Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Suds your Duds

Please excuse the graphic description I am about to include in today's post. If you think of it in a Lucy Ricardo sort of way, you will come much closer to the reality of the whole situation. No, seriously.

First the basics. I am a forty-seven year old woman. I weigh approximately 120 pounds. Corndog Stella - weighs fifty-seven pounds. That's like two twenty-five pound bags of dog food stacked on top of each other, with a couple of six packs of soda tossed on. Twenty-four ouncers.

Although her weight varied, from September to February, I gave Stella baths in the shower - with me. That thud you just heard was my mother's head hitting her printer stand on the way down. While I understand some of you may be repulsed by the thought of showering with a dog I assure you, we both come out better for it. The only thing that really suffers are the bathroom walls and my landlord's drain (bummer).

The tricky part isn't the showering, the showering is sort of zen-like to be honest, but it's getting the pit bull into the shower that's the real talent. It's a bathtub. I have to open the shower curtain, step one foot out of the slick-ass bathtub, pick her up NAKED, turn back to the tub and put her down standing, in the water. Typically I will then tell her that she's the best dog in the world and to Stay. At that point I pray that she does, sometimes I even pray aloud (note to Mom).

So a few days ago, after a long hiatus I decide it's time for Stella to have a bath. To be safe (hah), I get out a pair of shower shoes, the old style flip-flops you get at the beach, and put them in the bathtub with me while I shower. At one point I step into them and immediately they suction themselves like a frog, to the floor of the bathtub. I almost fall down. Fine I think to myself, I'll just leave them off and stand in them later, after I get her in here. So here we go with the potential 911 moment and Stella hasn't done this in a while, so she's mighty tense (I'm told this is because I'm tense which would make her a psychic - no?) I step, left foot out of the tub, wrap my left arm in front of her chest, tuck my right arm under her rump and stand upright. Then I move my left foot back into the tub and set her down in it. When I do, her front feet go right into the flip flops and suddenly she's standing on one of them and wearing the other one like a bracelet.

Did I mention before that I am NAKED? In a shower? With a pit bull, wearing thongs? Now I get laughing so hard in there that she thinks I've gone insane and I wonder if maybe I haven't. And she's looking at me like: Are we gonna' do this thing or not? It is at this moment I realize that I'm not always forty-seven years old. Sometimes, when the planets are aligned just right, I still get to visit seventeen, this day thanks to Stella.



[Ed. note] Somebody recently asked if I was absolutely head over heels in love with Stella now that she and I had been through these surgeries together (savvy question, I thought). The answer is yes, of course. I loved her before she was ever injured but the day you find yourself bathing an animal half your size with a warm washcloth because she can't do it herself, you're pretty much done for.

We recommend Perfect Coat natural oatmeal shampoo and, if you should choose this method of bathing for your own big dog, a crash helmet.

20 comments:

Princess said...

Haha, what a great story! It brought a big smile to my face, because I usually go through the same type of situation. I bride Princess by putting a PB Milkbone sandwich in the middle of the shower before she gets in(and sans water). Also no flip flops involved.
~P's Mom

Woodrow, Sweetie, MJ Campanella said...

Thanx for the lucy type decription - it made our mommy smile - mommy also wants us to add - that she spent months washing me daily sometime twice a day cause of my allergies and when i was sick and needed my wounds needed to be kept clean. We choose to join mommy in the shower every morning - try showering in a tub with 2 full size bull terriers

woodrow and mj

i dont go near the tub unless absolutely necessary

sweetie

Beverly said...

Hilarious! I tell my dogs to go take a bath, but they never do. Smiley got a bath this morning, while Pepper hid in the basement. I have her in my sights now.

Gnightgirl said...

Hilarious! I've always owned cats, but find myself taking more care of my Mom's pekinese. I can lift him into a sink, and he's pretty good with the hose in the back yard too, so I can stay clothed.

Susan Rose said...

Even a trip to the vet without surgery can be a bonding experience. I remember clearly the day I fell in love with Boo Boo. (I did NOT want a dog.) We were finished at the vet's and were driving home in the truck. Boo Boo must have decided he liked me because he sat smack up against me with his head on my shoulder for 15 miles.

susan said...

Love the comments. I think everybody must have a memorable bath story. I've promised Stella that in our next house we'll have a walk in shower. And a screened in porch, a dishwasher and a fence. We're obviously dreaming but it can't hurt :)

Beth W. said...

I shouldn't be typing before I'm fully awake. Just wanted to tell you I showed my 13 year old grandson Alex my "Stellas Patellas" post last night so he could listen to The Dog Song; then I came over to Carny Dog so he could meet Stella, and I'm talking (chattering) about how Susan is a brilliant photographer and isn't Stella something and look at those pictures, when I realize Alex has taken over the mouse, is reading, and suddenly I hear a squeaky rumble and realize it is the sound of a boy whose voice is changing laughing out loud with an ear-to-ear grin, reading about Susan giving Stella a bath and all the funny sweet tenderness of it, and Alex just looks at me, and I can see in his eyes that my coolness quotient just went through the moon and he gets why I blog.

susan said...

Beth, I'm so glad we can still make an impression and if it ups your cool factor well.. that's really saying something. I expect your cool factor was pretty high starting off. Thanks.

Houston All-Terrier Club said...

Hun...get yourself a tub mat at Wal-Mart. Best $7 bucks you'll ever spend.
Lyn

Katie said...

I love this! I thought i was the only person who did this!

Saint Rescue said...

Try it with a Saint Bernard... I dare you.


seriously, It's not a pretty sight.

Dena Stapleton said...

That was great. My Isabell (Am. Staff-pitty) actually does the shower quite well. She had a major spinal issue that put her out of commission for 8 weeks, but after that she does not jump anymore. With this I pick up her front legs and put them in and then grab her back legs and put them in. NOw that is tricky as she is very short as Am Staff's are. She likes the shower only if I'm in it or at least sit on the edge with my legs in the tub so she can snuggle up to them. Great blog. I loved the cartoon on Draw the Dog.

Spyder said...

I bath the dogs (naked) in the tub using the handheld shower thing. THEN I shower. I have a Great Dane and a Lab/Border Collie mix. You might enjoy my current post : http://myspyderweb.blogspot.com/

Bernie's dad said...

Susan,
Your story is priceless! It was a great cartoon at Draw the Dog, and your blog story was absolutely wonderful! While not one to shower with our dogs, bathing them in the tub results in my getting almost as wet! Thanks for a wonderful blog.
Clyde and Beverly in Havana Florida along with Rocky, Zoey, Roper and Kelly (our four rescues).

Daisy said...

I think there will now be a lot of people "confessing" that they shower with their dogs! I don't now, but used to shower with my Lab. She loved it and jumped into the tub!
Barbara

Shadow Rider said...

Fortunately we have a huge walk in shower, otherwise I couldn't bathe our Irish Wolfhound. He and I fit, barely if he squinches a bit. I also wash him first, get him halfway dry, then take my own shower. (if I don't, then I smell like his dog shampoo all day)

Shadow Rider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katybeth said...

Laughed Hard. Maybe its because I can complete relate to "Lucy" stories!! If it makes your mom feel any better-I shower with my dogs and my client dogs all the time. Yep, life with a dog often goes amuck but is almost always worth it!

Thanks for sharing!!

Alissa said...

Another one from Draw the Dog! The image of Stella in flip flops nearly had me crying. Our Pittie never liked the shower, but Maimo would grudgingly get in because we told her to. We have since moved to Israel from Vancouver, and because it gets HOT here, he now looks forward to his showers with Dad. All we have to say is, "do you want to take a bath?" and he hops into the tub. I don't really think he actually enjoys the shower itself, but he knows he'll be much cooler afterwards!

SillyBlackDog said...

OMG! I swear you wrote this about me, just substitute a 100 lb intact male black lab and me in my panties. Somehow his ice cold nose in my unprotected crotch is just not that appealing! Thank you for the very vivid and hilarious account of bathing your dog and thanks to Draw the Dog for the awesome cartoon and link to your blog!