I'm sorry this isn't a better picture, but it's the only one Aisling and I took that could adequately document Zuzu's first bath. I couldn't bear to have a picture taken of her in the sink -- the poor baby just looked so incredibly pititful and thin. In this picture, Aisling is fluffing Zuzu's bangs while Wimzie looks on, disapproving of this whole urge for cleanliness, even though she herself enjoys a bath a great deal.
The thing that surprised us about the bath is how utterly filthy Zuzu was. Maybe because she's kind of brownish-tannish-greyish, she didn't really look dirty. She didn't smell dirty, as if she'd rolled in something unpleasant. But she did have a general air of insouciant bedragglement that reminded me of Anya leaving the orphanage in the movie Anastasia. Apparently beneath that jaunty surface, she was encrusted in grime, because the water that ran off her little body was the color of charcoal and fireplace ashes.
As with most first dog baths, she was not a happy camper. The water was warm, the shampooey massage comforting, my authoritative voice was low and pleasant. Zuzu didn't squeak, but she trembled so hard, it wrung our hearts.
"Do you think she's remembering being outside with all that snow and ice caked in her poor fur?" Aisling asked, lip trembling.
"I hope not," I said fervently. "I think I'll skip the conditioning rinse this time."
Aisling handed me the towels we'd warmed in the dryer and I wrapped Zuzu like a burrito and lifted her out of the sink, cradled in my arms, speaking soothingly in dulcet tones. We took her to the couch where I sat down with her in my lap and rubbed her gently. Her bones were still so very evident, particularly her ribs and her sharp little breastbone. Poor baby.
Wimzie and Hershey were totally underfoot, expressing their DEEPLY FELT CONCERN for the baby. Hershey planted his big hard paw right on my instep to give himself a little boost up so that he could sniff and make sure that I hadn't washed Zuzu in cheese or bacon fat. Wimzie stood up with her front paws braced on my knee and made sure that I hadn't washed Zuzu with plutonium soap or rinsed her with vodka.
"Ow, will you get off?" I said to Hershey, pulling my foot out from under his. "And Wimzie, back off, honey, so I can set the puppy on the floor."
Once on her feet, Zuzu careened around the downstairs like some kind of wind-up toy run amok. Her long floppy ears flew out behind her and her scampering paws thundered on the floor.
"This bath thing?" she indicated. "Not so much on the fondness for the wet and the bubbles." She expressed her exhilaration at Freedom from Sinkishness by jumping straight up in the air and pouncing on Hershey's back.
He shot me a sidelong glance and did everything but say, "Kids. What're you gonna do?" Then they chased each other around the coffee table four thousand times.
Wimzie, on the other hand, barked in a fussy, bossy manner. "You get right back up there and get wrapped in that towel. Go on! Do you want to catch your death-a cold? Don't make me come up on that couch! Don't make me tell you twice! And I'll thank you, young lady, not to roll your eyes at me."
After a few minutes of zooming around, Zuzu allowed that she'd like to be picked up and cuddled in the warm towel. We naturally obliged and she promptly fell asleep, yawning widely with her long, pink tongue poking out and a contented "wo-o-o-o-o-owww!"
We are so happy that she has joined our family. Sometimes I still find myself shaking my head and thinking, "Three dogs? Are you kidding me?" but it's okay. It's all good. Even if it does up the housework so that the living room won't smell like a kennel.
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