A Tale of Two Baths
After our joyous reunion with Toby and Callie, it was clear that a week in the kennels necessitated baths as a matter of urgency. Thus begins the Tale of Two Baths...
Bath One: Toby
We call Toby into the bathroom and encourage him to jump into the tub. He rolls his eyes and grits his teeth but complies because he knows there's a piece of cheese at the end of the bath tunnel.
Toby suffers through the bath in silence. He seems to enjoy the parts that involve soap and does not enjoy the parts that involve water. The only tricky part of the bath is turning him around to rinse his other side.
While we wash Toby, we leave the bathroom door open so Callie can see that this is not some big, scary, horrible production. See, Toby doesn't mind. Callie head-butts her way under our elbows and jams her giant face into the bathtub. She's curious about all the strange goings-on.
When the bathing part is over, Toby waits patiently while we towel dry him off as much as possible. He is eager for his cheese but waits until he gets the command to jump out of the tub. Once out of the tub, he gives himself a good shake and then runs off to the kitchen for his cheese reward.
Bath Two: Callie
We call Callie into the bathroom. She is immediately suspicious and edgy. We encourage her to jump into the tub. She looks at us like we're crazy. I stand in the tub in an effort to get her to join me. It's like a couch, only different. She doesn't buy it.
Peter puts his hand on her collar to drag her up into the tub. Callie collapses on the ground like a masked protester at a WTO meeting. Her body is transformed into 120-pounds of awkward dead weight. Peter crouches on the ground, trying to find a grip that will allow him to lift her the two-and-a-half vertical feet into the tub. I look at Peter's bent back and the slippery floor and see seven possible accidents, so I suggest dragging her into one of the shower stalls.
Peter agrees and first tries to lure her upstairs to the guest bathroom. While Toby dashes up and down the stairs, wondering where his cheese is, Callie cowers at the bottom of the stairs. Peter gives up and agrees the shower in our en-suite bathroom will work just as well and eliminate the need for stairs.
Callie follows us quite happily into our bedroom, and then collapses the minute Peter gets a hand on her collar. It takes both of us to drag her into the bathroom, Peter's pulling her front half and I'm pushing her back half. She makes a last ditch effort to splay out her back legs and brace them against the door jamb, but I disarm her. We perform a tricky move to get all three of us into the tiny bathroom and close the door to eliminate the chance of escape.
In the en-suite, Callie positions herself as far away from the shower as possible. It becomes clear that washing the dog without getting drenched is no longer an option. I turn on the water and climb into the shower. I take Callie's collar and pull her into the shower with me, while Peter lifts up her back end and shoves the rest of her in.
"You are the most recalcitrant, stubborn dog I have ever met," says Peter. I have to laugh and say "Yes, that's my girl." (When I later report this story to Middle Brother, he observes that Callie and I have been cut from the same cloth.)
We spend several minutes working on turning Callie around so she's more under the water stream. (I wish fervently the whole while that this shower would have the detachable head the way the bathtub does.) I'm part contortionist, part tightrope walker as I balance and twist my way around the giant huddle of dog at the bottom of the shower.
Finally, Callie is properly positioned and we're able to lather and then rinse. Slight adjustments to her position get everything rinsed except her underbelly. Peter suggests more turning. I tell him to get a bucket. I shut the shower doors and wait while he fetches a bucket. When he returns with a big, empty kitchen pot, I hold it high above my head until its full of water, then I carefully pass it over to him. He rinses Callie's belly, then hands me a towel.
After I've dried her, Callie is given the all-clear and she bolts from the shower. While I put on dry clothes and wipe up the water on the floor, Peter takes the dogs into the kitchen for the cheese reward. Callie gets hers first. As Peter is placing Toby's cheese into the dog's mouth, Callie muscles in to take it. Peter growls and both dogs back off, then Toby is finally properly rewarded for his bath.
According to Peter, we have learned two important lessons from this endeavour.
Lesson 1 - Next bath time, Callie's bath is going to be outside with the garden hose.
Lesson 2 - The next time we adopt a giant dog, it's going to be in puppy form.