Tricky Trixie

Trixie - sporting the tousled look after her rub down!
The message from my sister sent from Perth, read: “How’s everybody and everything in Larkin?”  I knew she was actually asking, “How’s Trixie?” but was trying to put it more subtly.  She is of course, also asking after us but I can read between the lines and understand that she meant Trixie more than us.  She knows that her pet is in our good dog-sitter hands while she is holidaying but like any doting “parent” she simply cannot resist asking about her!

Before my sister left for her holiday, I had to undergo a crash course in How-to-bathe-Trixie by observing the step-by-step procedure for giving Trixie a bath.  It starts with the setting up of a plastic portable table in the bathroom for Trixie to stand on while she is showered by warm water.  After rising off the conditioner-shampoo, she is towel dried before finger-dried under the hair-dryer.  By this time, Trixie is impatient to get off the table because she instinctively wants to get comfortable in her own skin again. 

Trixie - enjoying digging herself into the cushions!
In my own experience with bathing my previous [larger] dogs, I use water directly from the garden tap and after being towel dried, they always dashed about and rubbed themselves on the ground to get comfortable again.  My sister warned me that Trixie will do the same and it is her habit to jump on her [my sister’s] bed for a rub-down!  True to her word, as soon as the hair-dryer is switched off, Trixie leapt on the bed and brutally rubbed herself across the bed covers!

When she is good and ready, Trixie is combed to untangle her locks and got any knots snipped off.  After her grooming session, Trixie is so tired and relaxed that she is ready to doze off for a nap.

Armed with this refresher course in [small] dog bathing, I loaded all the necessary paraphernalia for bathing Trixie into my car and transported it to my house.  My sister warned me of Trixie’s aversion to bathing and I’m already aware that like most pets, she will try to evade and resist this hated time of humiliation.  Trixie is so smart that she is able to understand key words in instructions and requests – even the word, “Shower” so I was advised not to utter that word, lest Trixie was spooked and went into hiding, in an attempt to evade the shower!

Trixie enjoying her TV-dinner!
Recently, my sister discovered that Trixie has gone bi-lingual and can also understand the Cantonese translation, “Choong Leong” for the word “Shower.”  So I consciously avoided saying these two words to steer clear of ‘spooking’ poor Trixie before her dreaded shower.  I had to resort to using the Malay translation, “Mandi” and even tried my tongue with the Teochew word, “Chang Aik” and observed that Trixie did not respond to them – yet.

When Trixie is with us, this four-legged friend has the free run of our garden.  Her regular runs are each morning when dad goes out to pick up the delivered newspapers, when mum hangs out the clothes and in the evening, when they are gardening and watering the plants outside.  There are additional forays whenever we step outside for something and she will be close to our heels.  Unless we tell her, “Stay” [and she will obey] she will take every opportunity for a quick dash outdoors. 

All this running around in the damp garden worked up quite a sweat and five days into her stay with us, Trixie was due for a shower.  When I decided to bathe Trixie, I warned mum and dad not to say the taboo words and told them that I was going to “Mandi” her. 

After lunch, I went in my room to change my outfit before showering her.  But dad thought that I had forgotten or changed my mind.  From his armchair in the hall, he raised his voice to say something like, “I thought you were going to shower Trixie?”  He thought I could not hear him and loudly repeated the line with the word, “Shower” over and over again! 

A picture of peace - Trixie resting between
mum and dad on a lazy afternoon
I shushed him and asked him to please stop saying “the word” but it was too late.  Dad argued and disagreed that the word has any effect on the dog but he is wrong.  By this time, Trixie had gone into hiding – totally traumatised by the word! 

I had to remove the furniture to find her cowering under the sofa and gently picked up her tensed body to coax her into cooperating with me for her bath.  Tixie is a good dog and with my gently handling, she reluctantly let me bathe her in the way she was trained to do so.  After drying off, I opened the front door to let her have a run in the compound, hoping that she will enjoy a rub out on the ground but she took one spin and headed back to her favourite seat on the sofa and rubbed off on the cushions!

In reply to my sister’s question, I said, “She’s fine.”  And she is indeed.  She likes to manipulate mum and dad and often ends up pampered like a princess as they persuade her to eat her chicken drumstick dinners.  Every now and then, Trixie takes too long to finish her meal and mum will set it out in front of the TV for her to have a TV-dinner!  Ah… is this a dog’s life or what?!


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