Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Need to Foster a Labrador Next Time

I barely finished writing about the fact that Alvin has dramatically decreased his looping behavior and then within a matter of hours I go and ruin it.  I bathed Alvin tonight........ and we both lived to tell about it but barely.  My mom very rudely told Alvin today that he smelled and when I asked her what he smelled like, she replied, "a zoo".  I don't go to zoos because I find seeing animals living in small areas being subjected to people staring at them to be depressing and I end up apologizing out loud to each one of them, which makes me come across as a schizophrenic and people tend to pull their children away from me.  Although I have limited experience with zoos, I don't think smelling like a one was a compliment.  Tomorrow my dad is coming to stay at my house for few day and I decided that being around a zoo animal probably isn't on his bucket list.  The bad part is that I had no sedatives left (for either one of us) and so I knew we were in for quite an experience.  Once again, I stretched and ran in place to get warmed up for the big event and donned by bathing suit to get in with him.  I hoped that Alvin would appreciate my act of solidarity but it seemed to go unnoticed.  This time, I went in with a mission statement, a goal, and an objective.  The mission statement was, to provide my dad with an environment where all three of us were bathed, and I figured it was a two-for with Alvin and me in there together.  The objective was to, wash away the majority of the zoo smell, while giving him the world's quickest bath.  The goal was, that we would both come out alive and neither of us would need surgery afterwords.  Although I can report that we were able to live up to the mission, goal, and objective, I forgot the part about helping Alvin continue to reduce his looping and he has literally not stopped looping since the bath two hours ago.  I also forgot the part about feeling like the world's worst person because he keep trembling and panicking while in the bathtub.  As I'm sure you all know, Alvin is fearful of touch, particularly of any touch that comes over his head and on his back.  For any of you that have bathed a dog, you know that kind of touch is an integral part of the bathing process.  Once we finished, which didn't come too soon because while he was trembling, I was panting and sweating, I then tried to dry him off.  This of course means a lot of touch all over his body, including areas like his stomach, legs and feet.  To put it nicely, that did not go as well as I would have liked and I ended up with a very wet dog looping around the living room.  I pumped the heat up to 80 degrees and it really is a marvel at how fast a very wet dog dries when looping in an 80 degree environment.  I even brought in a bunch of treats to give him during the bath but I realized that he was convinced he was having a near death experience because he would not eat them.  Alvin would be the only dog able to eat while in a coma and so his refusal of treats made me know that I was absolutely terrifying him and my self esteem plummeted to an all-time low. 

After the bath, I laid down towels so that he could rub on them like every other dog on the planet does after a bath but he has no concept of doing such a thing and ended up using one of them to do tight loops on.  Thankfully, it is right next to the wall heater so he is drying in record time.  One thing he did quickly realize is that I felt guilty as sin and that he could capitalize on it, and so he has done nothing but loop and beg for treats, which I have given into more times than I can count because I get this face every time and I just can't resist.

I think I better get a Lab next time because at some point, I need to have a dog that likes water and baths because bathing dogs that are shaking and scared nearly sends me to therapy every time. 

I did come to the realization recently that Alvin has the ability to con me.  A few days ago, we were outside with Alvin on a leash and I decided to ask him to sit.  I have never tried it outside of the house away from the treat container and so I wanted to see if he could do the trick in a different environment.  I asked him to sit, while holding my hand above his head and he started to sit and then repeatedly tried to sniff my hand.  It was very clear that he was try to determine if there was a treat involved and when he discovered that there was not one, he wouldn't sit.  I tried it repeatedly and every time he started to sit, frantically sniffed my hand, and then stood back up.  I didn't press the issue because I found that I was some what impressed with his ability to be manipulative and conniving and it just reinforced my decision not to produce children because I would laugh when they were naughty and end up raising budding sociopaths. 

I have started to wonder how often Alvin reflects on the fact that right now I am his best option and whether that puts him into major depressive episodes.  I think his only consolation is the hope that maybe there is someone there that will deliver him from this loony bin, and so consider it an act of mercy and please help me find someone to take this poor guy before I do irreparable psychological damage to him.  He has his bones packed and he will loop his way to a new home with only a moment's notice and then I will get a Labrador to bathe.

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