What’s big and drooly and stinky all over? NOT Finn! The Beast got a bath last night. And not a moment too soon. (Remember the procrastination post?)
I may sound biased, but I’m sure you would agree with me when I say that my dog is beautiful. At least once a day, a stranger will tell him as much. I think it’s because he looks unique. The wrinkles that dominate his face give him character—at any given moment his eyebrows alone can read sad, confused, pensive, innocent, or wizened.
We call him “the mayor” around here since most folks in the neighborhood know him; even folks I’ve never met approach him like an old friend. If he doesn’t care for you all that much, he’ll act aloof and look away—he’d hate to hurt your feelings. If he likes you, he’ll extend a paw on your arm. If he loves you, he’ll give a full body wag and maybe jump up on you. A handful of souls get that honor. Only a few times have I seem him totally steer clear of a person. I trust his judgment, so I back away, too.
His red, carpet-like fur attracts a blend of city grime and smells—the sidewalks, the grass in the park, the pungently-perfumed ladies who bend down to kiss him on the head. But it’s a chore to simply toss 130 pounds into the shower and rinse him off. My chore this time, too, since I lost a stupid bet with my husband. (Babe, Bat Out of Hell is on my Zune, “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” isn’t. So sue me!) And no amount of eyelash-batting and pretty please’s will turn this into a two-person job. Most of the time, I just jump in the shower with him because I know I’ll be soaked anyway.
A dog this big gets washed in sections, something akin to a butcher’s map of meat cuts. We usually drop a toy in the tub to trick him into thinking it’s play time, or I’ll make up a goofy song as I scrub-a-dub him. But he’s onto us and simply endures it. Once it’s all over, once we’ve squeegied out his paws, towel-dried his head, chamois’d his belly, he seems to appreciate how fresh and soft he is. At least the rest of us do.
This fresh-faced Finn will last a few days at most. He’ll go back to being a drooling stink monster. But for now, to paraphrase the creaky clairvoyant from “Poltergeist,” this dog is clean.