Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Puppy Bath

My daughter and I paid a visit to the local Humane Society yesterday, where we have volunteered on a regular basis for the last five years or so. In a typical visit we'll walk a few dogs, say hello to a few cats, and if we're lucky play with some rats.

Not this time. Instead we met four black lab puppies...puppies in desperate need of a bath.
Cleaned-up pup

All four puppies were backfiring, copiously and loosely, due to a case of roundworms and the treatment to get rid of them.

Roundworms are parasites that get into and live in a dog's intestines, and – yuk – consume partially digested food (Puppy Chow, for instance). They really are round, and are three to five inches in length.

The idea in the treatment is to have the dogs blast them out in their stool.

"Stool." Such a nice, acceptable word for a delicate subject. Technically it is not a euphemism. At least, I don't think it is.

These pups were smeared with their own stool. We noticed it immediately: on the dogs, and pooling unmistakably on the kennel floor. I got a big roll of paper towels, went into the kennel, and wiped it up as best I could.

It was a nasty job requiring a lot of paper towels. "If this is the worst thing that happens to me today," I thought, "then it probably won't be too bad of a day."

It became apparent that wiping up the floor wouldn't be enough. The pups had romped around in the muck and got it all over everything, including me. Yeah, it was pretty gross.

A Humane Society employee asked if we'd mind giving the pups a bath. There was no one else available. While we had the puppies out of the kennel, she said, another employee would come along and mop it out.

My daughter is a natural-born helper and lover of all animals. She did not need to be asked twice.

And so, one at a time, we took each puppy to a room with a big metal basin, and washed them down. We had bottles of shampoo and a big stack of thick terrycloth towels.

The puppies never stopped wriggling but didn't mind their baths all that much. On the other hand they hadn't seemed to mind being smeared in shit, either.

Once a pup was finished, we took it out to a fenced-in area while the scouring of their kennel continued. (I say "it" because we never noticed the pups' genders – and it didn't really matter since each animal had been "fixed" – which is definitely a euphemism.)

Not long after we got the puppies out in the fenced-in area they began to backfire again, and slop each other up.

All that work...!

Please check out these puppy pictures from an earlier blog post.

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