Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Dog Bob

The following is a column I wrote several years ago about one of the best Dogs I ever had the privilege to live with. Bob was the homeliest dog and friendliest I ever knew. He looked to be a mongrel mix of Scotti terrier and basset hound. He had a wonderful booming low bark which folks on the outside of the door assumed was a huge animal when he only stood ten inches off the ground.
Bob loved to go for walks and he did so with gusto. He had a heart attack pulling me up our road on a hot July day. I miss him dearly..

Terry Stephan
Changing Lanes: Wet Dog
My dog Bob had a socially unacceptable smell last week.
He is a very friendly dog and will come any time I call him, unless the bathtub is filling. He knows for whom the tub fills.
Bob, near as I can tell, is a combination of half Basset hound and a quarter each of Scottish terrier and Dachshund. He is odd looking. There is as much dog ahead of his short front “bench legs” as there is to the end of his tail.
A friend of mine refers to Bob’s breed as one of “Drachtaar”; I think that’s slang for “mongrel” in Lithuanian.
While he is far from elite looking, Bob has elite attributes. Thousands of generations of his forebears (or maybe, foredogs?) have genetically honed his senses to a fine edge. In the wild, these senses protected his ancestors from being eaten, and helped them to ferret out and kill smaller animals for food.
But, when he smells and hears the bathwater, Fear runs through him as Bob imagines himself clean and smelling good. He runs in terror to protect himself from that fate.
This is the same ten-inch tall dog that on a walk through the woods will plop down in an eight-inch deep mud hole the consistency of bad pudding. If not watched carefully he will then find and roll in a pile of anything that is too gross to mention in mixed company.
You can tell, Bob and I don’t see eye to eye on this cleanliness thing.
Usually a good friend and eternal optimist, Bob will follow me all day long if I am carrying a plate or bowl. The assumption is if I have dropped “human food” in the past I’m bound to do it again at some point in the future.
All optimism and friendship departs, as he becomes wet and soapy. The water disgusts him to an immeasurable degree. He becomes the saddest dog in the world.
After rinsing, I leave him in the tub, shower doors closed, hoping he will shake off excess water. He never does this but waits to jump out of the shower and shake vigorously all over me. Bob regains his dog grin at this point.
Trying to dry a soggy rug left out in a Guatemalan rain forest for a few months would be easier than drying Bob’s coat. An industrial sized clothes dryer could do it but probably is out of the question.
Speaking of machinery, I could make the whole dog-bath process a lot easier. If I removed the top rack of a dishwasher and put a three-inch breathing hole in the door, when the water starts to spray, Bob’s nose would automatically find the hole. I know he would stick his nose out of the hole hard enough to seal the edges so the water didn’t leak on the floor.
This could really be a labor saver. I’ll have to take some measurements. Here Bob, now where is that dog? Here Bob………

No actual automatic dishwashers were harmed or disfigured in any way in the above story. (Bob’s OK too).

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