October 30th, 2019
As Labrador transitions from fall to winter, I find myself scrambling to get outdoor chores completed. The windows are pristine clean after removing the tiny eggs winterizing there from the efforts of this summer’s clover mites. The snow came early last year and the cleaning of the basement windows was left until this spring. A tactical err on my part after I discovering an invasion of very small clover mites intent on using each inside window sill as a place to set-up camp. So, I was motivated to get the “to do” list done. Today was our rug weight’s turn. Bailey was being bathed after a summer of romping through the trails, collecting a magnitude of items in her long fur coat. These excursions meant dousing our black fly allergic Newf with bug spray. At the end of the black fly season, Bailey is scrubbed and trimmed for the long winter ahead. My son, who was home on a PD day from school, joined me as we conspired to get Bailey bathed. At 9 am, Bailey was fed 1st breakfast. I quickly whisked her blanket to the washer and put down an old bed sheet in its place – a necessity to capture the falling fur. With a full tummy, Bailey was lulled into contentment. She patiently stood while I trimmed away at her tummy, ears, ruff, legs and rump. The only part not touched by the scissors was her tail. While once glorious with fluffiness, it was still recovering from a shave given when she was badly bitten by the pesky flies at the start of the summer. The first trim was over in 45 minutes. A potty break was next. I learned the hard way that Bailey likes to release her bladder in the bathtub. As I am often in the tub with her, my feet have been royally peed upon in the past. My son put on her harness – the one that she associates with rides in the van – and she headed out for a quick business trip.
In their absence, I readied the bathroom by tying back the shower curtain. Next, a drain screen was placed in the tub to capture the oodles of fur soon to be launched by my furry girl. The tub was lined with two rubber mats which seem to reassure Bailey that she won’t slip. Newfs are sensitive about floor surfaces. I covered the toilet and surrounding area with a large fleece blanket to make clean-up easier. I located Bailey’s puff to spread the shampoo throughout her fur. Finally, I finished up by squirting a small amount of shampoo into an empty bottle and adding water. Bailey returned and was soon suspicious when no van ride appeared. She entered the house under protest and attempted to head for her special blanket in the living room – now covered by a different one that can absorb the water from a very wet Newf. My son made a quick grab for the harness handle and I lifted her back end up off the floor. Bailey likes to dig her nails into the hardwood floor like a stubborn mule. You can see the nail gouges when the sunlight pours in across the living room floor. But, we love her and her nails were trimmed yesterday at the vet. Bailey was half carried into the bathroom where she found herself plunked down in front of the tub. It became quite apparent that she had no intention of hopping into the tub. Plan B was put into action. Cameron lifted the front end in and the two of us struggle with her rear. She was in and I felt ready for another coffee. But first, my girl must be soaked with water and lathered up with shampoo. It is not an easy task. Newfoundland dogs have fur designed to repel water. The shower wand was challenged to say the least. What I needed was a fire hose! I started with the head, ruff and front legs followed by the back and stomach. The rear was left to last. Throughout the ordeal (and it was an ordeal), Bailey and I battled over trying to keep her wet. She is a habitual fur shaker which adds to my challenge of getting her fur really soaked. In her defense, Bailey is pretty good once she gets into the tub. She is not tempted to jump out of the tub. I think she really likes her bath and the accompanying towel rub. By 11 am, we were done.
Bailey left the bathroom like a rocket launching into space after a quick towel dry. I followed seconds later with another towel to finish the job only to have found myself too late. Bailey had shaken herself with such force that the loveseat, framed Bateman print and the wall that it hung on were now dripping with droplets of wet dog. I dried her anyway. She nuzzled me as if to say, all was forgiven. The extra treat might have helped. Bailey was exhausted. I, on the other hand, had 4 loads of wash to do, a tub to rinse and stuff to wipe down. Bailey snoozed through it all. It really is a dog’s life. The two of us headed out later in the afternoon for a final trim and brush down. Lucky for me, Mother Nature took care of the drying and disposal of fur.