On Monday night, the Mister and I decided it was time to give Nile, our 10-week-old Australian Shepard puppy who we have had for almost a month, a bath. We had spent the weekend in the Quad Cities visiting my parents and Tucker, the family’s 7-year-old black Labrador Retriever who loves to stomp in and out of the kiddie pool filled with slightly murky water and play fetch through all the leaves, bushes, dirt and general yard trimmings.
Nile was exposed to a whole new world of big dog activities. Just like a younger sibling tries to keep up with the older one, Nile chased Tucker through the bushes in his attempt to get the deflated, old kick ball. He jumped off retaining walls and startled himself on his landings. He slowly approached the running hose, surprised when his paws and head got wet. He rolled around in the fallen leaves and ran through the weeds. All in all he didn’t get too dirty. That is, until we were getting ready to head home.
Our dog is a curious puppy. As are all young creatures. We want to know how things work. Where things come from. Well, our little boy got a little too close to his Uncle Tucker in midstream and his head smelled it. The Mister wiped Nile’s head with a little vinegar-water to get rid of the smell, but we knew the time had come.
We had to give Nile a bath.
So we decided to do it Monday night, since he was so exhausted Sunday from a fun-filled weekend of romping through the house with Tucker. We had it all planned out. We would take a before photograph of our puppy. You know, a “this is what he looked like,” so we could have a “this is what he looks like now” shot. The Mister and I decided to give him his first bath in the utility sink in the basement. We thought it would work well since it has high sides, and it’s off the ground preventing him from jumping down. We were armed with an ample amount of treats, a few towels and a bottle of doggy shampoo. And so we began.
Trying to be as nice as possible, I used a big, plastic cup to gently get him wet, and the Mister kept his attention by giving him treats. We quickly realized he was not happy. So we ditched the slow methodical approach and went with the quick method. We tag teamed it as best as possible. Washing, shampooing and rinsing as fast as we could. We didn’t care about splashing water around the sink. We were soaked and on a mission. When I needed a second pair of hands, the Mister would give Nile a treat to distract then give the assist. But despite our best efforts, Nile was shaking like a leaf he had been chasing the day before.
We picked him up and wrapped him in a towel. We dried him off, hoping he was shaking because he was cold. We changed towels and held him in our arms as he shivered. We took him upstairs to play with his toys. He wanted nothing to do with them. Our baby boy was tired, and he was not happy with us. All we could do was coax him toward us by giving him treats, but soon he would turn away.
So just like any unhappy child who was tired and cranky, he went to bed. Pouting. Not happy. And not the least bit amused.
Fast forward nine hours later, he was still a little sleepy but a lot more happy. We may not be giving him a bath for a long time.
Maybe we can make the hose into a game and just rinse him off avoiding all future tantrums.
BCR Copy Editor Sarah Maxwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.