I see it all the time. They come in dragging 3 or 4 stairstep kids behind them, because "The kids are going to help wash the dog!" But, I know better. No matter how good the intentions, it always ends the same, there's screaming, fighting, and eventually tears. And, I hate it, because I really shouldn't cry at work!Mom and Dad walk through the door, usually with a lab or a golden in tow. We got the dog strapped into the tub, and where are the kids? They're swinging on the gate, popping each other with the towels, and pulling all the grooming tools off the table, asking "What's this for?" Little Johnny, intrigued with the shedding blade, tries it on his little sister, just to see if it works! Upon hearing the screeching coming from Little Janie, Mom says, "Why don't you come help."
The kids go running to the tub, and demand to take possession of the hose, at which point they immediately spray down the walls, their mother, me, everything BUT the dog. Mom, looking somewhat sheepish, repossesses the hose and continues to wash the dog. The kids, once again unmonitored, go back to playing with the equipment.
When the bath is done, out comes the dryer. Kids once again flock to the tub, each wanting their turn at drying. The mother, thinking this will be safer than the water, hands the hose to the oldest child. The kids start pushing and shoving, each demanding their turn, which causes the eldest to drop the hose, which begins to flop around on the floor. (If you've ever seen the cartoons where the fireman lets go of the hose and it fishtails around on the ground, hosing everything down- imagine that force, only of air.) The air blows the clock off the wall, hits the youngest child in the knees, dropping him to the floor, causing him to start crying. The other two dive on the hose as it blows under the tub and dog hair bursts into the air like a yellow fog.
Once we manage to regroup and get the dryer under control, mother once again sends the kids off to play. Little Janie grabs the nail clippers and tries to pry them open to see how they work. The little one, once again, is hanging on the gate as Little Johnny pushes him back and forth like a swing.
Giving up before the dog is even halfway dry, Mom chains him to the fence in order to brush off the dead hair. Once again, the dog is bombarded by the three kids, with a grooming tool in each hand, comprising of 2 slicker brushes, a pin brush, a shedding blade, a comb and an undercoat rake. The poor dog looks at me, begging for help. Little Johnny manages to cut himself and the other 2 kids with the shedding blade. Once again, there's screaming. (But, luckily, no blood.)
Now comes our favorite part of the whole trip- the nails! Mom holds the dog still so I can cut the nails. Every time I cut, the dog jumps, and little Janie screams, "Your hurting her!" To which mother and I both say, "No, we're not. She just doesn't like this." The dog, in the meantime, also screams, reacting to Little Janie. The whole nail process takes ten times longer than it should because we have to calm down the dog AND the children between each and every toenail!
Finally, mother and children are ready to leave. Dad, who has been sitting in the chair upfront only stands to interfere when it's time to pay. When the clan is safely packed into the mini-van, I turn back to the shop, which looks like a plague of locusts whipped through. Every grooming tool in the shop is dirty and littered on the floor, the tables, the tubs. Most of the towels are on the floor (even the clean ones). There is dog hair hanging from the ceiling. With a heavy sigh, I begin the process of clean up.
Meanwhile, back at home, my 4 poodles are sound asleep on the couch.
So, you tell me. Is having 4 kids better than having 4 dogs?