Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Abby & Showers

(The shower and bathtub mentioned in this entry are shown above.)

“Do you want a shower?” This was probably the most dreaded thing Abby could hear. The only thing worse was “Do you want a spank?” Abby’s hair was a little oilier than Andy’s and much more so than Father’s. The oiliness tended to attract a lot of dirt and grime on Abby making her smell not so good. At times, she would absolutely stink, and it would be insufferable. In the summertime, her hair problem wasn’t so bad since her frequent dips in the pool washed her off. The chlorine would act as a cleanser eliminating the smell.

It was in the other seasons when her hair would be a problem. Normally it was up to me to administer the shower. The first attempts at bathing her didn’t go so well. The first time I put her in the bathtub and filled the tub until there was foot standing water. I tried to make Abby sit despite my pleas and commands, but she was adamant and refused to sit. Fortunately, my mom has a walk-in shower which made the process a little smoother. The drawback of this procedure was that I had to be in the shower with her. I would put on a bathing suit, ask Abby if she wanted a shower and then lead her to the walk-in shower. After a few showers, Abby knew exactly what we were going to do and were we were going to go when I asked that dreaded question. Upon my asking that question, Abby would begrudgingly go to the back and dutifully walk into the shower.

I would use some kind of shampoo that I had bought from the pet store. I’d lather her up, and then rinse her off. Before I let her out of the bathroom, I would dry her off with a towel. After she left the bathroom, she would run around the house, back to the bedroom, jump up on the bed and roll around. I would like to think my authority alone lured her into the shower, but to be honest, I am not above bribing my pets. In Abby’s case, this meant bringing milk bones to the back and placing them on the floor so that she wouldn’t see them on the way in but she would on the way out.

She came to love that part of the shower and expect it. One time she forgot to eat her treat. A few minutes later, she hustled back to the spot where I usually left them and snatched them up and gobbled them down. Of course it always helped to praise her after the shower by telling her how nice she looked and how clean she smelled.

Sometimes in warmer weather, when we couldn’t wait for her to swim in the pool, we would wash her using a garden hose in the back. This was a risky procedure because of her inclination to roll around which could result in her getting just as dirty before if not dirtier.

As I’ve noted before, Abby was a very smart dog. My mom and I had to be careful about discussing the idea of showering Abby. The moment she heard the word ‘shower’ she would do her best to run away. It reached the point where my mom and I had to spell the word ‘shower’ so as to avoid Abby’s suspicion. Eventually, she knew what we meant whenever we spelled the word shower. I’m not saying she knew how to spell the way we do, but she associated the tone and rhythm of our spelling with the actual act of showering.

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