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Kitty Reflects on MoreLife

Kitty Reflects7/13/01

This past visit to the cottage was a "Moose Spa" - dedicated to the much needed grooming of our ever faithful but increasingly "fragrant" canine.

It was my second visit to Tom in February last year, I recall, that I casually commented that his car smelled strongly of dog - without a doubt, it stank! By my third visit, however, the car interior had been vacuumed and shampooed leaving only the slightest trace of "Mooseness".

Until last fall for our first overnight trip to the cottage, Moose had not been in the car in almost a year. (He was actually out of practice entering and exiting via the hatchback as previously done on his trips with Tom to California and now had to use the passenger door.) It wasn't but 2 round trips - 3 hours each way - and the car again began to reek of Moose in his absence. Needless to say, the trips themselves were no olfactory delight.

More recently though, with the warm temperatures, which Moose handles with much less ease than the cold, Tom has let Moose take a dip in any public fountain or easily available private sprinkler along our twice daily walks. The resulting wet dog odor became quite noticeable and even Tom agreed with me that Moose now stunk regularly.

It must be explained that brushing Moose had not been a rewarding task for Tom over the 6 years of their association. A 15 to 20 minute brush a couple times a week never diminished the amount of hair balls skittering over the apartment floor. Consequently, Tom often just abandoned the chore for weeks at a time.

So on this past Sunday afternoon after breakfast (we'd arrived much later than planned due to visiting with friends), we began Phase 1 - brushing Moose. The three of us took our positions on the deck; Tom and I with our cups of coffee and Moose resigned to his fate. After approximately 90 minutes of taking turns with the wire prong brush over Moose's entire body - AND filling a shopping bag with fine "Moose down" - we decided that Phase 2 was in order.

Since Moose enjoys water sprinklers, we expected little resistance from him to the hose spray; true to form he didn't disappoint us. With both of us in our swim suits, Tom sprayed and hand lathered while I squirted shampoo and lathered with a rubber hand brush. It was a humorous sight when Moose's patience finally began to wane and he was restrained only by Tom's hold on his tail during the last rinsing.

A swim in the lake was in order after Phase 2, more for Tom although Moose eagerly joined in once we had reached the bottom of the steep steps to the dock. After Tom dove in, Moose looked frustratingly at the water and could be seen to hesitate on how to enter. I led Moose to the large rocks that he'd used before on another visit and he bolted for the water without hesitation. Exiting a few minutes later was not so easy as Tom had to push from behind with me pulling in order to get Moose over the slippery rocks and out on dry ground. (I personally found the water uncomfortably cold when I did venture in and stayed less than 60 seconds. Tom sat on the dock and chuckled at my bravery as Moose seemed to pity my lack of appreciation for the cool deep.)

By Monday morning Moose had completely dried and a change in his appearance was easily noticeable. His mocha color fur was shiny, his body odor was no longer unpleasant, and he actually looked trimmer. We reasoned that the last was because so much fine matted hair near the skin had been removed that his overall cross-section was reduced.

Tuesday morning we repeated in an abbreviated fashion both Phase 1 and 2 of Sunday. The brushing and combing was now free of struggles against matted hair. It was quite therapeutic in fact; much like some describe stroking their cats. Had it not been muggy that day with starving mosquitoes astir, we would have repeated the entire previous procedure, swim and all. Moose got a final dunk in the lake - literally agitated in the water by Tom as he straddled the rocks - but no leisurely swim. As it was, a thunderstorm cut short our day, but not before Moose received his complete intensive grooming.

The really enjoyable results of the Moose Spa has been the increased self esteem we perceive in Moose's behavior. It appears to us that Moose is definitely more physically comfortable after his "ordeal" and actually takes more pride in his appearance. (I admit to a wide streak of anthropomorphism :) He has a certain carriage in his stride that he exhibited before only when approaching other dogs. The many admirers on the neighborhood streets of Toronto, which has always been a source of pleasure to Tom, has actually increased. Like most pet owners and parents, Tom takes pride in Moose's good behavior and appearance which now is more responsive and can actually be described as elegant. We've taken to referring to him as "His Moosenificence" or sometimes just "His Mooseness".

Hearing Tom now plan for monthly Moose Spas provides both us humans with a smile, especially after I vacuumed yesterday and the only hair Tom found on the floor today were Kitty hairs. ;>)


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