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It's a Dog's Life: Cleaning Up

The annual January household clean up makes Teddy feel a bit anxious. Helen Stockton, his human translator, explains that Teddy isn't the greatest fan of cleanliness

So, the festivities are over, and, with the decs away, ‘Her Indoors’ seems to feel the need to indulge in that futile activity of moving dust from one surface to another. Spring cleaning might be a thing in some households, but in ours, January is the danger zone. I don’t quite see it myself. As soon as it is done, it starts to deteriorate until it needs doing again – best just to leave everything a bit grubby and save on the effort if you ask me.

‘Her Indoors’ doesn’t just restrain her activities to dusting and cleaning the surfaces, our stuff comes in for the treatment too. Our beds are plastic so they can easily be wiped, but the mattresses have fabric covers so those are unceremoniously stripped off and put in the washing machine with a biological washing tablet and some laundry disinfectant. Anyone would think that us dogs were unhygienic!

As if this wasn’t sufficient indognity, sometimes we get washed too. The warning signs are often subtle and difficult to read for the inexperienced pet. It generally begins with a slight wrinkling of the nose and the suggestion that we are ‘smelling of dog’. What are we supposed to smell of for goodness sake? Actually, like people, we all smell slightly differently. My natural smell has overtones of digestive biscuit, which I take particular pride in. Who wouldn’t want to smell like a lovely snack? Unfortunately, however, my natural, pleasant aroma eventually gets drowned out by environmental factors and I start to smell of things I’ve been in or through. This is risky.

Usually, we get away with one bath every four months, when we go to the groomers. This isn’t too bad as Nicky, our lovely grooming lady, has purpose-built facilities with a walk-in shower. I always give a suitable display of reluctance when I get dropped off, but Nicky rather spoilt this by telling ‘Her Indoors’ how much I like the fur drying fans, leaning into the heat with my eyes shut, snoozing. Anyway, a proper pamper is okay, but occasionally, we get a home DIY job in the bath with any old shampoo – not so good. Still, the result is we get a lot of fussing for looking and smelling good, which can’t be bad.

However, in January it’s usually the house, not the inhabitants, that get the treatment, and provided myself and the apprentice, Bear, are canny and keep out of the way, we escape. Once everything is pristine, we can relax, and focus on getting all our stuff back to how we like it. And the advantage is, come the spring, we don’t need to worry, it’s already been done!

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