Every week I wash Sheeba the dog in the garden. This is mainly because she shakes water everywhere and makes a mess, but it also means the water is reused on the garden. My lawn is very patchy and unkempt, but there is one bit of lawn which is very green, even in the middle of summer. The cats think it’s a very nice place to sit. Even when it’s hot, hot, hot, Sheeba stands there shivering and looking forlone. In winter I alternate the cold hose with a bucket of hot water and although this may constitute cruelty, I figure that Perth’s winters are mild, I wash her quickly enough and she loves the towelling off at the end so much that it’s ok. When it’s colder I don’t always wash her every week (I get pretty wet too, which isn’t so fun in winter) but in summer we go to the beach a lot and all that salt and sand get pretty itchy. I know how much Sheeba likes to stink, but she lives inside and so I prefer that newly washed not-so dog smell.
Sheeba likes to lick her wet fur after returning from the walk which follows her wash. When I first noticed this I thought it was because she was bored, but I’ve since worked out that it’s just what she does (although her licking does get worse if she’s bored or unhappy). Michael thinks that Sheeba’s spent too much time around cats and so she thinks she’s a cat.
After a recent wash, when Sheeba was lying on the kitchen floor, I said, “Saliva on top of wet fur won’t improve your cleanliness.” Michael was in the room with his back to me and he thought I was talking to him. Despite the fact that I sometimes say some pretty weird things to Michael, I have never asked him to stop licking himself because it interferes with his personal hygiene. I might say this if he started licking himself, but as far as I know he doesn’t. Sheeba looked up when I said this, but didn’t agree with me.
Another aspect of Sheeba’s licking is that she recently spent the weekend at my parent’s house because Michael and I went down south. She is a bit too attached to us and got pretty sad towards the end of her (very) short holiday and chewed on the thumb nail of one of her paws. She continued to lick it to try to dull the pain and has only made it worse. Sheeba is currently wearing a bucket on her head (not an actual bucket, but an Elizabethan collar) to stop her licking the sore nail and is very embarrassed. In an unrelated incident, one of my cats is also wearing a bucket because he got in a fight and the wound got infected. There’s some very unhappy animals in my house right now.