Giving 70 dogs a bath in one day is a surprisingly straightforward operation.
There’s hardly any barking, yelping or bolting. There’s no scratching or biting. There’s just a bottle of shampoo, some warm water, a couple of towels, a handful of volunteers and a dog. Make that a whole lot of dogs.
“Oh, look at your feet,” said Sheila Geraghty, executive director of the Spokane Humane Society, to a volunteer as she entered the dog kennel with a hanging red “closed” sign. “They’re soaked.”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” retorted longtime volunteer Janie Stowell. “I usually end up wetter than they are,” she said, referring to the dogs.
On Sunday, wet shirts and shoes were par for the course as staff and volunteers tended to the facility’s canine residents. They’ve been under quarantine since Oct. 7, following a parvovirus scare that rocked the shelter and ushered in a two-week lock down.
During the spell no dogs could be adopted or brought into the kennel area. They couldn’t be let out, played with or walked.
Only one dog died – the young puppy who carried the highly contagious and sometimes fatal virus with him from San Antonio to Spokane.
His kennel mate, a small mixed-breed named Orange, was quarantined from the rest in his own room. Miraculously, he was cleared Saturday, along with the rest of the 69 dogs, after showing no symptoms for two weeks. The long weeks of confinement, however, had left them dirty doggies.
So the bathing began.
Teri Tucker and her fraternal twins, Hayden and Owen Ainsworth, showed excitement on what they said was their first official day as volunteers at the shelter. The two 12-year-olds took turns between operating the spraying nozzle and pouring the oatmeal shampoo on the pups’ backs.
“He’s like, ‘This is horrible,’ ” Hayden said of a tiny puppy, who was shaking and whimpering.
Each dog got a proper scrubbing, a thorough rinsing and a rigorous drying. Other dogs, which came in shipments and were kept in separate areas from the rest, were shipped off to Petsmart on North Newport Highway, where they’ll likely get adopted before long. Especially the puppies.
The others were cleaned and brought back into the kennel. A long line of barking dogs craving attention awaited their return.
Randi Oien, the shelter’s director of operations, said the dogs will finally be ready for adoption on Friday. Her staff and volunteers can’t wait. And neither can the customers.
“They’ve been looking at the website, waiting,” she said. “We’re absolutely ready to get them a home.”
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