Fido and I agree that bath time is hell — for totally different reasons.
Fido doesn’t like to get wet. He doesn’t like rain. He doesn’t like streams. He doesn’t like even stepping into puddles. (He does make an exception for rolling in dewy grass on summer mornings.)
I don’t like wrestling a panicky dog into a slippery tub . . . Or the time spent on my achy knees . . . Or the back ache from leaning over the sides of the tub . . . Or managing little cups of shampoo and conditioner with a sidewinding shower hose.
Discovering the benefits of a self-service dog wash center has completely turned around my attitude toward giving the dog bath. It has not, alas, changed Fido’s attitude.
We tried Bubbles Pet Spa in Encino early one Sunday. The helpful staff ushered us to a private cubicle with a raised tub on one side and a grooming counter on the other. The area was clean and well organized. Towels, cotton balls for keeping water of ears and an enormous oil cloth apron were ready on the counter. A short slip leash went over Fido’s head and attached to the wall of the grooming counter or the tub.
The large stainless steel tub meant no bending over to get Fido wet, washed or rinsed. The water temperature was easy to adjust. A simple turn of a dial changed the flow from water only to water and shampoo to water and conditioner. We even had a choice of shampoo — regular, oatmeal or sensitive skin. A rubber mat in the bottom of the tub kept Fido stable.
Because I was concerned about Fido’s sensitive eyes and possible infections from wet ears, I focused on bathing him from neck to tail and back to paws.
Once he was rinsed, I wrapped him in a towel, unhooked him from the tub and moved him to the grooming counter. A blow dryer was available, but I decided to limit the trauma of the experience and just toweled him off.
I spent just $15 for the service. Discounts are available for buying packages of six or 12 self-washing sessions. I walked in without an appointment and didn’t have to wait. Bubbles is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The staff was continuously available to answer questions or to show me the ropes.
If do-it-yourself isn’t your cup of tea, Bubbles also offers full-service hand bathing, grooming and de-shedding services. Their a la carte services include claw trimming, flea and tick baths, brushing, teeth brushing, anal gland expression and de-skunking.
For me, this was the perfect compromise between professional grooming, which is much more than short-coated Fido needs, and the miseries of washing the dog at home.