Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Do You Smell Something?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been an uptick in rolling at the Dog Park. Everywhere I look, there is a dog with its feet in the air, scootching its back and neck into something yucky. Even our Muzzy, who until recently cared only about stealing tennis balls from other dogs, now waits patiently for her turn to roll in a particularly popular spot (down near Crazy Guy's house, under the live oaks). Instead of pouncing on a dog she didn't know (another new and unfortunate behavior), she simply watched and waited. When the dog trotted off, she threw herself down to sop up any stink that might still be absorbed.

In a more fastidious household, all of this rolling might result in an uptick in baths. Alas, I can hardly remember to wash my own hair let alone two shaggy, bath-resistant dogs. Plus, I don't sleep with my dogs, so I can cut them some smell slack. Still, every day, I give them the sniff test. Muzzy always smells like nutmeg—it's a dark, spicy, actually rather pleasant scent. Roma, no matter what I do, always smells like an old sponge—even after baths, so why bother. Our friend Sarah says that she knows that it's time to give Tony-boy a bath when his head smells like enchiladas. Red or green?

I have a host of excuses for not washing the dogs. Our yard is a dust bowl when the weather is dry and a mud pit when it rains. What is the point of washing the dogs if they are going to lie down in dirt while they dry? I know that I could spend money and take them to a groomer or to a local do-it-yourself dog wash that folks have raved about, but, as you know, I'm from New Jersey. I don't pay money to wash my car or my dogs. I have a hose and a bucket and soap. I just need the incentive--a smell so overpowering I can't ignore it. Skunk. That's one I'll respond to. Please don't give my dogs any ideas.

The rose in the photo is my one shining gardening moment this year. Last spring, I transplanted one of my heirloom rose plants (a gift from a Dog Parker who moved to Seattle) from a spot where it was feeling puny to a sunnier location. By May, I realized that I had made a big mistake. I watered that poor plant two or three times a day with stale dog-bowl water in an effort to keep it alive through the hottest, driest summer in fifty years. In September, I was certain that the thing had died. Then, the other day, I noticed one crimson, velvety rosebud hanging from the plant. I snipped it off and brought it inside. It is a flagrantly pungent flower. I move the little vase around with me all day long—from my desk to the dinner table to my bedside table. Dog smell, what dog smell? All I smell is roses.


  1. I am really glad you posted this, because Mindy has suddenly started rolling in stuff, too. She NEVER did so before. But she is suddenly el stinko and I can only assume it's from her rolling in something or another out in the yard. I guess I need a rosebush.

  2. P.S. The "secret word" I had to type after that last comment to show I was not a bot was "pleflu." That seemed strangely appropriate.


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