Perhaps you've heard...Val has a new puppy. He's not all that new any more. He's about 11 weeks old now. AND in the three weeks since his last (and first vet visit), he almost doubled his weight! Uh huh. He was 3.6 pounds last time, and now he's 5.8 pounds. That's before breakfast, of course, and without his shoes.
Let's not sugarcoat it. Puppy Jack will never be a show dog. He's half Red Heeler (which is, technically, an Australian Cattle Dog) and half Dachshund. Not a recognized breed by the AKC, I'm fairly certain. But I must let you in on a secret that reared its floppy-eared head on Tuesday morning 30 minutes before Jack had to leave for his vet appointment.
JACK IS A WORKING DOG.
Oh, you might have assumed such. His Heeler half was bred to herd herd animals. Cattle, I presume. And his Dachshund ancestors were badger-hunters. So you might infer that Puppy Jack would be a blue-collar kind of dog. What you might not infer is the degree to which that little pup is already punching the time clock.
I went out on the front porch and called for Jack, to make sure he was around and ready for crating to ride in T-Hoe for his 2nd puppy shot. He came running from Hick's Shackytown area, bounding along, front legs outstretched like Superman, lips stretched in a smile, his tiny tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. Up the steps he bounced, his long little body undulating like a reverse Slinky. He immediately tried to climb my lower leg, wiggling to be picked up.
"Look at YOU! Aren't you a sweetie? What's going on? Have you been running through the dew? Did it rain? Your back is all wet, puppy!"
Of course I scooped him up and carried him like a baby. He likes that. Whether he is held on the shoulder like a burping candidate, or on his back in the crook of my elbow so he can gaze at me adoringly, he still has prime vantage to try and poke his tongue in my mouth. He's kind of a little perv, our Jacky.
As our lovefest progressed, with short interludes during which I stopped to pat my sweet, sweet Juno who had arrived from the back porch, I noticed an odor. Jack had reduced his wiggling and attempted French-kissing, and was laying calmly on my chest, his eyes lovingly locked on mine. As I stroked his straight freckled fur, knowing full well that hairs were going to fly into my mouth, I felt an odd texture.
Jack was oily.
He was not wet from dew or overnight rain. That smell was oil. Like engine oil. Like Hick's work pants when he has spent the workday in the swarf pit, which is a room at his factory where oil is separated from the ground-up metal particles after the saw blades are hewn out of bands of steel. But Hick was gone. Gone with the wind. Or at least with the assistance of the jet stream, having flown to England to pack up his machine in France and send it to Germany where he and Hans the guy from Switzerland would get it ready for shipping to the U.S.
How Jack got oily I am not sure. He DID show an unhealthy fascination with an old pink shop towel the day before, which he found somewhere near the BARn. I took it away and put it on the rocking chair, which kind of rubbed Jack the wrong way, so that he kept jumping against the seat of the chair, rocking it, trying to get his towel back, (though I don't know why, since he obviously had no back pocket to stuff it into), all the while BARKING at that shop towel to intimidate it.
Also the day before, I found THIS on the end of the front porch:
That's not something a puppy should be chewing on. I took it away and put it in a cardboard box (where the fat tuxedo cat who hates us likes to sleep) on top of some left-over, unnecessary-brick-sidewalk-straighting lumber was stacked.
I have no idea what Puppy Jack has been up to, but it was certainly poor timing on his part, because I was not taking him to the vet while he was oily. Not in my T-Hoe, even in his crate, because The Pony takes him out if he whimpers.
We had 30 minutes before we left. During which I had to get Jack clean, wake The Pony, take a shower, and load up. There was only one solution.
Puppy Jack had his first bath. Like most babies, his was in the kitchen sink. DON'T TELL HICK! I hollered for The Pony to get up and help. I started running water. It takes about 5 minutes to get hot, you know. I grabbed the medicated pet shampoo we had used on Juno a few weeks back. The Pony hollered NO, that he had found the Mane and Tail Shampoo, which he fetched from the laundry room. I cleared off the kitchen counter and laid out two thirsty towels, then dispatched The Pony to the porch to catch Jack, with instructions that he would be the holder and the shampoo-squirter, and I would do the washing and rinsing.
A better-behaved puppy you never saw than Jack! He never once tried to get out. The Pony merely held his hands on Jack's stubby front legs. There was no struggle. He actually seemed to enjoy the warm bath. In the interest of time, and not wanting to upset Jack, I did not get his whole face washed, but only the top of his head. The rest of his body got the full treatment, though. Then I rinsed him, pulled the plug, and wrapped him in the first towel to cuddle like a baby. When I thought that one had soaked up most of his moisture, I had The Pony hold open the other towel, and we swaddled him and went out onto the porch for the imminent unveiling.
"Pony! I'm going to let him out. Hold him a minute, then put him in his crate so he doesn't go find the oil again. Give him a few pieces of cat kibble, but don't feed him until we get back."
I headed off to the shower, The Pony caged Jack and got dressed, and we were out of there only 1 minute after our previously-planned departure. I must admit, the vet tech, who LOVES Jack, and carried him with her out of the exam room while she went to tell the vet we were ready, DID give him a little sniff. I admitted to the oil and his hasty bath, and she agreed that Jack indeed smelled a bit like oil.
The Pony has found him under Hick's Gator two mornings in a row. I guess he has been doing a little mechanic work before we get up, as evidenced by the spare part and oil. And like a proper working man, he has been observed after hours, hitting the bottle.
One thing is for certain. Jack can work under a vehicle without needing a car creeper.