Friday, April 20, 2007

What Do You Smell Like?

"Ringo"- 8x10, Coloured pencil on Mi-Teintes, Private Commission
Copyright Rita Woodburne

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So I was in deep thought again, dear reader, and that can only lead to strange things. My particular subject of pondering was scent...and dogs. Having worked with and around dogs for many years I’ve become very tuned into their odd little quirks and their communication processes. I’m certainly not touting to be an animal communicator or anything of that nature but let’s just say I feel much more kindred to four legged creatures, such as dogs, horses and cats, as opposed to the two legged variety...kangaroos aside.

As I was walking with my critters through the trails on our property I noticed they were all abuzz with the smells of Spring. I can’t tell you the number of squirrels they ran after and didn’t catch. There were also several rabbits I saw bounding away behind stone fences and into the trees. Notice I said ‘I saw’...the dogs didn’t, though. As we got closer to the rabbit’s escape route their noses went up and then straight down to the ground and with that, the mad dash was on. Fortunately for the rabbit, it was long gone but they seemed to have fun trying to track it anyway.
Then there are the other things that they like to stop and smell. A small pile of turned over dirt, presumably where some squirrel or chipmunk has buried a stash of acorns or perhaps the neighbours tulip bulbs. Or how about when they stop and sniff a tree trunk or shrub...checking their pee-mail, perhaps?

All of this made me wonder, what do we smell like to dogs? Obviously we all have our own distinct scent, or using dogs for man-trailing would be rather pointless. What I was wondering is what our specific scent is to a dog. Can they smell the grilled cheese sandwich I had for lunch a few hours ago? What about the 3 month old dried paint that’s on my sweatshirt? Is that “tainting” my scent? After I groom my horse, do I smell like him, therefore confusing the dogs even further into thinking that I'm some sort of shape- shifter? Do they ever think humans are stinky?

So, what do you smell like?

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