Dog-Washing is Therapeutic — Especially Somewhere Else

by admin | January 3, 2014 9:13 am

Working at the car wash

Working at the car wash, yeah

Come on and sing it with me, car wash

Sing it with the feeling now, car wash yeah

—   Rose Royce


That banal disco song runs through my skull each time I head to the self-service dog wash I recently discovered, with a smelly pooch riding shotgun and looking concerned. Especially if it is Rosie, who hates traveling and pants so incessantly that she leaves drool all over the seat. Rosie is possibly part Yorkie, certainly part Nervous Nellie. She does not like change of routine and equates a car ride with being boarded or suffering some type of indignity at the veterinarian. Her partner Sam, probably part poodle and definitely part skunk, loves riding in the car — until I pull into the parking lot of the dog wash building. Then he looks at me with eyes that can only be described as doleful, as if to say, “Oh, Food Guy, not again with the bath!”

Bathing the dogs in the winter once required pulling the galvanized washtub on to the back deck, filling it with buckets of the right mixture of hot and cold water from the kitchen tap, then hurriedly bathing one of them at a time while we all shivered. Then I would towel a dog off and use my Beautiful Mystery Companion’s hair dryer on the dog in the shop. Next I would round up the other pooch, who by then had gone into deep hiding — having sensed what was coming next. Then I would have to clean up the mess and do a full washer-load of beach towels. It was definitely a chore, which meant the dogs often descended to clothes-pin-to-the-nose stinky before I would break down and bathe them.

Unfortunately, that wouldn’t take long for Sam, who has a predilection for finding smelly things to explore every time he goes outside. Plus he just naturally starts smelling rank far faster than the daintier Rosie. Since I am fairly OCD when it comes to cleanliness and an orderly house, having a smelly dog lying between the television and me is bothersome.

A few times a year I shell out the money to take them to the beauty shop, where they receive a nice haircut and leave smelling divine. But this is expensive, eating up the lion’s share of a C-note for two dogs. The groomer has a funny sign on the counter listing 10 reasons he charges more than a regular hair stylist. I found a similar list on the Web:

10. Your hairdresser doesn’t wash and clean your rear end.

9. You don’t go for eight weeks without washing or brushing your hair.

8. Your hairdresser doesn’t have to give you a sanitary trim.

7. Your hairdresser doesn’t have to clean your ears.

6. Your hairdresser doesn’t have to remove the boogies from your eyes.

5. You sit still for your hairdresser.

4. Your haircut doesn’t include a manicure or pedicure.

3. Your hairdresser only washes and cuts the hair on your head.

2. You don’t bite or scratch your hairdresser.

1. The likelihood of you pooping on the hairdresser is pretty slim.

These are all valid reasons, but still not something I can afford to do more than every three months or so. Then I discovered the self-service dog wash. What a minor masterpiece of genius American capitalism. For roughly the cost of about three grandè lattes from Starbucks, I walk in with a smelly dog and am provided a rubber apron, a nice sink with a restaurant-style faucet already temperature controlled, all the shampoo necessary, an unlimited supply of towels, brushes and other accessories, and an industrial-strength fur dryer. When done, I dump the towels in a laundry basket, pay, and walk out with a mutt that smell lovely. My card is on file, and just like at some sandwich shops, the young woman behind the counter punches a hole for each visit. The 11th dog wash is free!

I am hooked. This has quickly become a Saturday morning ritual, taking the dogs in for a weekly bathing. I find it therapeutic and actually relaxing. Both Sam and Rosie don’t seem to mind once they are actually in the sink being shampooed, and they both love the extensive towel massage that follows. And they know there is an Ol’ Roy biscuit waiting when we get back home.

Those dogs do love their Ol’ Roy biscuits. And I do love those dogs. Especially when they’re clean.

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