My stinky dog needed a bath.
It was a toasty 80℉ (26 ℃) so I hooked the hose to the laundry room sink, grabbed a stack of towels, positioned everything on the driveway so that it was close at hand and went to fetch Ray.
I have found that Ray is usually not averse to a nice bath as long as the water is warm and the air is too. He came willingly to the driveway and stood passively as I soaked him down and lathered him up. A few times he tried to amble away thinking I probably wouldn't notice if he went slowly enough but I had him on a short leash and was able to step on it to keep him in place.
As soon as I was done, I let go of the leash, picked up the towels and said, "Ok, you're done."
Ray made a beeline for the grass. With his front legs buckled and his butt in the air, Ray rubbed himself down with nature's towel.
I laughed and followed him, threw a towel in his path so that he could dry himself with something a bit more absorbent, then threw another towel over his head and scrubbed his face and ears dry. Ray rolled onto his back biting the air and kicking it with his back feet. He lurched to his feet, gave a mighty shake, and headed to the back gate.
"You wanna go out back?" I asked the shiny clean dog.
Ray picked up his pace and then waited for me to catch up. I found myself thinking of the first time I had ever given him a bath and what a difference a few years make. I let the dog through the back gate. Ray gingerly stepped through the narrow opening, then tucked his butt and took off like a shot across the patio and into the backyard. I followed him, grinning. It is always funny to see a lanky dog like Ray, gamboling.
I crossed the patio and watched Ray run a few tight circles around the yard then enter the shrubbery along the foundation of the house. He went to his grave and spastically started digging, flinging dirt fast and furious. When Ray digs to bury a bone, he is very controlled and serious, his big paws acting like steam shovels on a mission from God. This was different, his whole body was moving, his ears were deployed in Dumbo mode and he was mocking me. Two could play at that game.
"Don't you get yourself dirty," I said to the dog in mock seriousness, "You stop digging right now."
Ray's digging became even more spastic, the dirt was flying even farther. He was mocking back.
"Ray, you stop that digging." I said even more unserious than before. He could tell I was smiling.
Ray stopped digging. His head lifted and he looked in my direction. He trotted 20 feet along the foundation, stopped behind another shrub, and started erratically flinging dirt again, mocking me. I could see it sticking to his wet belly and legs.
I went, took ahold of his collar, and led him out of the shrubs.
"Now Ray," I said reasonably as I wiped the dirt off of him with the towel that I was still holding, "Don't you go getting yourself all dirty again."
I let the dog loose and watched him scamper across the yard to the fence to dig another hole with reckless abandon. He was mocking me again.
I laughed and left him to it.