In Dec., we had a hard search for Matt. In that search, my SAR dogs returned to work for the first time since the bout with the tick born disease, Ehrlichia.
In the week that followed, Magic had a leg seizure and was almost paralyzed with pain. I was not at all sure what had triggered it, but sure hoped it would not reoccur.
In January, while awaiting Connie's arrival, it happened again. This time I got to witness the total problem. And it was NOT an Epileptic Type, but very much like a human "Charlie Horse" or tie up in horses. I knew I had to swim him to rebuild the muscle systems that had been damaged by Ehrlichia and Lymes.
But the weather was ice storms and freezing temps. And in the south that might be rare, but that winter it was becoming way too common. I couldn't seem to hold a schedule of building Magic's swimming and conditioning times. A wonderful idea was floating around in my head. And in June it happened again after I had to stop swimming Magic due to 99° heat index.
Marty, of the BIG Tank fame, was having the same type of problem. Only she had a garage to put it in and could control the inside temps. But heating 350 gallons of water was really expensive in sub zero weather in an unheated garage. Now we CAN heat it while using it...but the water cool off rate is just too fast. We both needed to maintain the 82° to 87° heat range for helping recovering muscles.
So now meet our latest project. Marty's next<G>
"Pat's Schipperke Bath and Spa"
The idea was to build an insulated "Spa" like room that could be cooled in summer and heated in winter to keep water at the correct temps. But the fun was about to begin!
Ray and I had never built anything like a "room" so it was all trial and error (more err I think!) I took pencil to paper to "lay out a plan" and decide what to buy. I went looking for ideas in books and soon had Ray off to purchase the flooring. Treated water proof for long life, easy keeping. And we drilled holes for any stray water to drain off around the tank area. The existing carport floor was cement and sloped for natural drainage. It was done in an evening. And stage one was complete.
Then we had to frame it and place door and windows. We decided to build ONE wall first where we intended to place the grooming station. So we built the wall, built the cabinet and counter space and put in the plumbing. All plumbing is built under the last board and has easy access for repairs. (Aww...the frozen pipes of winter)
The "pipes" are heavy garden hoses designed to hold up under heavy use. Ray drilled holes in the storage room door to run the "pipes" and inserted a Y in the hot water lines to the heater. Works beautiful. The PVC and Hoses run under the floors where it is insulated. You turn it on as you need it with control valves. The drain is a flexible attachment for sinks. The "Sink" is a deep square Laundry sink, which was perfect Schip size and only $17.90 for the tub and $17 for the faucets. Add two brass attachments and two hoses...and you have a great wash area for bathing Schips!
Now for the rest of the building. I sat and used the old noodle to cook up something WE could build. And set out that next week to purchase the lumber for framing. Now to FRAME you have to have the window and doors you're about to use. Stage two was now under way...we had the whole weekend of the Fourth to complete it, too.
And, of course, the first set of windows we got were too big! So a return trip was needed to exchange the biggest window for the next smaller size. The hunt for doors we could afford was our biggest challenge. It took us an added two days to locate the milled aluminum doors we used. 36" size.
Then we had to do the INSIDE next...so we did the paneling and siding that will be water proof. You have LOTS of splashing with swimming a Schip, and LOTS of water when you clean the tank.<G> So all of the walls had to be treated woods, or exterior siding. Well, I did get carried away with a beautiful piece of paneling for the grooming area. I just can't figure a way to photograph it yet!<G> If you look REALLY hard at the wall past Ray's elbow...it's all pecan wood. And along the bottom of the cabinet too. Its classy. The base of the cabinet is the same color as the wall. And the black counter top is texture to prevent slipping. It's mocked stone works and BLACK so the hair doesn't show LOL!
Once I had the set up in place....I added a basket to hold the "air force" dryer. It is under the counter to prevent water splash and for quick access to the hose when my hands are full of Schip, all wiggly and wet! And I finished the window edge with a black shelf. Perfect to hold the tools I need to groom. And then a roll of paper towel, a thermometer, and some of Sharon's cute Schip art. That corner was finished.
Now to start on the outer walls. First we cut the insulation. It didn't need much. Just enough for the normal 30° most winters. And a plastic film for keeping out the elements of wind and rain. (and dog pee<G>). The room was coming together.
Stage three was about to begin. Siding. I had taken back some of the paneling we didn't use. With the extra money, I decided to match the fencing in cedar picket all over the sides. It was an easy and very quick way to cover and the smell is heavenly!<G> The weather had been in the cool 85° degree range for the whole weekend of the Fourth. Now the heat was sneaking back. All of the siding would have to be done late evening, and we worked often till 10 PM. It took us three days of evening work to finish the outer "look". All we lack now are window trims. Under the windows it is "picket" which matches the fence we have around the carport and patio. I think it looks cute. Ray just laughs. But it was Magic's opinion that really got us. He simply peed on it<G>. Marked off for him. He has staked his claim! The plastic did its job. I hosed it down with NO leaks.
So we were ready for the first customers. Magic was the first to race me to the tank. I harnessed him up and he proudly demonstrated the swimming purpose we had designed. I had plenty of room to walk around him. Access to BOTH doors and lots of natural light. Ray couldn't resist coming to watch our success. And to lift him out we simply opened the patio door! Note the white walls which are wood siding painted with exterior paint. Shelves are attached to window ledges bottom and top for storage. A new towel rack hangs over the storage room door. Just waiting to drink up all that Schippy water!
Now don't you think St Ray deserves the first whirlpool spa ??
Humm? They say Arkansas is famous for its Hot Springs. Now I can honestly say He
built it in MY carport just for my Schips! Now THAT is a true Schippy slave. I
am at present shopping for little flip flops and a set of swim trunks!! Magic
has always been style crazy!!
So ends the FIRST story of the Schipperke Bath and Spa. I am sure as the year progresses and we add Air and Heat we'll have up dates. And as we give baths and groom for shows, we'll try to get pictures of the willing victims. Fox loves the sink. He was first in there to demonstrate its easy use.
So come back often and see what new is happening in our Schippy kingdom.
You are listening to "Splish Splash."
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