October 21, 2011

Washing the dog

For those of you who may be unaware, dogs tend to get dirty and stinky.  Even when they look clean, they can often smell horrible.  For an animal that is all about smells, I cannot understand why they tolerate getting so funky.

My dog Tessa is no exception.  Fortunately for me, she has a very thin coat which doesn't seem to get ripe so quickly.  My problem is that even though she's a Black Lab mix, she doesn't like the water very much.  Once I was able to coax her into the local stream and she had a great time.  On a daily basis though, if it is much more than a heavy dew on the grass she'll pass.

Getting her to take a bath was near impossible.  At first we took her to one of those dog wash businesses.  There seems to be quite a few of them, but the one I liked was DO It Yourself Doggie Detailing. I liked the high was basins they had with an anchor point to clip your dog's collar to.  Tessa was a bolter and even with two of us there I was afraid she'd jump off the high tub and crash on the floor.  She tried to do just that a couple of times.

The easiest was to get her washed was to have someone else do it.  I know, brilliant.  I'm too cheap to drop her off for a wash & wax with a pedi and mani.  I don't pamper my wife that way, why the hell would I do it for my dog? Of course, if Carolyn wanted a full "work-up" I might be so inclined, but back to the dog.  I used to travel a lot for work.  On longer trips I'd bring my wife.  Also we went on a few vacations or quasi-vacations every year.  When that happened instead of taking Tessa to a friend or family member's house we'd drop her off at Boise Kennels.  I'm a big fan of this place and Tessa is too.  This kennel has been in business since 1939.  Unlike a lot of the kennels here in town, this place is about taking care of your dog, not pampering it.  We have doggie daycares here in Boise that treat your dog better than some daycares probably treat your kids.  Tessa doesn't need to have her own TV set and I don't need to be able to watch her 24/7 on a webcam.  She stays in an appropriate sized cage while she is there and taken out 5 times a day to stretch her legs and do her business.  Once a day she gets played with for 15'.  If she was up for it, she'd get to go swimming every day also.  This setup really isn't far from what happens at home.  She prefers to keep in her small space and go out once a day for about 10 minutes of play.  When we go to our park she decides when it is time to come home. Tessa loves Boise Kennels, she doesn't even look back to say goodbye when we take her.

Back on topic: when she stays for 4 days they wash her and trim her paws.

This last year we haven't gone out of town as much so I've taken to washing Tessa at home.  She doesn't like it, but she behaves much better.  I can coax her into the bathroom, but she won't go into the tub voluntarily.  No amount of cajoling or ordering works.  I have to pick her up and plop her in. She doesn't whine or bolt, but if she is a bit of a sly escape artist.  She'll wait a couple seconds if you have your guard down and then get out.  As long as I keep myself on the edge of the tub and praise her constantly we both can make it through.

When getting ready to go through another washing ordeal, I tried looking around for dog shampoo.  Everything seemed to be either crap, expensive, or just expensive crap.  I even found a John Paul Mitchell brand of dog shampoo.  Now I'm not a big designer-brand-name kind of guy, but this sounded awfully familiar.  A quick internet search tells me that I'm thinking of Paul Mitchel shampoo.  Heck, when I do a search I get both shampoos, but the Mitchell isn't on the dog stuff and the John isn't on the human stuff. Guess that is Google for you.

You just know there is some high-end pet shampoo out there that rivals high-end human shampoo.

I had made some dog shampoo in the past.  I cannot remember all of the ingredients, but I did have to go buy Aloe Vera gel.  It was ok, but not really worth the hassle.  Since I was already surfing the web, I did a search for homemade dog shampoo and I found a great, and easy, recipe:

1 Part Antibiotic Hand Soap  to 1 Part White Vinegar

A wet, but happy (and clean) Tessa
Quick, easy, and made with readily available materials. What the hell, worth a shot.  I would have expected it to smell more than it did, but it was easy to use.  It foamed up well and rinsed off very easy.  The best part is that afterwards Tessa did not have that wet-dog smell.  That in itself made this a winner.

Well, the dog got clean, but now I have a helluva mess to clean up in the bathroom.  Oh well, the shower was way overdue for an overhaul anyway.

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