Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Curse of the Stinky Blanket

Wilson's outside, and we're washing all his stinky stuff.

Don't get me wrong, we adopted him a year ago this week, and he is an excellent little hound, but he picks up nasty smells like a dockside prostitute picks up sailors. Who knows where. He don't roll in poo, he doesn't go to the gym, and he's not obviously sweaty like a security guard.

If you don't put dog, stinky blanky and bed through the wash weekly, then the whole flat smells, the car smells, and you smell. Smelly dog, but we love him.

He may be a stinker, but my memory might be playing tricks on me, because I'm clearly blocking out what Snowy - our previous Jack Russell - was like. Memory's like that - only the sweet smell of flowers and the ugly beauty of freshly-laid tarmac makes it through the nasal censor in your head. Dog smells - as a rule - do not.

Snowy had what was known as 'Stinky Blanky', but that was a French mademoiselle's perfumed handkerchief in comparison to that owned by Wilson. Snowy's breath was like death, as was his bottom gas. And in his final months he often didn't make it to the toilet in time, and you would sometimes find him crouched in the hallway, nipping out a log, fixing you with that gimlet stare that said "Yeah? And what are you going to do about it?"

Nothing, that's what.

But we loved him, like we now love Wilson. For the first few weeks, I actually missed cleaning up the poop and disinfecting the wooden floor in the hallway.

Wilson's first act in this house when we brought him home last April was to scour the place and thoroughly destroy anything owned by previous dogs. Toys were shredded with the ruthlessness of a city banker caught with his hand in the till. Then he claimed the sofa as his own, and hobbled his servants by lying across out-stretched legs until the knees were bent backwards so firmly we couldn't run away. We have no resistance to him, at all.

Fortunately, he is possibly the easiest dog to bath I've ever owned, accepting his fate with reasonably good grace, standing head bowed in the bath like a man condemned.

Now, my first dog Snoopy was a real terror to bath. He was the only dog I ever owned that would resort to actual violence to avoid the tub, and we had to resort to the human traits of guile and trickery if we wanted him clean.

Which was often.

We had fields behind our house, and Snoopy liked nothing better than to vault the back fence and not return until he had experienced a thoroughly good roll in freshly-laid horse manure. Like many of the unpleasant jobs around that time, it fell to me to clean the cur, and battle between teenager and beagle was joined.

I was a pretty naive sort at that age and managed to talk myself into anything that involved effort. Mowing the lawn became my job, essentially because I once asked my dad if I could have a push one summer afternoon when he was struggling with the mower, and - as far as I know - the old man has never pushed another lawnmower to this day.

The same went for bathing the dog. Seemed like fun, how hard it could be?

As hard as wrestling with a large, wet, writhing mass with spiky teeth at one end, that's what. Snoopy soon learned that the bathroom meant bad news, and he wouldn't even be bribed in with food or treats after a while. So you would have to pounce on him, wrap him in a blanket, race to the bath and throw him in before he realised what was happening, and woe betide if you left him a fraction of an inch to escape, because he'd find that gap and would be away, like some sort of simile I can't think of at the moment.

In the end, the battle of wits between hapless teen and snarling crap-covered canine resolved itself, like all conflicts do, into a morale-sapping battle where nobody emerges with pride intact, and the victor feels a little ashamed at the lengths he has gone to secure the humiliation of his foe.

Yes, I cornered Snoopy in the greenhouse, in which I had already placed the lawn sprinkler attached to the hose.

The nuclear option. I'm not proud.

Wilson be warned - I note your docile yet resigned attitude toward the dog bath, but I still have my collection of Cold War era books on weapons and tactics. I'm not afraid to use them.


Dioclese said...

Use to have a dog called Harold. They could make a perfect pair...

K9 O'Dor said...

Yeh, yeh. Blame it on the dog.

Anonymous said...

".....Memory's like that - only the sweet smell of flowers and the ugly beauty of freshly-laid tarmac makes it through the nasal censor in your head. Dog smells - as a rule - do not......"

Selective memory? The smart folk call that Hedonic Editing. It keeps us all sane, apparently.