The Nose Knows

The Nose Knows

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what about odors?  Why in the Sam Hill do some dogs think they simply must roll in what we consider the foulest-smelling substance they can find, and then trot, grinning from ear to ear, back into the house, looking for all the world like they’ve just solved the Mysteries of the Universe? I am darned if I can figure this out.

Bindi, the very good dog who showed up here at the farm on the day after Thanksgiving last year, and who has been a true Godsend for 99% of the time since, is one of those types.  She seems to think she’s applying perfume by flopping down onto her side, forcefully pressing one ear and the side of her neck into a particular spot on the ground, and pushing forward with her head and shoulder to smear who-knows-what substance deep into her otherwise pristine fur.  Sometimes she wears Eau de Catpoop.  On occasion it’s Eau de Cowflop.  But a few times it was–horror of horrors–Eau de Dead Raccoon.  Yecchh!

My dear sister-in-law Abby told me yesterday on the phone that her vet told her there’s a technical term for this, and that it’s called “scent ecstasy”.  This intrigued me, so I Googled it.  All I saw were a bunch of links pertaining to drug-sniffing dogs and something called MDMA.  No doubt the Internet Police will be keeping a watchful eye on me now.

Then I did a search for “why dogs roll in stinky stuff”, since sometimes the non-technical terms tell us just as much, and maybe keep us out of trouble.  All sorts of theories abound, with the most likely one being something about dogs–as hunters–wanting to disguise their own smell to make it easier to sneak up on potential prey.  An instinctual behavior, so to speak, that no amount of Purina products can completely overcome.

Thankfully, though, in all the years I’ve lived in the Boonies, only one of my dogs has been victim of the Ultimate Odiferous Offense: that of being sprayed by a skunk. I called the vet’s office, where Heather L. was (as usual) able to provide excellent advice.  She told me to mix a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and a bit of dish soap (the kind with degreaser) and apply that (outside, of course) to the area of the dog that had been squirted by the skunk’s oil.  After vigorous massaging of this solution into the dog’s fur, a warm water rinse, a regular shampoo, another thorough rinse, and a long airing out, the dog was actually able to come back inside the house that evening.  Amazing.

Now it’s your turn.  Leave a comment with your dog’s favorite cologne.  And here’s hoping he or she (or you!) never gets skunked!

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Sunset Cruise

Sunset Cruise

Yesterday was eventful. Two years and nine months (almost) after the passing of her Master, a good friend assisted me in loading the Two-Wheeled Mistress onto a trailer and hauling her to the HD dealer in Sedalia, where they will sell her on consignment. Going through the saddle bags and the tool pouch and the shelf of supplies the night before was brutal, but seeing two ol’ boys drooling over her as we drove out of the parking lot helped. Here’s hoping she finds a new owner soon, and that he (or she) will enjoy the bike as much as we did.

Thankfully, Cousin G had invited me to visit with himself and Cousins K & B at the Lake Place, which is about a 45 minute drive from my house. We enjoyed dinner on the screened-in porch, meaningful conversation, and a perfectly relaxing Sunset Cruise on the pontoon boat. It was exactly what I needed.

Keifer and Ziva are Australian Shepherd mix siblings adopted by K & B last year. They’ve grown up spending many weekends at the lake, and they trot excitedly down the ramp, across the dock, and onto the deck of the pontoon with no hesitation whatsoever. The tradition of a Sunset Cruise is obviously something they relish, and watching them post themselves as lookouts at the front of the boat was fascinating. Keifer kept a sharp eye out for blue herons, ducks and geese. Ziva–for the first time ever–jumped up and sat down on the upholstered seat next to Cousin G, taking in the view from a higher vantage point, but acting as though it was something she did every day. As the sun dropped slowly toward the horizon, the temperature of the air cooled accordingly, and the evening was as perfect as it could be.

As the song says: “I get by with a little help from my friends”. And with gratitude for the loving kindness of those friends, I do more than just get by. I really live!

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PS to “Served”

PS to “Served”

Although I wasn’t able to get this photo in time to go with the post last Saturday, it is the view that inspired it.  Miss Dot was kind enough to repeat the pose this evening with her supper.  She didn’t even complain that I caught her chewing with her mouth open!

A Girlfriend for Albert

A Girlfriend for Albert

Companionship can be a wonderful thing.  Albert has been my companion (or at least one of them) for well over three years now.  I think he’s as devoted to me as I am to him.  But one of the drawbacks is the level of worry I experience when I have to be gone for more than a day.  The chain link kennel outside is secure enough, and the roof overhead keeps out a good bit of weather.  He’s had his choice of the two molded plastic doghouses in there, with thick layers of cedar shavings inside for comfort and insulation. The fact remains, however, that he is accustomed to being with me a large percentage of the time.  So when duty calls or the travel bug bites, I stress about Albert getting lonely in his pen back home.

Here’s a really neat website:  www.petfinder.com

This site allows you to filter your search for a dog or cat (or other pets), male or female, young or adult, even specifying “OK with other pets” or “OK with children”.  Enter your ZIP code and it will return results closest to your home first, then radiating outward from there.  These are not pet store animals, they’re rescues.  Dogs who have been found wandering after being abandoned.  Cats who had to be given up by someone entering a nursing home.  For a wide variety of reasons, there are thousands of animals in every state, just waiting for a good home.  The costs are typically minimal, considering what the animal shelters provide.

Glenda S. helps at the Clinton Animal Shelter, and she and her husband Scott began providing a foster home for Dot after she was dumped near their home outside of town.  Their patience and TLC helped turn a terrified, starving young dog into a still-timid-but-willing-to-try, healthy beauty.  When I saw her pictures on the Petfinder site, I was captivated.  Could this long-limbed svelte girl be a suitable companion for Albert?  A phone call and a few messages later, a play-date meeting was arranged.  Albert and Dot exchanged the mandatory sniffs and snuffles common to canines the world over.  But when Dot dashed off, then turned and loped back over into an inviting play stance in front of Albert . . . well, we were had.  Glenda and I sat on the patio, marveling at how the two  raced and chased around the fenced yard, stopping now and then to nuzzle and sniff, then tearing off again in a doggy dance that was exuberance personified.

Recalling that Glenda had helped care for Albert at the Shelter for about four months before he came to live with me, I had a question for her.

“Who named Albert?”

“I did” Glenda said, turning to me with a smile.

So now Albert has a girlfriend.  Well, she’s a girl, and she’s his friend, but they’ve both been to the vet for more than their shots.  Since I don’t have a fenced yard, our trips outside involve leashes for the time being.  After Miss Dot has been here long enough to realize this is Home, she and Albert will get to run and play together again.  Stay tuned for some action photos, or maybe even a video.  He’s already tried to impress her with his mole-digging skills!  Here’s a picture of the new friends, relaxing together.

Albert and Dot

Albert and Dot

Albert the Hunter

Albert the Hunter

Today was one of those rare, fine January days here in Missouri, when the sun comes out and the temperature creeps up and sitting on the porch swing during my lunch break is more temptation than I can resist.  But for my D.G. (that stands for Darn Good) dog Albert, sitting still was the last thing on his mind.  The 55 degree warmth paired with the pasture soil softened by melted snow had him all in a tizzy to hunt.  And once he’s on the trail of a mole, not even the offer of a homemade dog cookie can tear him from his task.  He worked this area today for almost two hours!  Since I had to get back inside to the desk, the final outcome is a mystery this time, except for the exhausted canine stretched out on my couch tonight with what looks like a satisfied, sleepy smile on his face.

And, since the temperature is now dropping like a rock once again, let’s hope Albert got enough of his favorite pastime to last him for a while.  After all, it is January!

To see a short video of Albert The Mole-Digging Dog in action, click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2BzpDUb8Zg

What’s your pet’s favorite hobby?