Ray was waiting at the front door. When he realized that his friend was back, he raced to the sliding glass door, closely trailed by Murphy. I slid open the door and watched them race off. I knew they wouldn't want to play for long in the rain.
They reappeared after about 10 minutes. I let them in and grabbed both of their collars so that I could dry them and wipe the mud off of their paws with a towel that I had strategically placed by the door. Ray wasn't that bad, a few quick swipes and he was clean. Murphy was another story. Her longer coat and little legs had collected bit more mud and water. I cleaned her off as well then let them both go play while I went to get their breakfasts.
While they were eating I noticed that there was quite a lot of construction dust and dog dirt on the living room floor. I grabbed the handy swiffer vac and got ready to deploy it. Murphy was watching me with a wary eye. I turned it on and she attacked, growling and snapping at the noisemaker. I quickly turned it off. Murphy immediately went back to her bowl to finish breakfast.
When both of the dogs were done, I turned the vac on again. Murphy attacked again, snarling, growling, and barking. She grabbed the handle and pulled, surprising me with her anti-cleaning stance (although, being a liberated woman, I can understand it). "Hey!" I shouted, "Murphy, NO." Ray's protective instincts kicked in. That was HIS swiffer that was being attacked, dang it! so he attacked the attacker and quickly pinned her to the ground. I grabbed his neck and pulled him off, then held both dogs until everyone had calmed down. The minute I turned them loose, they started playing again. Obviously a pair of short-attention-span-dogs.
That evening, when I picked them up from school, it was still raining. We walked in the house and Felipe was finishing up some trim work in the kitchen. I let the dogs out in the backyard thinking that they would probably just go and pee and come back in. Still in my work clothes, I stood and chatted with Felipe about the project. Ray reappeared at the back door followed by a bouncing ball of mud that turned out to be Murphy. Without much thought, I went to grab a couple of towels before I let them into the kitchen.
I should have taken the time to think it through. The minute I let the dogs in, Ray took off in one direction around me and Murphy the other. I snagged the dirtier dog first, then dragged her with me as I chased Ray down. He had gotten as far as putting one muddy paw on the carpet before I tackled him. Felipe was still standing where he had been all along, a look of shock on his face. All he could say, over and over again was, "Oh my God. Oooh my God. Oooooooh my God." I had an insane urge to laugh.
I dragged them both back into the kitchen and took a moment to appreciate my choice of dirt-colored porcelain tile for the kitchen floor. It was definitely living up to expectations. There were wet muddy footprints and clods of mud everywhere but it didn't actually look that bad.
I held Murphy's collar with one hand and Ray's with the other, then looked around for the leashes. I didn't see them anywhere. "Hey Felipe, can you hold Murphy's collar? I asked. "Sure," he replied looking at her mud-caked feet, "Oooh my God," he said again. I let Ray go. "Stay," I commanded. Ray stayed. I went to fetch the leashes, clipped them on both of the dogs, and knelt on the leashes while I cleaned Ray's feet with the towel. There's something to be said for a tall dog with short hair. He wasn't that dirty.
I let Ray loose and turned my attention to Murphy. The minute I started wiping her with the towel I knew it wasn't going to be enough. She was CAKED with mud up to her hula skirt. The towel was now a mud-spreading mechanism. I wrapped her in it and picked her up, feet forward. I started for the stairs.
Again, I should have thought things through. By this time it was dark and I didn't have a spare hand to turn on a light. Felipe had returned to work and I wasn't going to bother him again. I'd been up the stairs a million times before, I knew how to get where I was going. We hit the wall a couple of times on the way up but made it up, followed closely by the blind hound, without major incident. I carried Murph to Gregg's bathroom, dropped her into the tub, stripped off my socks and followed her in. I closed the sliding shower door and turned on the water to warm it up (it takes forever). Murphy was panting but compliant. I told her what a good girl she was
As soon as the water warmed enough, I tried to drag Murphy towards the faucet. She turned tail and scrabbled to get out. I held her tightly and continued to murmur sweet nothings. I took one of her rear paws and held it under the tap. She seemed to relax when the warm water hit her and stood still, the water streaming over her foot . The tub was filling up with muddy water. Crap. The bathtub stopper was closed. I didn't stop holding Murphy's foot until it was clean. By then the muddy water had completely covered the bottom of the tub. I let that foot go, undid the stopper, and grabbed her other back foot. Rinse. Repeat.
When I tried to turn Murphy around to face the faucet she started to struggle a bit. I upped my flow of nonsense baby talk. "Don't worry, everything's ok. Good girllll." Ray standing outside of the tub this whole time, must have sensed Murphy's resistance and decided to add to the general mayhem by yelling frantically over and over again. The good dog was trying desperately to help his friend in need.
Murphy quickly decided that the warm water on her front feet wasn't as bad as she thought it was going to be. She stood docilely while I finished rinsing her off. I then took my wet hands and used them to get the rest of the mud off of her belly and backside. Murphy didn't seem to mind at all. Ray, however, was still trying to use his voice to blow the shower door down.
When Murphy was clean (enough), I turned off the water, slid open the door and grabbed Gregg's towel to dry off the dog. A touching reunion ensued. Ray was thrilled that I hadn't drowned his best friend as he had feared. I turned Murphy loose and both dogs raced downstairs to play.
I quickly swabbed out Gregg's bathtub, then entered the hall and turned on the light. There were long streaks of mud on the walls, pointing out the direction we had come up the stairs. I wadded up some paper towels, did some commando cleaning, then headed down to the kitchen to clean up the new tile. Felipe had kindly taken the floor in hand, cleaned up the muddy footprints, and was getting ready to leave. I thanked him profusely for his help. He lingered awhile to talk about dogs and to tell me about a blind guy that he had seen on TV that could ride a bike. Then he took his leave, obviously not anxious to face the two hour trip home.
I found myself wondering what he thought about the mayhem in my house.