When my 6-year-old, Leo, wrote on his Christmas list “A bath for the dog!!!!” I realized I couldn’t postpone the inevitable any longer. Marley needed a bath.

This was a conundrum, because it was too cold to bathe her outside. Our 2nd floor tub no longer has a sprayer in it, and was recently remodeled into a too-nice-for-the-dog bathroom. We also have a shower in the basement, but Marley’s advanced age (12) and arthritis prevents her from going down those stairs.

What to do? I couldn’t come up with any better solution than to carry my large dog down into the basement. Not something I recommend you try at home (especially with Marley – she doesn’t like strangers), but, I did it without sustaining any injuries.

Once she was scrubbed clean and brushed, I had to admit, my odd-looking dog was looking pretty good. So I took her outside for a little photo shoot in some lovely fall light.

It never fails – Marley is an attention-getter. We always have a couple passersby stop and stare at her and ask what kind of dog she is. I can understand why – German Wirehaired Pointers aren’t a dog you see every day. And they are pretty odd-looking, what with the wiry mix of gray all over her body and mismatched brown head. Why did we pick a German Wirehaired Pointer? Compromise. I wanted a more common sporting dog like a Labrador or a mixed breed, and Matt, my husband, wanted a Schnauzer. At a minimum, he wanted his dog to have a beard. I also have a history of allergies to dogs (which miraculously improved when we got Marley!) and wanted a dog that didn’t shed a lot. Sure enough, while we were outside for this shoot, someone walked by and asked what kind of dog Marley is. And then told me, “wow, she’s beautiful!” And clean!