Today Sophie got dirty. Really dirty. So dirty she warranted a bath.
Sophie is a hound. Hounds don’t like water except to drink. If Sophie gets into the water it is to take a bite. She is not there for messing around. As she is quick to tell you water is for drinking and not for trying to drown yourself in it like her cousin dog the retriever does.
Several years ago Sophie’s cousin came with my niece to stay with us for a month. Having another dog in the house, and worse yet, one that liked water was an eye opener to single-child Sophie the Princess Dog. Right after her cousin got to our house she ran over to her water bowl and took a huge sloppy drink. After that she turned and put her shoulder in the big bowl and dropped her back to roll in the water bowl. My spouse, Sophie and I stood there watching her. My niece called out in a stern but not mean voice, “Alice no.”
Alice turned to my niece with a look of betrayal but stopped rolling in her water bowl. I went and cleaned up the sloppy mess thinking that this was going to be an interesting month. In fact, it did prove to be an interesting month. It was in the early summer so the creeks and rivers and even the low lying areas were very wet. When we would go out for a dog-walk, aka, a hike in the mountains, Alice would make a bee line for anything wet. Sophie thinks play is chasing around so off she went into the wet. Alice was so interesting she would follow her into the mud and muck ignoring the indignity of being a hound playing in water.
Sophie is pretty much a wash-and-wear dog. When she gets yucky on a hike we just take a route that includes some grass and viola, she is all clean. Not so with Alice. Granted retrievers have long hair and hounds don’t but Alice, well she is Alice.
One day Alice and Sophie got mud top to bottom, snout to tip of their tales. Before it died in the fire, we had a 1996 red Subaru with a dog seat cover in the back. Even with that it took me a me a moment to be happy to let them into to the car with all the slop they were wearing. And, I had to lean into their slop to get their seat belts on I got slop all over me too. There they sat, two happy red dogs turned black by snow-melt into marshy land. They were actually dripping.
When we got home there was no question. To the bath they went. Sophie tolerated hers stoically gracing me with her indigent stare. After her bath she had her usually “Ready Freddy one, two, three, GO!” with me opening the bathroom door and her racing out running for dear life making an oval racetrack between our bedroom and the nearby office stopping now and again to rub her shoulder and then scoot her body upside down across the floor. Alice, clean and wet but not dripping took one look, that it looked like a fantastic idea, and we had two dogs who had been in the wash cycle go into the spin cycle. GANG WAY, dogs coming through. We stood in the corner laughing until there were tears in our eyes. No matter that they were racing around in the house re-gather the smells of the house that we had washed off. They had a relationship with the physical place and wanted to reestablish it. They felt totally free in their home and wanted to regain the dog-relationship with it.
Alice and Sophie became fast friends. They shared so many fun things. Alice became at home with Sophie and Sophie with Alice. They taught us that life was fun, a home was a place to be serious and to behave and to sleep but it was also a place where you could be silly and wild and just have fun.