On the whole, being a dog, Ted is happy being smelly. He is not concerned when Dougal (my mother's Westie and his best friend) appears looking silver and gleaming (which is most of the time) and the comparison is less than flattering (Ted usually looks yellow beside him).
I am less happy about him being smelly for two reasons : 1) he leaves a horrible and probably best-not-know-what-it-is smell on your hands after you've carried him to the car (don't ask- he's taken to sitting down in the porch when we go out and waiting to be air-lifted to transport ever since Dougal came to stay and did the same thing), and 2) my friends (the non-country elegantly dressed clean ones) look askance at me when he enters the room but politely refrain from saying anything.
The final straw usually comes when he starts to look orange and small children hold their noses in his presence.
In our house dogs are not allowed upstairs. This is my husband's rule (along with the sofa being a no-go area and it being bad manners to sit on people's feet staring at them from under the table while they are eating). I don't disagree and in fact it makes it more of a treat when Christmas Eve comes round and Ted gets his annual sleepover in L's room. They wait for Pa Christmas together ("I know it's you mum!" L said with some exasperation last year as I kissed them both goodnight and reminded them FC wouldn't come if they were both awake. I got round the thorny issue by leaving the stocking at the bottom of L's stairs). The problem with this rule is that the bath is upstairs and for that reason to get Ted clean in a warm environment instead of shivering underneath a cold tap in the garden as M would have it, I am forced to practice some mild deception and give Ted said bath while M is away at work.
Two days ago things had reached the orange fur and small children holding their noses stage. The hour of the bath was carefully chosen to coincide with M being at work and Ted, who the second he heard the bath taps running and saw me coming back down the stairs knew exactly what was afoot, froze and was carried, shaking, upstairs.... L, my willing accomplice, was sworn to secrecy and invested with photographic responsibility (Btw, what on earth has happened to my neck/ chin in this picture? I won't be nominating L for any "flattering angle" shots any time in the near future...).
This is not the first time Ted has had an illicit upstairs bath. M thinks each time has been out in the garden. I thought it was kinder to let him remain in contented ignorance and haven't disabused him. As a result Ted is getting better at baths, or at least, he submits more quickly knowing that the stiller he stands the faster the whole distasteful experience will be over.
The use of the shower was new for this bath. It cut down the soak and rinse cycles dramatically, although it did nearly result in an escaping dog rampaging wetly across the carpet the first time.
He'd got the point of the shower by this time and conceded I wasn't actually trying to drown him but rather introduce some efficiency into the whole procedure. I'm not sure the dejected stance with ears down and chin on bath edge really supports a thesis of bath enjoyment, but never mind.
The best bit of any bath is getting out, because then he gets his own back....by covering the entire bathroom with water....
Afterwards he looked at me as if to say "well you put me in it, you can't have expected any other outcome, surely?"
He still gets the towel treatment....
As soon as he'd been released he rushed out into the garden (despite his best efforts I managed to keep him firmly away from the heap of dirty old chicken straw - I learnt that one the hard way last year). Once on the grass he indulged in a spot of grass rubbing to get the disgusting clean smell off.....
You can tell from the expression he is not at all amused by the new clean look and is planning to sneak off somewhere smelly as soon as possible. To be fair he does look a bit like a Christmas tree decoration with those ears, but at least you can stroke him now without feeling sick.
Better still, when we compared him against Dougal that evening he was definitely the more silver of the two. It won't last long- mum was heard to tell Dougal she'd be whipping him off for a bath as soon as we'd gone home.
Have a good weekend all. CT x