Thursday, June 9, 2011
On Tuesday, we had people putting a new roof on the house. I had anticipated Roof Day with no small amount of dread, because our dogs are the kind of dogs who bark when anyone approaches the house. Not that they would ever do anything about any of those people approaching the house, but they like to maintain an appropriate amount of false swagger, I suppose. The recent addition of a very small dog and a few people in the house next door, and thus the backyard that borders our own and is only separated by a chain-link fence, still sends them into a fury of outraged hysterics, two months on. So I doubted a day filled with strange people on top of the house pounding away was going to be pleasant for them, or for me, who would be trapped with them. And I didn't have enough advanced warning to beg the veterinarian for some canine valium or anything.
But, to my surprise, they really didn't do badly at all. They barked at first, and they raced up and down the stairs for awhile trying to figure out why they could hear strange men's voices but not see strange men, but eventually they settled down for the most part. I was elated.
And then. Then in the early evening when the roofers had gone I let the dogs out in the backyard again. They ran, they sniffed, they frolicked. All cool. I saw Nox, our lab, twist in the grass on his back, looking like an ecstatically happy canine, glad (I assumed) to see his own patch of yard after a day of imposed exile.
When I let them back in I noticed him rubbing his head against the table legs, then running in to the living room and scraping his sides against the couch, which was odd. But, well, Nox IS odd, so I didn't think that much about it. Then Sophia went to pet him and shrieked, "Nox is covered in something sticky!!"
Indeed he was. We were baffled. I had the kids take him back out and try to hose him off. He went utterly apeshit about it, breaking away and nearly hanging himself in the screen door as he tried to get back in. And still he was sticky.
I went out to investigate and, turns out, the idiot found a spot of tar in the grass where the roofers had been and rolled in it. And he was really thorough. He has clumps of fur tarred together all down his back, on his cheeks, in the thick hair of his throat. It's awful.
The roofers came back the next morning to do the garage, and they gave me a small amount of some special cleaner they had, but I'm afraid to use it on him. I don't want to burn his skin or anything. I don't know... maybe I could spot clean the worst spots with a rag and then rinse really well with water? If he wasn't so damned big and impossible for me to manhandle, I would have already tried this, but I'm just not sure it's a good idea.
Anyway, I feel equal parts sympathy and exasperation for the lovable imbecile. I'd like to think he's learned some sort of lesson, but realistically I doubt it.
I like to think he at least looks slightly embarrassed, anyway.