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My hobby is cleaning dog ears

Dude asleep
Dude asleep
Image from Noreen Natale

Sure, laugh at my hobby.  It may not compare to yours, like biking, hiking, reading, writing, running or whatever.  But if you've ever owned a cocker spaniel, or any spaniel, or any dogs long ears or chronic infections you know the importance of keeping those ears clean.  My hobby goes beyond cleaning, I also make the chore enjoyable for my dogs. 


My dogs are actually joyous when they see me getting the rolled cotton and cleaning solution.  They are quite peaceful and happy afterward too.


In my house the dogs get paid for anything that we do to them.  I subscribe to the same dog behaviorists that give an elephant a treat for lifting a foot for a health inspection, or teaching a dolphin to squeal on command.  After both dogs have their ears cleaned, they race happily to the snackie jar for their payment.


Dude was a two-year old hunting school dropout when we adopted him.  He was fearful and timid.  The first time that I cleaned his ears he tightened his entire body, even the inside of his ear so no liquid could get inside.  I didn't even know that dogs had that ability.  I cleaned what I could, and paid him in accordance with our house rules.  He seemed to understand why Charley was so happy about the procedure when he saw the prize at the end.


The next week I called The Dude toward me after I finished cleaning Charley's ears and The Dude walked slowly toward me.  He held his head low and moved fearfully closer to me, while Charley barked happily around him.  Finally, as I lifted The Dude's head to begin cleaning, I noticed that his shoulders and face were still tense and frozen, but his tail wagged slightly.  It didn't take The Dude long to figure it out.  To rephrase Shakira, "Tails don't lie."

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