Jesse Bailey (my celly) and I are watching football. All of a sudden an Officer is knocking at our door. Jesse opens the door and the officer says, “You need to report to master control.”
Right away we know what this means. Excitement fills our veins. We haven’t had a dog in 6 months! And now it’s time to go pick one up. Within seconds Jesse is out the door!
It seemed like it took an hour for him to get back. In reality it was 18 minutes and 35 seconds. And here he comes, strolling in with a gorgeous Blue Heeler named Willy.”
“Hi Willy,” I say in a soft friendly voice.
Willy jumps up on me as I pet his head and massage both his ears. I immediately think to myself, “This jumping up on people is something we’re going to have to fix.”
But for the time being, I allow it. I’m surprised at how loving and affectionate this dog is. It’s like we’ve known each other for years, yet this is our first encounter. I’m already falling in love!
I’m expecting him to take his paws off me and to redirect his attention elsewhere, like so many dogs do when they first meet a new person in a new environment. But Willy keeps his two front paws on my waist and starts to lick my forearm and wrist as I continue to give him affection.
Finally, after about a full 90 seconds, I say, “off.”
He ignores me. So I say it again as I make him comply.
I smell my hands. They stink! Willy needs a bath.
Jesse and I take Willy into the mop closet, where there’s a big porcelain sink cemented into the floor and in the corner. Above the sink is a 5′ hose. The setup is perfect for doggie baths.
We allow Willy to sniff around and check things out. I turn on the water so he hears it and gets used to the sound. Then we slowly guide Willy over to the floor sink. He sniffs around, all while Jesse and I tell him “good boy” over and over as we pet him and reinforce his positive state of mind.
This is a slow process. A lot of guys rush their dog through it. The dog freaks out and fights them every step of the way. Lucky for Willy, Jesse and I have a different approach.
As Willy has his head over the sink and is sniffing around in the sink, I quickly lift him over the 8″ lip and place him in the sink. Before he can react, Jesse and I are praising him for being a good boy.
I grab the hose and slowly start with his paws. He tries to jump out, but Jesse is holding him. I take the water off him and let him adjust to being in this crazy sink that’s in this crazy room that’s in this crazy new environment.
We’re in no rush. We all have plenty of time.
After a few minutes of loving on Willy, we actually get him to sit. Jesse is sitting on a bucket which is the perfect height for Willy to rest his head in Jesse’s lap. I grab the hose and start on his front paws. I slowly move up to his chest and neck, all while Jesse is comforting Willy. Within a few minutes I have my thumb over the end of the hose and I’m completely spraying down Willy. He offers no resistance and seems to enjoy the warm rinse.
Once the water is no longer brown, we lather him up and scrub him down.
This is going very well. Jesse is doing awesome at keeping Willy in a calm state of mind. All in all, it takes 45 minutes. And now we have a clean, fresh Willy.
Back in the cell we let Willy roam around and check things out. Jesse puts food and water in Willy’s stainless steel bowls in which Willy immediately indulges. I jump up on my bunk and just observed from above. It feels good to finally have a dog. I’m so excited to train Willy and watch him progress.