Bathing a Big Dog

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A soaking wet golden retriever looks like a pathetic drowned rat, but I suspect she enjoys the attention. Does being a water-loving dog include a bath at a pet store? I’m sure she’d rather frolic around in a dirty creek, but this lucky girl gets a shampoo and set about twice a year.

Some guide dog users I know never bathe their dogs, which might seem shocking. But they groom them every day, combing out loose hair and dirt, thus preventing that doggy smell. Another one uses a mobile dog groomer who comes to her house once a month for an outrageous price and bathes her dog in a decked out van for this purpose.

I prefer to bathe my own dog, especially after a couple of bad experiences at a dog-groomer’s shop. Once, Dora came out with a bleeding toenail, and I was furious. I had not told them to trim her nails, but they did anyway. She gets them filed down by walking miles on concrete sidewalks. Another time, she came out with little sores all over her body, which I did not notice until they scabbed over, and I was appalled and sad for her pain. I suspect they used one of those sharp instruments called a furminator, which again, I had not asked for, and they pressed down too hard. It’s a wonderful tool for removing the undercoat, but it costs extra to have them use it, and if it’s not used properly, it can cause cuts in the skin.

When I had Pippen, I just got in the shower with her at home, because she was a little squirt, but Dora is too big for my little bathtub.

Last week, I took her to Mutts and Co, where I was given a huge rubber apron, shampoo for sensitive skin, a special elevated tub, a hose for dispensing the shampoo and warm water, and another one for the dryer. With my friend Kathy’s help, we spent what seemed like hours getting her dry, but it was a frigid day, and I wanted her to not go out wet. Best of all, I had been told by someone that they gave discounts for service dogs, but the gal at the checkout didn’t know how much to discount, so she said it was free and handed me a coupon for the next bath.

Now my precious girl is clean as a whistle and ready for Christmas. She even gets to wear a Christmas bandana, which makes her feel even more special than she already is.

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