Dirty Dog

December 2, 2016 at 9:09 am (Sweet sticky things)

luna-red-eyeIt’s true, there’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog.

There has almost always been a dog in my life, and not on purpose. As an adult, I couldn’t justify taking responsibility for another life when I couldn’t control my own. And I’m too selfish. But, others have dogs, and like children, you can get the effect without signing on for life. I’ve always enjoyed other people’s dogs.

Growing up, we had an old Australian Shepherd that was the coolest, mellowest ol’ dude. He would run the fence along the backyard, chasing the neighbor’s car. (We often wondered what he would do if he actually caught it?) That, and not-so-gentle rebuffs of his companion dog’s homosexual advances, were the only times we saw him get his gruff on. Most of the time it was a big-dog grin and a hummingbird-like tail.

Major, the ‘gay companion’ to the elder statesman, became ‘that way’ after Dad “fixed” him. Major never reproduced after the boot and the knife; he showed no interest in females after that, either. Major was half pug, half Chihuahua, and if you’d spit on the ground he’d go lick it up. He was the coolest city dog a country boy could own.

Of course, you know about Sandy, beloved canine matriarch of our home the past few years. She served us well, and we miss her. But there’s a new lady of the house.

And she’s all country.

Luna is about six months old now. Once the size of a Nerf football, she’s grown to where her back and my knee are the same height. If there’s something edible in your hand, prepare for a canine tax. She wants a taste of everything. She seems to have tapered off in the growth expansion. She’s the perfect size, for now.

Different breeds have different traits, and some are more useful than others. Luna is Labrador and American Boxer. She looks like Ladybird from King of the Hill, only solid black. Personality-wise, Luna is a kindhearted, loving best friend. When it was time for Sister to go to work, Luna would steal her socks. When that didn’t work, Luna stole her underwear. Luna soon figured out there will always be more clothes. So she took over the bed.

We live in a small house. My Sister and Niece share the living room, along with four cats, two Guinea pigs, two (invited) mice and Luna. When Sister is gone, Luna is perched at the head of the bed between my Niece and the TV, ready to bark at anyone or anything that passes the driveway. She has a hound’s howl, and can sound kinda gnarly when she’s got her game on. With her penchant for rough-housing and her teething factors, we were nervous she might bite visitors. This was put to the test when REACH volunteers came to do a repair on the bathroom recently. Luna barked the minute these ladies touched toes to the driveway, “Owww OOOOO Owww!”

ladybirdandhankWhen we opened the door to let them in? Big ferocious Luna, tail between legs and eyes filled with fright, ran like hell into the backyard.

Guess six months is a bit young to expect murderous protectivity.

Luna has her own chair in the back yard. We put away most of the lawn furniture for the winter, but there is one broken chair we leave out, and Luna will go outside, do her, um, ladybusiness, then go sit on the chair at the table, presumably waiting for us to come out and fire up the barbecue.

Come summertime, we’re going to need an armed guard for the barbecue grill. A certain dog has been known to snatch pieces of cheese off the kitchen counter. An almost-cooked rib? Good luck getting that back.

Another reason dogs can be a hassle? Fleas.

Poor Luna. I love her, but I won’t let her into my room. After getting my room debugged for the umpteenth time, I laid down the law. I’m pretty much the only one in there, including animals. Luna has learned to respect the door. I come into the hallway, give her the doggie-love, and we retreat to our spots. There are no hard feelings. In fact, I have taught her to hug. She sits on the bed, I reach around from the front and she puts her legs on my shoulders. As hugs go, it rates up there with the best.

But those damn fleas! Sister is pesticide-phobic, so we kill what we can by doing laundry. (And using Raid the minute she looks the other way.) This is fine and dandy, but when you have the Flea Grand Hotel running about? You can’t win.

What can we do? Paraphrase with me, AC/DC style: “I’m just a given the dog a bath…”

Luna is still a kid, but she’s like a 14-year-old boy. She’s big enough to do some major damage if she gets overly provoked. Trying to get this fifty-pound ball of teeth and claws into a bathtub could be dangerous. But if anyone could cajole Luna into it, it would be Sister.

She started by running a warm bath about six inches deep, then sat at the edge of the tub. Luna, ever the curious one, came to see whazzup? Sister splashed a bit of warm water, ran some over Luna’s brow. Luna, inquisitive, got a little closer. That’s when Sister went low, did the scoop, and the ballet of avoidance began.

No matter how close Sister got, Luna’s hind-quarters would reach higher. Finally Sis did a slow dunk, and Luna compromised. She held her front paws over the side, like Jason Voorhees coming up into the canoe. Sister scrubbed her backside furiously, getting as much done as possible before Luna shifted.

That’s when Luna shifted, and something magical happened.

Sister grabbed her before she went under, and Luna discovered the comforting warmth of soaking in the tub. She sat on all fours, allowing Sis to soap and scrub and rinse with a metal bowl from the kitchen. After a few minutes the bath water was olive green, dotted with the pepper-like corpses of a flea army defeated by the Wavy Navy.

And now, Luna has had two baths. And now, it’s looking like it might become a nightly routine.

I wonder if we can teach her to shower?

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1 Comment

  1. Luna'sFanClub said,

    Anxiously awaiting Luna’s first snow experience!

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