Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Attar de Dogue Poop

Who's more interesting, a pile of doggie junk food or mom with a camera?

Boost got her first bath today.

It wasn't how I had planned it. I figured I'd introduce her to the shower stall gradually, shaping it, giving her clicks and treats as she went in, playing with her inside; turning on the water in the sprayer hose gradually, and so on. But this is not how it happened.

Earlier this morning, while working at my desk, the distinct odor of dog manure wafted to my nose. This is a bad thing, since the outside doors were closed. I checked Jake's backside. You see, as he gets older, he has soft stools more and more often, and he just happens to be the proud possesser of extremely full petticoats and lush tail feathers. So it sometimes--sticks. (Sorry, this just isn't an elegant topic to discuss.) Sure enough, quite a bit of it all up and down his backside. However, it was also all very dry, so it shouldn't be smelling, but maybe he disturbed it a little and freed some scent molecules.

So I took him outside and spent about 10 minutes disengaging the dried bits with a large-toothed, then a small-toothed, comb, and finally wiping him down. Butt all better. But the odor in the room reappeared. I looked around for stray bits that someone might have picked up on his or her foot and tramped into my office. Nothing that I could find. Then it went away again.

It wasn't until just before the Accurate Mac guy showed up to try to figure out why my PowerBook wasn't working, while I was out on the deck playing tug-o-war with The Boost, that I noticed the tannish stain on her grayish ear. Now, perhaps I've been lucky, but with almost all of my dogs, when they've found something scintillating to roll in, they've had the courtesy to make it something that I, with my mere puny mortal nose, cannot detect. I think only Sheba occasionally found something a bit more blatantly rancid that needed direct intervention. The others would roll, and yet come up smelling like a rose—if the rose smelled kind of doggy in an inoffensive way.

Boost, it appears, is the sort of doggie that likes to wear her art on her sleeve in a more blatant manner. So I've already had to clean off one cheek or ear or another on occasion. Apparently, however, the drastic vomiting episode last week has changed the direction of her artistry. Well, she thought to her little evil self, if I can't eat the poop any more without ghastly nausea, I might as well wear it.

And so, my lovelies, as I started to investigate, I discovered that it was not merely on one ear. And the related cheek. And the related neck. And the related dog collar. But also on the other ear. And cheek. And neck. And right down onto her withers and down the sides. And all the way down her back to her tail. And some even on her tail. By this time, it had dried, so again I was able to remove the large bits by combing, and she was very good about that process. I tried to wipe off the remainder, but realized quickly that this was a deep-cleaning operation, not a mere sponge bath.

Hence the thrusting bodily into the shower stall, dog squirming and fighting the whole way, smearing feces-odored moisture all over her mama's shirt and jeans in the process. Eventually she stopped fighting. Eventually she even stopped hunkering down in abject terror and merely looked miserable. Poor puppy. But boy did she stink.

So now she's clean, her collar is cleaner (although methinks I detect a lingering memory of the event), my bathroom is a mess, my clothes are changed, and—between her and Jake—there goes another hour and a half out of my day.

Oh, BTW, I debated taking a picture of the Before state, but then decided that that was something that I never wanted to look at again, and didn't. So instead I have substituted a photo of all my children trying to behave for me to get their portrait.

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