July 27, 2006

Our Dog Bath Day Chaos

Bath day in our house of four dogs has always been a bit of an adventure, something a two-human team usually accomplishes, and I recently discovered that this is not a task that one person should try alone.
At the first sight of me gathering our favorite doggie shampoos and towels, Jay and Francis head for the bathroom in anticipation, while Mia and Lance try to become the first invisible dogs in history.
We normally start with Lance, since it seems the longer he waits for his turn the more stressed he becomes. First you have to "find' him though. He's hiding where he always is; under Jay's favorite quilt with nothing but his backside sticking out, and when you pull the quilt away he always looks amazed that you found him. Into the tub he goes, and he begins to vocally "grumble", which gets louder in volume throughout the bath. Jay and Francis sit outside the bathroom door, both whining loudly because they can hear Lance's grumbling; this is what we call "bath time music." He does stand still though, as if he realizes that this will make the "water torture" and sooner, so his bathing goes fairly quickly. He tolerates the towel-drying and then shoots out of the bathroom door at the speed of light and begins his ritual after-bath marathon. He runs from one end of the house to the other as fast as he can, bouncing off the sofas and beds, in non-stop fashion.

Jay loves a bath, but he wants you to leave the faucet running while he takes it so he can drink the water. I'm not sure why this is such a fascination, but if you don't leave it running he will sit in the back of the tub and refuse to move, thus making it impossible to wash all of him. So I leave the faucet on, and he happily laps water as he's being lathered. Unfortunately, this results in his needing to go outdoors for a potty break almost immediately after his bath. I let him out the back door, and avoid a near-miss collision in the hallway with the speeding "Super Lance" as I return to the bathroom where Francis is already waiting for her turn.

Francis is bathed without incident, but she insists that the shower curtain be closed, so we can only assume that she's shy. I dry her, open the bathroom door, and this time we both dodge Lance as he rockets past us through the hallway. Jay is barking to be let back in the house now, so I let him in and then locate Mia, who is sitting in the living room chair trying to figure out why Lance is still flying through the house at breakneck speed.

Mia is a little bit timid in the bath and likes to stand up with her front feet on the side of the tub and her face hidden in your shirt while she's being washed. It makes a bit of a mess, but it gives her comfort so we don't mind. When she's done, she likes to be wrapped in a fluffy towel and carried around for awhile, so the wet bathroom has to wait a bit before being cleaned.

Now comes the "drying rituals." Even though he has already been fully towel-dried, Jay is spoiled and wants to be further dried with the blow-dryer as well, which Francis hates. Mia at this point still wants to be cuddled. So I wind up using the blow dryer with one hand to dry Jay as I hold Mia with the other; and Francis is barking at the dryer the whole time; while Lance is STILL rocketing through the house.

About a half hour later things are much calmer, and I take a much-needed rest before starting to clean the bathroom. But then I notice that now *I* am the one who needs a bath... and I think the dogs are laughing at me!

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