“You hold onto her collar and I’ll lather in the soap,” I told my dad.
“She isn’t going to stand still,” he shouted back.
“Well then, you might want to get out of the way!”
In between us, poor Molly was wide-eyed and looking for an escape route.
Molly is my dog … a farm dog who has been spoiled at the hands of her grandparents (my mom and dad). She’s more apt to spend her nights – and her days – in the house, and she’s even resorted to sitting next to the dinner table while they eat, politely waiting for her hand-outs.
The only problem was that she didn’t smell like an inside dog. Deep down near the roots of her black hair were years worth of dirt and grime.
In the nearly eight years since I brought her home as a puppy, the only thing she has had that ever resembled a bath was getting caught in the rain or stepping into the kiddie pool to cool off on a hot summer day. Obviously, those encounters didn’t involve soap.
So, on my day off – the day before our great family Christmas gathering – I decided if Molly wanted to be the pampered inside-the-house pooch, she needed a good cleaning … a Pet Wash kind of cleaning.
Yes, Molly had a lot of firsts today – her first ride on a rug-covered leather seat (Dad insisted on taking his car), her first ride down the interstate (she actually ducked when we drove under an overpass) and her first visit to a glorious Pet Wash (in Lakefield).
Molly probably wouldn’t use the word glorious. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’d use any of the available antonyms you could say in front of a five-year-old.
Our visit to the Pet Wash went something like this … Molly eagerly exited the back seat of the car and led like a well-trained dog all the way up to the door of the doggie dirt-remover day spa. I don’t know if she caught a whiff of a former visitor’s fear or what, but it finally took me pulling on the lead rope and Dad pushing on her behind that finally got her through the door.
She took one look at the walkway leading up to the bath bay and wanted nothing to do with it. Poor girl. This called for drastic measures – I had to pick her up and put her on the rubber mat. Needless to say, Molly didn’t like being three feet off the ground.
It wasn’t that she freaked out and barked up a storm. No, she started to shake and crouched down with her belly resting on the rubber mat. She didn’t want to move … at least not until the water started spraying out of the shower head.
“Oh, it’s warm water, Molly,” I soothed, rubbing in the shampoo-laden liquid along her neck, back and legs. “It’s not so bad. Isn’t this nice?”
If Molly could talk, I imagine she would say, “Don’t push it or I’ll shake my body and give you a mouth full of grimy dog wash water!”
As I worked the shower head, Dad tried to keep a grip on her collar and work the machine.
When he leaned over to press the rinse button, Molly suddenly thought she was free to go – the death grip had apparently lessened on her collar.
With one hand on the nozzle, I had to use my other hand to keep her from escaping. The front of my sweater suddenly felt a bit damp. Yeah, probably not the best attire to wear to the dog wash!
With two minutes left to go on the timer, Dad needed to flip a button on the machine again – Molly was going to experience the blow dryer.
Oops … new sound here … worse than the water sprayer.
Molly freaked out, it took Dad and I both to hold her in place, and the soothing talk I had used when we began this ordeal was starting to sound a little more strained.
About that point, the Pet Wash attendant poked his head in the door.
“How’s everything going in here?”
“FINE!” I said.
“OK!” Dad hollered.
The door shut again … whew – that could have been some escape route if we didn’t have a hand on Molly’s collar and another around her belly.
When the time ran out, Molly was still a rather wet dog. It was a good thing I bought a doggie chamois! I rubbed her down from head to paws as much as I could before she finally decided she’d had enough.
The ramp that she refused to walk up to get to the doggie bath worked just fine for her to get down. Once she hit the bottom, look out … the doggie shake, a couple of sniffs around, and then another doggie shake. She was good to go.
When we returned to Worthington, I decided to keep Molly with me for a bit. After all, her Christmas present was under my tree, and we weren’t going back to the farm without it. She got a new pet bed – perfect for a clean-smelling canine!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t go straight back to the farm. I had to stop and get something at the grocery store. I’d never left Molly alone in the car without being more than a few feet away – so I guess she had another first today!
By the time we finally arrived at the farm, I put her pet bed in the entry at the farm house and she immediately plopped herself down and fell asleep.
She stayed there for the next three hours … sleeping … soundly.
I’m pretty sure it was a stress-induced doggie coma.
When part of the family arrived tonight for Christmas, they couldn’t believe how shiny Molly’s black coat was.
“Her hair is so soft,” I said.
“She even smells good!” said nephew Blake.
Molly looked up at me then with her big brown eyes, and I wondered what she was thinking about our eventful afternoon.
I can only guess it might be, “Don’t even think about doing this again!”