefully laid-out network of towels.  Raven jumped out of the tub and proceeded to go all Wet Dog Crazy while we both scrambled for purchase on the wet, slippery floor.  Somehow I managed to throw another towel over her and finish drying her off before she darted out the bathroom door to run a victory lap through the house.


To be continued


  1. Man, I love your writing style (: Laugh out loud fo' sho'.

    BTW, try a little of the "tearless" shampoo on your own eyeball -- some of them are straight up liars on that packaging front.

  2. I read this to Jaina and Mom. We all enjoyed your Raven tale (or should I say tail.) Patricia

  3. This made me laugh out loud...I can relate in this 4 dog household.