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Parting shot.

Victor looked accusingly at his wife, Emily, as if she hadn't bathed recently. Unknown to him she had the same thoughts about him. A faint odor could be discerned in that room.

After exchanging looks with distended nostrils they realized each was blaming the other. "It isn't me," was the lady's denial. "Don't look at me," Vic responded. Togehter they looked at the big German shorthair lying contentedly near the iron stove.

Almost all dogs have, on occasion, found a woodland delight which, fragrant to the animal, is abhorrent to humans. So, the dog was suspect.

Even though strategic sniffing indicated the beast to be blameless, their reasoning was against him. "If it isn't you and it isn't me, it has to be the dog."

Bathing a little dog is a little problem. Bathing a big dog outdoors in the warm summertime is also not much of a hard-to-do. But bathing a great big hunting dog when it is too cold outside for the job can be a catastrophe ready to happen. Yet, Vic and his beloved were convinced the dog was the guilty one.

The kitchen seemed to be the place for the ablution but the absence of any kind of tub moved the operation into the bathroom. Perhaps it was more crowded and confining, but the bathtub would make rinsing possible.

Bathing is totally foreign to a hunting dog. Put a couple of inches of water in the tub, then try to get the big dog into it. When you get the front end in, the back end comes out. It is more difficult than trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.

With two people blocking his escape, the frightened beast stood shivering in the shallow water. Some "Breck for oily hair" had built up a fine lather.

The first attempts at using the shower caused the soaped-up dog to try to climb the tile walls. In horror, he attempted to hurdle the two perpetrators. So, Vic settled for dipping cups of water, and pouring it over the beast.

At last, rubbed down with a towel and still a little soapy around the edges, the German shorthair escaped to lie down in his spot by the stove. There he lay looking accusingly at Vic and His Mrs. For a long time if either of them made a move toward the dog he would dash into the bedroom and the sanctuary under the bed.

The odor persited and, if anything, became more profound. Together they sat in the stove room which is sort of a den, library, and catch-all room. Something smelled bad.

Vic does not have an ordinary wood-burning stove. Instead he has a colossus built by his brother. It is a mass of boiler plates welded and bolted together with the general conformation of a rhinoceros.

As preceeded the dog washing, there now followed a stove sniffing. Together on hands and knees they investigated each seam and corner. Then they came to the conclusion, "It has to be inside the stove." They even invited some unsuspecting neighbors in for a second opinion, but communal stove smelling is not considered one of your better forms of entertainment.

Disassembling a stove, aside from the cold and inconvenience, has one additional but gigantic problem. It is about the dirtiest job that has yet been invented. So, with furniture, hunting gear and part of the library shoved to the side of the room and covered with newspapers, Vic set to work with wrench and screwdriver. A phone call to the inventor/brother assured Vic that the back did come off, but only after the side plates. In other words, he had to strip the stove down to zero.

With the sweet-smelling dog now barred from his favorite resting place, Vic attacked the big stove. The total autopsy revealed only that the stove needed a good cleaning anyway. Soon the spread papers and Victor became the color of the stove-midnight black. The vacuum cleaner served gallantly and then its outside as well as the inside became the color of night. Soot has a way of getting into everything. You can clean, then clean again, yet still find a spot which when wiped will spread into another mess.

So, the stove was cleaned and reassembled. While the room was cut off from the hous and chilled, the smell seemed to disappear.

It was with a sense of relief that Vic got a fire going again.

Soon the room was roastly warm and with the heat came a smell that you could cut with a knife. Suspiciously, Vic now looked at the wall behind the stove. "Could a rodent have found its way between the walls and died?" So, the sniffing began again. One thing about an odor in the stillness of a room is that it is nondirectional. It is there in a big amount for all to enjoy.

The wall of your basic house has two-by-fours exactly 16 inches apart. On the outside is brick, shingles or whatever. Inside are wallboards all clean and painted.

In between there is a space of about four inches. This space is supposed to be occupied with insulation. In Victor's case he suspected some kind of defunct beast, along with the insulation.

The first 16-inch section of wall came down easy. So did the second and third until the entire wall looked like the bones of a skeleton. Yet there was still no solution to the odiferous problem.

To keep out the cold, Vic hastily rebuilt the wall. Naturally, it is impossible to match the old color so he had to paint the entire wall from ceiling to floor. And in the process he had to move some of hsi hunting gear hastily piled in the corner. Halfway through the pile, Vic picked up an L.L. Beam hunting coat worn on the last outing. "Oh boy! This is it!" he shouted as he threw coat and all out into the backyard.

A live rabbit has a strange sweet and poignant odor. Dead and forgotten in the back of a hunting coat, that same rabbit can become America's answer to chemcial warfare.

Things are back to normal at Vic's house now. The new wall is painted, which led to painting all four walls and the ceiling. The stove is clean and heats as it did when new.

And a sweet-smelting German shorthair is in his regular place near the fire. Asleep yet always alert, he still makes a mad dash into the bedroom and under the bed whenever someone turns on the water in the shower.
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Title Annotation:bathing a hunting dog after encounter with skunk
Author:Wolff, Dick
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:column
Date:May 1, 1984
Words:1101
Previous Article:A case for inspection.
Next Article:Washington report.
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