Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Friday, February 17, 2012

And we Both Lived to Tell About it

Operation Bath Time or Bust was successfully completed and no one required emergency medical or psychological assistance.  What I am about to report is 100% true and because it was so funny and could possibly seem as though I embellished the story for additional entertainment value, I grabbed my phone in the middle of it to take a couple of quick pictures so that I could prove it really happened.  I don't have a phone that lets me post the picture directly and so I am going to see if I can text the pictures to someone who can then e-mail them to me and I will then post them here at a later date.

Backing up, I gave Alvin half of his last sedative, got the peanut butter ready, put in a slip resistant bath mat and got ready for battle.  A while ago I read a suggestion from one of our reader's to smear peanut butter on the bathtub ledge and I became extremely hopeful that it would help Alvin from chattering his teeth off while trying to survive bath time.  So, in we both went and I found that he was too nervous to pay attention to the peanut butter, which was surprising because I finally found the one situation where he would turn down food.  I honestly didn't think such an occasion existed.  With the sedative, as well as the non-slip bath mat, we were able to get through the bath without him flailing, panicking, and nearly drowning both of us.  He was able to stand and sit still the whole time and although his little body shook and his teeth chattered in fear, he remained still.  Now for the funny part, while bathing Alvin, Stevie came in and her nose immediately detected the presence of peanut butter.  She got up on her back legs, was half in the bath tub and half out, and was stretching and contorting in an effort to lick every bit of the peanut butter off.  I have never encountered a situation where I have had to repeatedly push a dog out of trying to get in the bath tub when in the past she wanted nothing to do with taking baths.  Alvin was utterly perplexed by Stevie's reaction but I imagine he started to suspect that the little pink pill I gave him was actually a hallucinogenic and that he was seeing things that weren't really occurring.  I did notice that when Stevie kept trying to climb in that Alvin appeared to become more relaxed.  So, there I was trying to keep the dog that was supposed to be in the bath tub calm, while also trying to keep the other dog out. 

The non-slip bath mat that was in the tub was already there due to my mom's knee surgery and that seemed to be a great help because Alvin's legs weren't going out from under him.  While realizing this, I couldn't figure out how it never dawned on me to put one in there for him because it all of a sudden seemed so obvious.  It was further validation as to why it was a gift to society as a whole that I never procreated and became responsible for raising and care taking of an actual human being.  You're welcome world!  The end result was that Alvin was successfully bathed and now smells like a little rose garden.  The first few days after a bath, he has the softest, down-like fur that is nearly as soft as a bunny. 

After getting Alvin out of the tub I still had peanut butter on the inside ledge that Stevie hadn't been able to reach and I figured that one of us had to clean it up and it might as well be her because she would find it far more enjoyable than I would.  I ended up putting her in an empty bath tub while she licked herself into peanut butter induced bliss.  It was then that I got my camera and took a couple pictures of a dog in an empty bathtub.  Once again it was crazy around here because the food obsessed dog refused peanut butter and the dog that I didn't intend to bathe was standing in an empty bath tub with no desire to get out.  I decided then that I might as well bathe Stevie too and allow me to say that life as I knew it in regards to bathing dogs, changed dramatically for the better last night.  Stevie isn't the worst dog in the world to bathe but she does not enjoy it and like a lot of dogs, she repeatedly tries to jump out.  I think in the past that part of her anxiety stemmed from being nearly deaf and before her surgery she was blind and so bathing had to be a bit scary.  She was enough of a challenge that in the past it was easier to get in there with her, semi straddle her back and hold on to her collar with one hand while trying to shampoo, lather, and rinse with the other hand.  I always came away from those episodes with a pulled muscle or two, frustrated, and vowing that Stevie and I could both live with her being a bit stinky and dirty.  To top it off, not only did Stevie get a bath but afterwords, I  had to shower from being in there with her, which resulted in quite a lengthy endeavor.  The real frustration came when the tub would completely drain and I would attempt to towel dry her off while trying to keep her in the bathtub so that she didn't create a running river from the bathroom through the living room.  Even though she was nearly deaf and was blind, she, like every other dog I know, knew exactly when that tub was drained and then we started what I referred to as the steer-wrestling portion of the experience, with me trying to keep her in the tub with one hand while futilely trying to towel dry her off with the other.  But last night was completely different due to that one reader being kind enough to post the peanut butter suggestion for Alvin.  I can't remember who posted the suggestion and so I will refer to that person by his/her Christian name of St. Poster, and indeed you are just that!  The experience was nearly a spiritual one and it was my personal version of the parting of the Red Sea.  Stevie would have been perfectly content to stay in the bathtub all night long if the peanut butter supply had kept being replenished.  I kept the jar next to the tub and when she would lick it all off the ledge I smeared more and strategically smeared it where I needed her head to point.  Not only did we get through the bathing without a hitch but I was able to dry her off to the point that she hardly even left wet paw prints on the floor.  I am sharing this much detail because it was a game changer and I have no doubt that many of you out there have had the similar bathing hardships with dogs and so I wanted to spread the word far and wide.  If I ever ran for political office I would choose to run on the peanut butter bathtub platform because it is that valuable.  I tended to put off bathing the dogs too long because it was just such a pain, with me literally breaking into a sweat and feeling sore afterwords, but now thanks to St. Poster for Stevie  and a little bit of a sedative for Alvin, they will become regular bathing beauties.

Once Alvin was dry I tried to capitalize on the last bit of remaining sedative in his system and attempted to groom him.  That did not go very well but I was able to shave some of the hair on his face off, which helps him not build up as much moisture from his eyes watering so much.  With that said, there will be no picture taking of him right now because he doesn't look so great.  My mom only sees him through Oxycontin tinted glasses and told him that he looked beautiful.  She was telling him this while he was standing in what she now refers to him as his play house aka her walker.  Last time, grooming him took about four days and was not ever completed before his surgery.  This time I am going to request a refill on his sedative prescription and see if we can knock it out in one or two sittings.  He isn't mad at me for grooming him because he seems to have such a good, innocent soul that I suspect that anger isn't something he feels, but he did seem disappointed in me, which is a blow to one's self esteem.

I meant to mention in my last post when writing about Alvin's food issues that he has developed a new odd behavior in the past couple of months.  Imagine Alvin acquiring an odd behavior.....shocking, I know.  His newest, quirky behavior is that when I feed him he takes one mouthful and then gets so excited that he starts twirling around and can't locate his food.  He focuses on me and seems to worry that he might be missing out on something, while appearing to have no idea where his food went.  I can stand right next to his food bowl, while pointing at the food and calling his name and he just keeps going in circles and frantically looking at me.  It doesn't matter how long I stand there, he cannot find it again until I put my hand in the bowl.  Once he locates it again, he will eat it without getting distracted.  It's so odd and has to be seen to fully realize how weird it is.

Cathy at Camp Cocker sent me an e-mail saying that if I thought it would be too difficult for Alvin to adjust to another home that one option to consider would be to have Alvin stay here, come off the adoption list, and become kind of a lifer with Camp Cocker, with them helping with any future medical costs.  At this point I declined because I think that Alvin could do just fine transitioning into an adoptive home.  Up until now, I have assumed that it has been more of a challenge to find an adopter for him because of his pending double knee surgery but now that the surgery has been completed, I am going to start getting offended on his behalf if applications don't start coming in.  He is ready and able to get his forever home so spread the word if you know of anyone that is extra, extra special and lives in California.  I will probably develop my own questionnaire to accompany the Camp Cocker application and I imagine mine will come in at about 10 pages in an essay format, as well as a harmless lie detector test, criminal background check, random drug tests, and a note from the perspective adopter's mother, but other than that, it will be a breeze.  Alvin is officially on the search for his forever home and somebody is going to be very lucky to get this one in a million dog!  As for you my dear Sally, you better start moving (literally) because this little gem of a dog is yours for the taking but I fear that someone is going to swoop in and get your dog if you don't get to moving soon. 

And one more hearty thank you to St. Poster from Stevie and me!

1 comment:

  1. I just love the Alvin updates - I'm hoping that when he finds his forever home, you make it a condition that they update his blog! But they won't make it as funny as you do I bet! I'm glad the bathing went so much better, perhaps now Alvin is a little calmer in the bathtub he will try a little peanut butter next time. And yes, it makes so much difference with the non slip mat doesn't it! :-)