My dog, Ben, has one obsession (besides anything that can be considered food): personal smells.
I shouldn’t be surprised. He’s part Plott hound (and part Golden Retriever) so, as my partner often says, “he’s got a genetic nose for news.”
Ben spends somewhere on the order of four hours each day just trying to bury his face in the unhappy cat’s rear quarters. Whenever she happens past, whenever her guard is off as she’s eating or jumping or playing or getting stroked, Ben (at 110 pounds, a force to be reckoned with), Ben is immediately there, jockeying for position.
To her credit, the cat can turn on him so swiftly and fiercely that she backs him through the dining area and the living room, and back through the double doors to the solarium where he sleeps. She’s seven pounds of mean under the best of circumstances, and our choice to get a dog was not her best circumstance.
To his credit, he has never made a threatening gesture toward her. Fully 90% of the time, he treats her with complete deference. He’ll be playing frantically with one of his toys, or chasing about after me, but come to a dead stop when the cat draws near. Often, he’ll drop onto his belly and place his head on his paws, looking up at her with his doleful brown eyes peering out beneath his long, dark eyelashes as if to say, “I remain your humble servant, my Queen.”
Except for the times when his nose is trying to attach itself to her rear.
It’s not just her, however.
When his friends, Honey (an elder Golden Retriever), Franky (a lemon drop Beagle and the local “Eddie Haskell” dog), and Germy (for lack of a better name for an unidentified German Shepard), come over to play in the yard, his nose is right there at their south ends.
Yet there is also Gimli, a little ball of fluff that seems part Siberian wolf, a girl dog who picked out our Ben as her beloved when they were both just pups. They have the perfect love affair: they spend as much time as they want together while both can retire home to their own food dishes and beds without argument.
Ben is never happier than when these dogs lift their legs and spray one of his tall snow mounds until the white frosties turn golden. His tail wags excitedly, his mouth drops open expectantly, and he takes a good, long, satisfying whiff.
He can’t understand why my partner runs out into yard each morning equipped with a pale and a shovel, trying to remove these patches of golden snow. For Ben, they’re precious. For us, they’re pee patches and a less than happy reminder that our dog has a more active social life than we do.
Wait.. uh.. argh. Sorry, I have to go. The seven pound cat has the 110 pound dog whimpering in a corner. I suspect he was sniffing something he shouldn’t have, but she’ll keep him like that as long as we let her.