(Un)Perks of Dog Ownership

If you have ever owned a dog, I don't have to explain that moment of horror when you see your dog start to grind and roll on something on the ground when they're off lead. It takes you a moment to get there and pry the dog(s) in question away from the often dead and nearly always disgusting thing they've discovered, and cries of "No! Leave it!" are willfully ignored during that moment. It is during these lost seconds that they absorb more scent than seems strictly possible in such a short time.

This happened earlier this afternoon on a rich kid school playground that we let the dogs off lead to race around in sometimes, when it's not inhabited by playing rich kids. Almost as soon as he was free, Puck the dog went to town in a pile of leaves near the fence. Emma came over to investigate, but I was mostly able to keep her away. My own shoes? Not so much.

You do not want to know what it was. I'll just say that the phrase "awful offal" was bandied about on the way home. I'm not thinking too closely about it, although it's still on my shoes.

The dogs have both been bathed–against their extremely strong wills–and, paraphrasing the immortal words of Gillian Welch, have shaken like chorus girls, like holy rollers, like their souls were at stake, like hurricanes, like to make it break (actually, a vase-type thing did break).

But now they are mostly quieted, and they look funny with spiky wet hair. Their collars and a whole bunch of towels are soaking in the washer. The cat is hiding out, and everything is back to normal. 

At least until the next time this happens.

2 thoughts on “(Un)Perks of Dog Ownership”

  1. What is it in a dog’s instinct to do this? Does it make them feel like they have taken on the spirit of the dead (the way various cultures have shaman wear the animal skins of certain spirits)? Or is it like guys who refuse to wash their lucky shirts/socks/etc because there’s some sort of olfactory magic in them thar scents?

  2. I used to wonder why Casey was so intrigued by the skunk when his nose is so much more sensitive than mine, and it’s like, the smelliest thing ever. And then I realized that clearly, he’s getting more out of it than I am. He is still stinky, and still needs to bathed.
    Also, disgusting as them rolling in it is, the worst is still eating. My father’s dogs are not allowed off leash in the woods for a few weeks after deer season because of the rotted deer guts. And there’s an incident involving the rottweiler and a really dead gopher that will never leave my mother’s memory.

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