I can count on one finger the number of times we have washed Andy the Barking Schnoodle at the Rosenwald chateau/townhouse.
Andy hates water — even water that flows at his own residence. I have seen him take swipes at his water bowl with a left paw hook.
A few years ago, when we tossed him in the bathtub for a soak, my wife and I had to contend with Andy’s remarkable escape skills. He slid through our hands, into our bedroom, and he registered his displeasure by shaking his body violently, thus transferring much of the water to our sleeping zone.
From then on, we let the professionals at PetSmart handle him — until last week.
In today’s paper I have a story about a remarkable woman who went from being a missionary in Liberia to starting a self dog-washing business called the Doggie Washerette. The business is in the District, just over the Maryland line and the friendly confines of this blog, but I decided to take Andy for a wash there anyway.
The Doggie Washerette features the Australian-made K9000 wash machine, which automates the washing much like a car wash, with water, shampoo and conditioner flowing from one hose. This is dog washing for idiots. Still, when I showed my wife pictures from the store’s Web site, she said, “This is gonna be a disaster.”
It was not.
Though Andy did not exactly stroll happily into the store — his tail was between his legs — he did not cry or bark or attempt an escape when, with the help of owner Ethel Taylor, I put him in the tub. I slid my credit card into the machine and the water started flowing.
Andy immediately turned his head away. He squirmed a little. He shook himself a couple times, wetting my glasses. But mostly he seemed to just enjoy the warm water, then the soap, then the conditioner. Ethel reminded me to wash his “undercarriage,” so I washed his “undercarriage.”
I towel-dried him, then took him over to a separate table with a quiet hair dryer, brushing him as I blew warm air around his body and toward his “undercarriage.” Andy even let me brush his teeth, which was a remarkable development considering that the one time I tried that at home I almost lost my thumb.
Andy the Barking Schnoodle seemed so pleased by the whole adventure that he ran to Ethel’s front door and preceded to bark at anyone who walked by, which is precisely how he spends 12-to-14 hours a day at home. Nothing gives him more pleasure than repetitive barking.
“Andy, you like it here, huh?” I said.
He looked at me and barked.