Washing Machines of Mass Destruction

Oh great Dr. Budleigh,

My sweet golden retriever heard the sounds of an unbalanced washing machine (loud banging) and the fearless Lily is shaking and quaking at the thought of entering that hallway. I’ve tried a trail of treats, a heap of food and nothing has cured her. She eats her meals close to said washing machine, now dubbed the Great and Powerful Oz, so any thoughts on a cure?

Eternally grateful to ya! Lisa H.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dear Lisa,

To be clear, I’m not a doctor, although I do have a license. Also a microchip in my neck.

However, I often counsel fearful dogs – usually while cowering under the bed with them – to help them face their issues, confront their anxieties, and, ideally, share those trails of treats you mentioned.

It’s not surprising that a dog would be frightened by a washing machine that’s unbalanced, and from your description, possibly psychopathic. It’s just that Lily’s a Golden Retriever, so society expects more from her.

Canines have feared washing machines since Homo sapiens first climbed down from the trees to put in a load of soiled linens. Frankly, we’ve always marveled why you Giants aren’t afraid of them. Washing machines hum and vibrate and make scary, thumpy sounds. They swallow clothes whole, then spit them up drenched, cold, and probably angry. And sometimes, heavy, white foam erupts from their mouths. Kind of like Roxy the Boxer’s mouth before he was dragged from the dog park and shipped to a nice, big farm in the country where we never saw him again.

And you’re not scared? Wake up, Giants!

The best way to treat Lily’s fears is through desensitization, a 12-step program that dogs can complete in a third of that because of all their legs. For starters, acclimate Lily to the washing machine by bringing them together in a safe, neutral space. Try letting them sleep together in your bed. Or carry the washing machine when you take walks.

Next, if trails of treats have failed to entice Lily, consider filling the entire washing machine with her dog food. True, this might be harsh on your laundry, but today’s stain-resistant fabrics are surprisingly hardy.

And what’s with all that clothes washing anyway? Are Giants really that dirty? Don’t bother washing up for us. Dogs enjoy their Giants’ odor. I’m sure Lily loves how you stink, Lisa. We all do. Probably.

Look, Lisa, clearly you’re a good Giant devoted to Lily’s well being. That’s why I recommend that you both enroll in my complete 12-step fear desensitization program, which is tax deductable and chicken-flavored.

Of course, your washing machine is also welcome, although without feet, completing those 12 steps will take forever.


Read more Ask a Terrier columns.

One thought on “Washing Machines of Mass Destruction

  1. Yo thanks, Budleigh-man, really thanks Dude for the guidance counseling on my FOW (fear of washers). I’m really quite pissed that my mother has aired all my fears all over the internet, but I’m super committed to the 12-step program – that is, if the washer will behave and commit itself sans feet and all.

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