A couple years ago, I was gearing myself up to get a dog. When I divorced in September of 2005, the two labs I had raised went with my ex-husband. It had been a few years, and I was feeling ready for a canine companion. We had always had labs. It was December 15, 1988, and Pete and Sarah drove to Miami and bought Vanna, a 10-week old female yellow lab. Two years later, friends gave us Max, then a nine-month old male yellow lab. We were Max's third family; we guessed the original owners mistreated him, a as he was very skittish, especially around men. He also knew the sound of a can opener, so we assumed he'd been raised on canned food. Max was a beautiful, square-headed, broad-chested dog of champion blood line. Vanna died in 1998, and it was obvious that Max missed her. And so did my daughters. In June of 1998, we bought Middy, female yellow lab pup. Max died in 2002, and a year later, Pete and Sarah and Lauren traveled to Miami to buy a male yellow lab. This was the first day of the world series, and the Florida Marlins were playing. We brought home our new pup, and rather tongue-in-cheek, said that if the Marlins won the world series, we'd name him Marlin. Well, the Marlins DID win the world series, and so we named him Marlin. None of us really liked the name, and it was awkward to say. Marlin was the worst dog to house-break. I'm not sure what was so different with him, but one thing was certain: I had never seen a dog that could pee as much as this dog. One day Sarah picked him up, and he was all wet from having just pee'd himself, and she joked, "We should call you Wizzer!" It stuck. So in 2005 I moved out and left Middy and Wizzer with Pete. After several years of being canine-less, I was preparing to change that.
Although I loved the labs we had, I was enamored with the Weimaraner. I thought they were absolutely beautiful, and especially liked the blue weims. I can't explain where it came from, but I wanted a blue female weim, and I'd name her Gracie. I spent a good deal of time reading up on the breed. I also searched the internet for breeders. It appeared I would have to travel to Georgia or the Carolinas to get a weim. I was in no hurry and figured it would happen when the time was right. Then one day in October 2008, a Friday afternoon, everything seemed to be 'going to hell in a handbasket' at work. When my computer refused to cooperate, I walked out of my office in exasperation, walked in to the break room, grabbed the classifieds from the News-Press and sat down aimlessly reading. There it was: 10-week old weimaraner pups for sale. I tore the ad out of the paper and took it home.
That evening, as I was surfing the net to see if I may have missed any article on weimaraners, I decided to call. A man in cape coral had both parents; he was not a breeder, however this was the only time his female had pups. They were pure breds, AKC registered, had the tail docked, dew claws removed, and current on shots. He had one female and one male left. The female was a blue. It was meant to be. The next day, Sarah, Lauren and I drove to Cape Coral and brought home our 10-week old female blue weimaraner. My life hasn't been the same, since.
In all my pre-Gracie reading, I read that it is better to resist washing the coats of the weim; instead, wipe them down with a damp cloth and give them a good brushing. For a year and a half, Gracie has not been bathed. I would rinse her off after being at the beach, but she'd act as if I was torturing her, so the rinse-offs were hurried and brief. When we saw Dr. Patterson last month, I asked him about the bathing (she was starting to smell). He shook his head and said, "not in Florida - you're not going to dry her coat out by bathing her - " So for several weeks, now, I've been planning to bathe her. The problem is it's been sooo cold lately! I came home from work last night, and opened the door to my bedroom. My bedroom smelled like a stinky dog. It was time.
I decided to wash her in my shower. It's a walk-in, and has a hand-held shower head. I lined up a couple of clean towels, lit some candles, put some classical music on the stereo and pulled out a bar of lemongrass soap (that I'd been given at one of the luxury resorts I'd stayed at). I anticipated this not being an easy thing to do, knowing how much Gracie hates the water. (She won't even pee in the rain! she goes under the arecas to have a cover!) I removed her 'correction' collar and put a small choker collar on her and grabbed a leash. (I knew I'd have a fight on my hands getting her in the shower). I put on a swim suit, started the shower to get the bathroom warm and steamy and gave Gracie a good brushing down. I turned off the shower, slathered coconut oil all over Gracie, concentrating heavily on her elbows and pads and massaged it into her coat. Speaking sweetly and encouragingly, I opened the shower door and coaxed Gracie inside. NO WAY. She firmly planted her feet on the floor and pulled back. I had her by the leash and the collar was as tight as it could be. Gosh, I didn't want to hurt her, but she was fighting back so strongly! I picked her up and walked in to the shower and her front paws grabbed onto the side of the door. What a sight!
Gracie doesn't do well on tile or linoleum - she has very long nails that don't retract. I should have put a towel or matt on the shower floor - it was as if she were on ice. (Hind-sight is 20-20!)
I let her 'get her footing' and sniff around. She was shaking and cowering near the door. Poor thing. I slowly turned on the water, and kept the shower head near the floor. Once the water was warm and comfortable, I slowly started it toward her. She jerked away at first, but then slowly began to tolerate it. As I allowed the water to gradually soak her down, cascading over her backside and saturating the sleek grey coat, it appeared as if she - was, actually.... enjoying it?
I turned off the water, lathered up a washcloth with the lemongrass soap and washed her down. I washed her feet and between her toes and scrubbed her coat and swabbed her head. I rinsed her, gently, and this time she really did seem to enjoy the water! I turned off the shower and opened the shower door. Gracie was like a greyhound out of the gate! I grabbed hold of her, put a towel over her head and another over her back. The bathroom floor looked like a war zone, and she bee-lined toward the bedroom. I put an old blanket over the bedspread, and called Gracie up on the bed. I dried her off carefully and thoroughly. She was lovin' this part! As I dried her, she stretched out and rolled over - behaviour I have rarely seen from her. She seemed to really be enjoying the attention. I finished her off with some lavender massage oil, working that into her coat, and a final brushing.
Gracie pranced out into the living room. Clearly, she was 'all that'. Her 's**t didn't stink' - she was fancy, she was special. She'd had a shower! I think it changed her! Today her coat glistens and she doesn't smell like a dog. She almost smells sweet. I think we need to make showering a regular occurance!