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‘Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.’ Orhan Pamuk.

I always thought I knew how to listen to my dogs.  I mean, I know they can’t tell me of the deep philosophical thoughts that wander through their minds when they are sitting, all sparkly-eyed and dreamy in a patch of sun, or what they are thinking when I look up from my book and find them gazing thoughtfully at me, but if I listen closely enough I can usually tell when they’re happy, or scared, or hungry or grumpy.  And most of the time that’s enough.  We rub along quite happily.  But sometimes, just sometimes, one of them will do something totally unexpected and out of character and I think how cool it would be if they were wearing one of those dog translator collars (a la ‘Dug’) and my bewildered “What the ??? ” would elicit some sort of lucid response . . .

I have written before about the joys of ‘bath day’ in our household (‘Anyone who doesn’t know what soap tastes like . . . )  It’s always a bit of a drama and something I only put the girls (and myself) through about once a month.  Unless of course on one of our daily walks Maudie decides to dive head first into the scungiest, smelliest, most disgusting pile of dead ‘something’ she’s just found in the park. (Oh joy!)  By the time I managed to chase her away from the whatever-it-was (or used to be) she was black and reeking—and extremely pleased with herself.  I felt a tiny bit mean spoiling her fun and dragging her home to take a bath—but only a very tiny bit.  The only other option was to give her away to one of the local fisherman to use as bait . . .

None of my girls have ever liked baths so I was sure I knew what to expect. On realising a bath was imminent, Maudie would immediately adopt her floppy, unresponsive, dead-dog persona (although she doesn’t seem to have cottoned on to the fact that dead-dogs don’t normally squeal . . . ) Molly would run in frantic circles, barking madly, ensuring the whole neighbourhood was aware I was about to murder her sister (and possibly her too) and Mabel . . .  well, Mabel  would creep silently away to find herself a deep, dark, quiet place to hide and ‘wait me out’ . . .

Imagine my surprise then, after wrangling Maudie into the bath (and actually getting some water on her—she’s a squirmy little sucker) I turned to find Mabel sitting quietly on the bathroom floor next to me, watching the proceedings with interest.  “Oh.  Hi Mabes.  Have you come to watch Maudie have a bath?”  Mabel wagged her tail and smiled at me.  Well, okay then.  This is new . . .

Even more surprisingly (and in spite of several further earsplitting Maudie-shrieks) Mabel stayed, peering over the edge of the bath as Maudie was shampooed, rinsed, and shampooed again.  (If I didn’t genuinely believe that dogs were better than humans I might have wondered if there was a little of the old ‘schadenfreude’ going on there . . . )

I hadn’t intended to also bath Mabel that morning ( because Mabel was a good girl . . . Mabel hadn’t rolled in some decomposing dead thing) but after Maudie had been dried and released and fled the bathroom (doing her usual four laps of the house and frantically flinging herself into every cushion, pillow and other soft furnishing she could find) Mabel continued to sit calmly beside me . . . almost as if she were waiting . . . I decided to take a chance.  “Sowhat do you think Mabes?  Does Mabel want a bath now?”

I honestly expected her to bolt.  I really did.  I thought it was some kind of new game she was playing with me.  Feign interest and then run for her life.  That’ll be a good game.  But no.  She let me take her collar off (usually another ‘no no’), stood quietly while I got the water to the right temperature, and happily let me repeatedly lather her up and rinse her off.  No shivery shakes, no sad ‘why me?’ looks, no trying to escape as soon as my back was turned.  She even seemed to be kind of enjoying it . . .

So what happened?  What changed between last month and this, after years and years (eight years to be exact) of trying to avoid a bath at all costs?

I have absolutely no idea, and I suppose I never will.   But I’ll bet there’s a good story there.  A story I would love to hear.  If only we all spoke the same language . . .

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Anyone who doesn’t know what soap tastes like has never washed a dog.’ Franklin P Jones.

Saturday.  I decided to give the girls their baths early today.  They’ve been for a big walk, had their breakfast, pottered around the garden for a while and now they are all drowsing on the couch.  Perfect.

I go into the bathroom and close the door, find the shampoo and conditioner, get out the doggy towels and put everything within reach.  Don’t run the water—that’s a dead giveaway.  All organised and back into the lounge room and—it’s deserted.  Not a hair of a sleepy dog anywhere to be found.  Sigh.  I don’t know how they know, but they always do.

I look for Maudie first for the simple reason that I know exactly where she’ll be.  When Maudie hides she hides in precisely the same spot every time—the doggie bed out on the back verandah.  I come out the back door just in time to see her duck her head below the edge of the bed.  I think she thinks that if she can’t see me, I can’t see her.  Bless.

Maudie Drying off in my bed

Maudie
Drying off in my bed

She doesn’t struggle.  She does, however, squeal.  I take her collar off.  Squeal.  I stand her gently in the bath (which has no water in it yet).  Squeal.  I turn on the shower hose.  Squeal.  Accidentally touch her tummy when she is not expecting it—squeal.  Like fingernails on a chalkboard, swear to God.  Such a drama queen.  Especially as it takes all of about three minutes to get her wet down, washed, rinsed, conditioned and rinsed again.  I turn the water off, throw a towel over the top of her and lift her out of the bath.  Squeal.  Quickly put her collar back on underneath the towel before she realises what I am doing.  Muffled squeal.  Dry, dry, dry, dry, dry, dry—release—and she’s off.

At that exact moment I realise I have forgotten to close the bedroom door.  By the time I get to it Maudie has done three gleeful, full-speed circuits of the house, further drying herself on every fabric surface she has come across—carpets, rugs, cushions—she’s rolled on her back from one end of my bed to the other and has now buried herself deep amongst the pillows.  She smiles sweetly at me from inside her little nest.

Molly Drying off in a towel

Molly
Drying off in a towel

Molly next.  She’s hiding under the settee, but not for long.  She is much easier to deal with (no squealing for a start) and sits like a tiny black wet sock in the corner of the bath while I work on her.  I squeeze as much water as I can out of her before I take her out of the bath but it takes two extra large towels to get her even partially dried off.  When I let her loose she looks a bit like a walking brillo pad.

And now Mabel.  Where’s Mabel?  After searching for a while I am pretty sure that is her in the deep dark gloom under the bed—either that or there is something else moving around under there that I really don’t want to know about.  Rather than risk traumatising her for a week I usually leave Mabel to come out of her own accord.  Her record hiding time is 2 hours 14 minutes . . .

Mabel Drying off in the sun

Mabel
Drying off in the sun

Got her.  Someone came to the front door and she just couldn’t resist the urge to come out and see who it was.  So, that’s it—all three.  Done and dusted.  They’ve all had treats for ‘being good girls’ (the term is relative).  I’ve cleaned and de-haired the bathroom and every towel I own is now in the wash.  The girls are all prancing about looking all very bright and shiny and pleased with themselves.  Like it was all their idea. Watching them all sitting blissfully outside in the sun I can see that Molly is also going to need a haircut and good brushing out when she’s completed dried off.

But that’s for later. It is now all of 10.00am, and  I think I have earned a nice cup of tea and a bit of a lie down . . .

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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