I was perusing a pet catalog yesterday and was looking through all of the different kinds of pet products and came across shampoos. Then I glanced over at Kitsu & Suki. Yep, they were both due for that four-letter word: BATH. My husband was working on the computer and I mentioned, "Honey, I think the Shibas need a bath." Jim agreed, and was very impressed that I would dive into such a brave undertaking on my own. Now of course I had to set up the bath area, get towels ready, get their specially medicated oatmeal, vanilla and white tea scented shampoo ready (which costs more than my own shampoo) and do all of this without Kitsu or Suki being aware of this preparation. One mere hint of bath time will send them scrambling under a bed or anywhere else they can hide undetected. So the question was, which one do I bathe first? Kitsu is 4 years old and he is used to the routine, isn't thrilled, resists as much as possible, but knows there is a treat at the end of the process. Suki however is only two, thinks the world is ending and lets out the infamous "Shiba Scream". The Shiba scream for those who have never heard of it is an ear-piercing shriek that will literally have your neighbors think something has gone horribly awry in your home and may elicit the response of law enforcement officials. Mind you, no harm is being done, I am talking about a bath here. It was decided, Suki would get her bath first. Now Suki is small, weighs about 17 lbs and is the sweetest little girl on the planet. She has an adorable disposition, can get a little skittish at times, but she is basically one happy little Shiba princess.
So Jim went outside and brushed Suki's fur before her bath as she has been shedding, and he brought Kitsu along with him too. Suki wasn't blowing coat as Shibas do, there were just a lot of these tumbleweeds of fur flying all around. Of course Kitsu was chasing them, trying to catch them which was hysterical. Shibas have a very high prey drive if you did not know, and butterflies, leaves, you name it... if it moves, game on! So after both Suki and Kitsu were brushed down, Jim brought them back inside.
Inside was Mommy, waiting with fluffy towels, a gentle voice and a soft touch. It is like walking on eggshells starting this process, so everything has to be very carefully carried out. I brought Suki into the bathroom and set the water to a comfortable temperature and set the shower sprayer on low with no water in the tub. "Good girl, you are so good and you will get a cookie when we are done", I said softly, knowing that she knew the word "cookie". The minute I sprayed just the smallest amount of water on her feet just to get her used to things, she SHRIEKED, scrambled and did everything possible to get out of that tub. I keep a collar on the Shibas when it is bath time as there needs to be a place for me to hang onto, otherwise they are up and out of that tub and could also slip and hurt themselves. Well I was quite obviously in over my head and I felt like I had about as much control over the situation as someone riding a bull at a rodeo. I yelled, "Jim get in here bring a large plastic cup!" as I thought the tub sprayer may have been scaring her. Jim then held her by the collar and I wet her down and soaped her up. I figured we are already at this point and I am going to do this right. After she was all shampooed and rinsed, I picked her up with a towel and cuddled her so close. I kept saying, "That's a good girl" and made sure she got her cookies immediately after the bath in hopes that this will help in the future. She was wagging her tail as we were toweling her off and she seemed happy. Then of course, she did a big ole Shiba shake and I smelled like a wet dog. Did I mention I was already drenched at this point?
As soon as Suki was free to go from this harrowing ordeal, a very dry Kitsu had this look on his face as if to say, "Noooo way, nice try, not happening" but Jim scooped him up and brought him to the tub. Kitsu really is adorable, he is four years old and can sometimes be a little grumpy. Not aggressive grumpy, just grumpy in a funny kind of way and especially when it involves baths. Here is a Shiba who avoids puddles at all costs, he walks around them. The thought of getting soaked down on purpose seems ridiculous to him. He was not thrilled, but he went along with it and didn't struggle too much. He was actually the best he has been, plus I made sure he knew Suki had just gotten two cookies for her bath. He begrudgingly put up with the bath, got toweled off, and of course shook water off all over the place afterwards. I was unfazed at this point however, letting the water hit me as I was already clearly defeated in any attempt to stay dry. Kitsu got his cookies and went on his merry little way. Then Kitsu and Suki decided to play chase all over the house, and went tearing through the place doing Shiba 500 labs over and over. They had both been out earlier and had plenty of exercise, but they were both full of vinegar after their baths.
Jim and I were both exhausted and soaked. You might ask, "Why not just go to a groomer? This seems like so much work." Shibas in general have very little grooming needs, don't require their fur to be cut and do not require frequent bathing. The sole reason to bring them to a groomer would be for a bath. Well, you know how panicked Suki gets with her own Mom and Dad whom she trusts? I'm convinced she would absolutely blow up or something if I just handed her off to a stranger, she psychologically couldn't handle it. Kitsu on the other hand as I mentioned can be grumpy about bath time with me, but I think he would truly freak out too if he ever went to a groomer. I have basically accepted the fact a long time ago that the Shibas need us to bathe them. So of course I showered after this whole physically and mentally draining ordeal and got myself clean and dried off.
Lastly, comes the the Shiba cuteness attack. I woke up this morning to the cuddliest softest fluffiest Shibas in the whole wide world. We let them sleep in our bed (they let us sleep in the bed?) and they are adorable beyond words. I mean they are so cute I think my head is gonna explode. And sweet, and affectionate, and cuddly ... and have me eating out of their paws....