Rugby is a no nonsense sort of dog. He really doesn’t like a lot of fuss over how he looks. If I’m going to fuss over him, he wants it to include lots of snuggles and snacks!
When it’s Bath Day, once he realizes what is going to take place, he typically runs to hide….or he becomes a limp noodle, falling to the ground, acting like the Earth suddenly has too much gravity in that one tiny spot in the room where he happens to be. He makes me scoop him up….limp and hugging the floor as hard as he can….looking just pitiful!
And that was his most recent experience with getting a bath! I brushed him out first, which was probably his first clue that something bad was going down! He survived that experience with some good loving, and treats were not needed, so I saved those for later! I often do some light brushing with him throughout the week, so that there’s no distinct pattern that he can learn! He saw the pile of dog towels, and his dog shampoo….and I think he knew.
He always knows.
He just does.
Usually, I bathe him in the bathtub, but my lower back and knees have really complained about this, so I thought that I would try the shower this time. We have a little seat in our shower, and a hand held shower nozzle, so I thought that he might actually prefer this method of getting a bath. He doesn’t seem to like water being poured over him, and this was something completely different for him, so I thought I would give it a go!
Once I got him in the shower, he was probably more relaxed than he typically is, but in all honesty, if you want to see the absolute definition of pitiful and pathetic, these photos should say it all! (They’re a bit blurry because he was a moving target, and I was afraid that he would get quickly bored with the “pupparazzi” and jump down before I was ready!) He’s a bit too big for the little seat, and that made things a bit challenging to reach and scrub all of him easily, but if I put him on the floor of the shower, my guess is that he would just walk right out once the water starts. Having him a bit elevated helped keep him calmer.
Once I got him completely wet, I was confronted again with just how tiny my dog really is. When he’s wet and pathetic and pitiful looking, he also looks so very vulnerable and scared, and oh so very fragile. That’s my dog. Vulnerable, scared and fragile. And he’s really that same dog when he’s out of the bath and all fluffed up. There’s still this vulnerable, scared and fragile dog underneath all of the fluff and “confidence” that he tries to show.
I need to remember this, because it makes me look at him through a lens that understands who Rugby really is, rather than just another dog that I’ve worked with that day. Rugby has taught me that dogs are so much more sensitive than I often want to remember when they are being rowdy and rough. He’s always responded so well to a gentle hand and training that lets him figure things out for himself.
I’m so very glad that I never gave him back all those years ago when I realized just what a hot mess of a dog he really was. I would have missed out on the best teacher I’ve probably ever had in my life….who happens to be covered in speckled and spotted fluffy fur….and called Rugby James.