Over many years of living in a household where the fur frequently flies, I have learned that the best way to get rid of fleas, ticks and other pests, and to stop incessant scratching, is to bathe the itchy sufferer with a liberal application of special soap, rinse thoroughly and follow up with a treat.
It works on dogs, too.
My wife, Sue, whose grooming is impeccable, recently suggested that our granddog, Maggie, be given a bath. Maggie doesn’t have fleas, ticks or other pests. In fact, she is impeccably groomed herself. But she does have dry skin that causes her to do what people often tell me to do: go scratch.
So Sue thought it was time for a bath.
“Can’t I just take a shower?” I asked.
Sue sighed and said, “Hook up the hose outside and get the doggy shampoo.”
It’s a good thing we weren’t doing this in the bathroom because Maggie doesn’t like to be bathed. She’s totally unlike our late pooch, Lizzie, who loved being given the spa treatment. She’d just stand there, soaking it all in. After she was dried off and brushed, she’d go back inside and preen. Then she’d plop down and take a nap.
That is the difference between dogs and humans: After a bath or a shower, a person has to go to work to keep man’s best friend in the style to which he or she has become accustomed.
And we call dogs dumb animals.
To bathe a dog, you will need the aforementioned hose and shampoo, as well as a towel. That’s for the dog.
For you, there’s a much bigger list: three pairs of rubber gloves, a bathing suit (or, if it’s chilly, a raincoat), flip-flops (or galoshes), goggles, a shower cap, fishing waders or, depending on how much the dog shakes, rattles, rolls and otherwise dislikes the bath, scuba gear.
You’ll also need a collar and a leash. So will the dog.
Step 1: Put the collar on the dog, attach the leash and, with one hand, hold firmly. With your other hand, hold the hose. With your third hand, turn on the water. If you have an assistant, he can turn on the water. I was assisting Sue, so that was my job. Since dogs have four hands, you wonder why they just can’t bathe themselves.
Step 2: Wet the dog, being careful that the dog, in its excitement, doesn’t wet you. Then hold on to the leash for dear life because most dogs won’t like this and will pull you with such force that one arm will end up being six inches longer than the other one. If you have a mastiff, you may also be dragged for three blocks. It will hurt like hell if fences are involved.
Step 3: If the previous step goes well, apply the shampoo or soap and rub it into the dog’s coat. At this point, your fingers will pop through your first set of rubber gloves. Put on another pair and continue washing. Be sure to get behind the ears, around the haunches and along the tail. If you have a bulldog or a schnauzer, or if you are washing yourself, this last part will be unnecessary.
Step 4: Don your last pair of rubber gloves and rinse the dog off. Then stand back or the dog will shake enough water on you to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool. At this point, fur will be all over your legs, feet and face, in your hair and wedged permanently under your fingernails.
Step 5: Dry off the dog with a bath towel.
Step 6: Burn the towel.
Step 7: Brush the dog to get off the rest of the loose fur. You will notice that the dog has dandruff. Ignore it and give the dog a treat.
Step 8: Give yourself a treat. A beer will do.
Step 9: Have another beer.
Step 10: Take a shower. Just like your dog did, you’ll need one.