About Me

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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Another Thanksgiving dog story

It was too late when I found Fred completing the ancient dog rite of self-anointment.

He had found something that smelled like a pig sty, and his white throat and orange collar were reeking with a repulsive brown residue.

I've never smelled anything quite that poor in the woods, and the only solution was canine scent exorcism.  

"You're getting a bath". 

Happy-dog turned to hang-dog. He knew what was coming.  

I drove home with the windows open and thought about my options. 

A fecal-scented dog goes over like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl, but when your wife is baking pies the day before Thanksgiving it's far worse than that.  

Full disclosure of Fred's condition clearly was not in the interest of smooth domestic relations, but I had a plan.

The simple act of bathing him for the holiday -- without reference to the real reason, would be a thoughtful consideration.  

I tethered Fred on the deck, drew two buckets of warm water from the mud room without alerting the redhead, donned my rubber boots, and thoroughly lathered the dog twice with a commercial "oatmeal doggie shampoo".

When I toweled him off he was ready to play.

I poked my head in the door to the warm balm of pumpkin pie. 

"Hi Sweetie, I gave Fred a bath so he'll smell good for his birthday".

He rolled on the carpet --  a regular post-bath ritual --  and fetched a toy from his toy box.

I felt the burden ease up, but a little later my wife observed that Fred smelled "a little strange", and asked what shampoo I used?

"He smells like a bowl of hot oatmeal, doesn't he?"

I gave him the sniff test and found that the shampoo had removed 95% of the strange scent.

A faint but distinctive sickly sweet residue remained.

I decided to come clean, and all was well.

I was the only one with the memory of that fetid-scent, and I couldn't get it out of my nose.

We gave Fred his usual dinner of kibble before Thanksgiving dinner, but garnished it for the occasion with pulled turkey neck meat.

Then we gave him his birthday gift -- a new "stumpy toy" (read fuzzy hollow stump with holes and squeaky owl toys inside).

He obsessed with it until dinner was served. 

He sat through the meal with his head near my lap. I was the only one who could smell his scent residue.

The story could have ended there, but there was more.

After dinner Fred amused us with his toys, but when the ladies were washing dishes, he stole the remains of the turkey neck from the kitchen garbage. He wolfed most of it down before I could react to the protests in the kitchen. 

This was definitely out of character, but he seemed to sense that the occasion was his.

The next morning we found that he barfed up the turkey meat next to our bed.

But party dog was back to normal.

Does this give me second thoughts about having a dog? Hell no!  

Fred's an endless source of entertainment, and what's more, he just discovered a new species


ViewMan said...

A classic story....you have to love your pets...

Anonymous said...

Everyone loves a Happy ending....


Brenda said...

Happy Birthday Fred. I sooo remember the day you and all your siblings were born. Your mom is doing well she sends her love.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks, Brenda . . . I went out in the mud and rain today with my friend Gracie and had a ball. Didn't find anything stinky to roll in though . . . oh well, next time.

Nature Girl said...

I couldn't help but sit and giggle as I read your story thinking of similar times when my dog has come back stinking to high heaven of who knows what. Don't they make life interesting?

Camera Trap Codger said...

You gotta love 'em . . . even if they ARE spoiled.

Woody Meristem said...

Our dog always said "Nothing better than a little perfume from a carcase or a pile of ???"

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing as I type this to say I really enjoyed your story and you are a great writer Chris!
I must say!