The story of a clean dog and a clean toddler—although it certainly didn’t start that way.
Our neighbors asked our 3-year-old daughter to name their new puppy. It was a gutsy request because our daughter’s favorite word is “No”—and studies show that negativity adversely affects self-esteem. The stakes were high, as the wrong name could lead to a troubled life of delinquency—failing out of puppy school, assaulting designer shoes, even breaking and entering into cupboards and pantries.
While a lesser child could have folded under the pressure of the moment, our daughter demonstrated great poise. She didn’t have to think too long to name the li’l pup after her favorite snack: Crouton. Thankfully, the neighbors are big fans of salad and adored the name.
Crouton and our daughter are an ideal pair. Our daughter is the clumsiest eater imaginable—missing her mouth more than half the time. While the resulting splatter is a disaster for Mommy and Daddy, it’s pretty much a windfall for Crouton, who considers it an all-you-can-eat buffet. In addition to hoovering the floor, Crouton enjoys Turtle Waxing our child—up and down, left and right, and all over again.
To my keen eye, our daughter looks sparkly clean—not a mark on her. To my wife’s keener eye, our daughter has been slobbered on by a puppy. I remind her that dogs are uber-clean—licking themselves constantly as a way to groom and maintain a perfect coat. She reminds me those are cats. Oops.
In general, our daughter loathes cleanliness and is well aware the end-goal of bathing is not in her best interest. To buffer the situation, she insists that Crouton join her for a bath, which is hardly ideal as Crouton is a shedder. Within minutes, our little girl looks like a wooly mammoth.
Our daughter loves splashing Crouton while he enjoys drinking the delicious, borderline grayish bath water. It’s a rather adorable sight. I’m sure I should be filming all of this, and sticking it on YouTube like a normal person would … hoping it goes viral and catches the eye of some executive at Leo Burnett who scores our little pumpkin a multi-year contract to hawk detergent or canned meat. But unfortunately our Internet service is down.
The bath is a success, except for actually getting clean. When we attempt to dry off Crouton in the bath, she cowers, fearing the mysterious toweling off process. Instead, the puppy hops out of the tub and proceeds to embrace the doggie version of stop, drop and roll—peppering the bathroom with waterlogged fur shrapnel. The scent of wet dog is unmistakable.
The festivities abruptly come to end as the soaking wet puppy hears her mommy coming in the front door. Crouton bolts out to greet her, leaving an adorable trail of wet footprints.
Wondering where Crouton has gone, our daughter dismounts from the bath and deduces that the trail of prints will lead to her friend. She makes a beeline to the window searching for clues. Nuzzling her nose to the glass, she looks up and down, left and right—scanning every which way through the obstructed view for her friend. And as she waits patiently, wondering and looking, it occurs to me that while my daughter may be clean, my window is now filthy.