THIS is how you bathe a dog


A while back, I posted here about “How Not to Bathe a Dog”. Annie had gotten into something smelly, and I had tried to wash her off in my bathroom. As you can read in detail at that post, I wound up naked in a tub full of fur and stink while she remained on the floor. I got so frustrated I washed her out there, ignoring the fact that the water was rising and starting to trickle toward the bedroom. I wound up with a big mess and a sore back. Bad idea.

More recently, on my first day back from my vacation, I was out front washing the mud and bugs off my car when I foolishly decided it would be okay to let the dog hang out with me. Of course when I opened the door, she sprinted across the street and out of sight. Luckily we live in the middle of nowhere so there’s no traffic and she never goes very far. I continued washing my car. When the dog showed up a half hour later, covered with Thiel Creek mud, I grabbed her collar with one hand and turned the hose on her with the other. I know the water was cold and she’s scared of the hose, but I was not in the mood to mess around. Effective but heartless.
Last week, I faced another dog-washing situation. Annie had been scratching for days. Every time I looked at her, she was either scratching or twisted around staring at her tail. Her butt and legs were wet and red. Unacceptable. We’ve done the vet routine with oral and topical medications and changing her diet to see if she has a food allergy. Expensive and ineffective. Apparently she’s hypersensitive to fleas. I sat with Annie for a while, plucked a flea off her paw despite using the expensive flea gunk, and decided a bath might help. But no hoses, no wrestling in my pink bathtub.
I called a groomer to see if I could get her in, but they didn’t call back. I loaded Annie into the car, drove by the groomer’s on my way to the Post Office, and discovered that, in the typical way of Oregon Coast businesses, they were closed on a Thursday afternoon. Why? I don’t know. The sign on the shop next door said THEY were at the beach.
So, I leashed up my dog and we went to Moondoggy, a doggy daycare and spa in Newport that offers facilities for owners to wash their dogs. It’s like a car wash for our four-legged loved ones. It was great! The woman there led Annie up three steps into a big tub, closed the door, harnessed her up so she couldn’t run away and got the water started at just the right temperature. She directed me to a shelf full of shampoos, rubber scrubbers, and towels, and left us to have fun.
To my amazement, my big nervous mutt stood calmly as I wet and soaped and rinsed her body, even her private parts and her head. She may even have liked it. I know I did. Quality time with the pooch, washing away her troubles (I hope). When she was clean, I rubbed her dry with a big towel much thicker and more absorbent than any of the towels I own. Afterward, she nibbled dog treats while I paid $10. Now my dog smells good, her fur is soft, and she’s scratching much less. That night, feeling better, she relaxed into a deep sleep in my lap. Such a deal. Moondoggy rules. THAT’S how to wash a dog.
My dad says when he lived on the ranch in San Jose, they used to have places like Moondoggy to wash the horses. The only difference was they played music to keep the horses calm. Good idea for next time.
Do you have dirty dog-dog-washing experiences you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.
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Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, and Childless by Marriage. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I teach writing workshops and offer individual editing and mentoring. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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