Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Nose with Four Paws

I've been trying to take some new pictures of Bonnie, while out walking. I've noticed a definite theme:

Hmm, what is that?

Now *that* smells interesting!

Any mail?

Clearly, for Bonnie, the purpose of a walk is to sniff, smell, and investigate everything. When children see her, they ask to pet her (who can blame them; what's more appealing than a beagle?), and I can usually persuade her to sit politely for a couple minutes - but she really wants to be up and about, checking out All.The.Smells. If her hearing has deteriorated somewhat (which may indeed be the case - or perhaps she just ignores us more), her sniffer seems just fine.

Peter Tyson, in Dogs' Dazzling Sense of Smell, wrote
Dogs' sense of smell overpowers our own by orders of magnitude—it's 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute, scientists say. "Let's suppose they're just 10,000 times better," says James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, who, with several colleagues, came up with that jaw-dropping estimate during a rigorously designed, oft-cited study. "If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well."
Wow. That is approximately the distance across the United States (east coast to west coast). If Bonnie is picking up all those smells, I wonder why her head doesn't explode. . . !

I heard a poem the other day, on the Writer's Almanac. The narrator was a dog, so of course I thought of our Bonnie - but really, I think this poem isn't about a dog at all, but about people and commitment. I like the image in the last stanza, "each time I put the stick at her feet / I would say this is my heart / and she would say I will make it fly / but you must bring it back to me."

We must guard those hearts, whether canine or human...
If I Were a Dog
by Richard Shelton

I would trot down this road sniffing
on one side and then the other
peeing a little here and there
wherever I felt the urge
having a good time what the hell
saving some because it's a long road

but since I'm not a dog
I walk straight down the road
trying to get home before dark

if I were a dog and I had a master
who beat me I would run away
and go hungry and sniff around
until I found a master who loved me
I could tell by his smell and I
would lick his face so he knew

or maybe it would be a woman
I would protect her we could go
everywhere together even down this
dark road and I wouldn't run from side
to side sniffing I would always
be protecting her and I would stop
to pee only once in awhile

sometimes in the afternoon we could
go to the park and she would throw
a stick I would bring it back to her

each time I put the stick at her feet
I would say this is my heart
and she would say I will make it fly
but you must bring it back to me
I would always bring it back to her
and to no other if I were a dog

1 comment:

  1. That's a great poem. Bonnie is a great dog. And you are the greatest of all--Your Loving Husband