Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jasper!...That's really disgusting

As part of our master plan for Sunday, Hilary and I wanted to get Jasper out on a long walk in the morning. The weather was supposed to be good by midmorning, then deteriorate during the day. With our planned trip to the Cities in the afternoon, we also wanted to be sure Jasper could get out for a while early, because we'd probably be wiped by the end of the day.

So, off we went. The weather was, thankfully, rather nice. Our planned destination for the walk was a nearby coffee house where Hilary and I could tank up, so to speak, and grab a tasty nibble for breakfast. Our hope was that, by the end of the walk, we'd be fed, the dog would be ready to nap the day away, and we could get away quickly. Alas, Jasper had other plans. Our walk takes us along a creek, which in turn feeds into a river. Jasper, being both poodle and labrador, definitely qualifies as a water dog. You can guess where this is headed. While it was nothing new to us that Jasper dashed off into the river before we were a third of the way there, it was a bit of a bother, because the water isn't all that clean to begin with, and he ends up getting little bits of all sorts of stuff that collects on the bank into his hair. Once wet, there didn't seem much sense in preventing him from getting wet again, so he happily dashed in and out of the water about a half-dozen times on our way up to the coffee house.

Also, being a nice morning, he felt like rolling around. That's not too bad, I suppose. Near the end of the river portion of the path, he started rolling particularly enthusiastically. I wanted to bring him back up to the path to put the leash back on him, and so walked down to where he was on the bank. That was when I noticed that he was rolling back and forth over a dead fish.

Yes, you read that correctly, a dead fish.

An 8- or 10-inch river trout from the look of it. It might have been there a little while, too. Only in a dog's mind could it make sense to imbue onesself with the stink of a dead fish. It certainly made no sense to me.

So, picture the scene of Hilary sitting in front of the coffee house while I went in to buy stuff. Jasper is mostly wet, with bits of leaves and twigs in his hair, a dab of mud on his brow and paws, and starting to smell of rotting fish. He happened to be sitting in the sunshine, which on his black fur did no one any favors, and got him to heat up and start to pant. I said picture the scene, not the smell, which would be a combination of wet dog, old fish, and morning breath. Such pleasant company Hilary and I keep.

I got out food and drink and we began the trek back. We kept our pungent companion on the leash, lest he get himself into more odorific trouble. A good thing, too, because he did manage another feat. When we were most of the way back, we noticed that Jasper was chewing on something. This, too, is nothing new - Jasper very much enjoys sampling the gastronomic wonders of the world around him. This hors d'oeuvres was small, furry, and a part of a larger morsel he'd sampled a day or two before. We think it may have been a mouse, or rat, or similar small scurrying creature. Thankfully, we could reel him in. Unable to persuade him to give up his prize, your humble narrator actually pried his mouth open and yanked it out. I like to think I am not a squeamish person - I'm looking forward to the prospect of watching a bit of brain surgery sometime in a few weeks - but this was a test and no mistake. I must have gotten over it quickly, though, because I did a repeat of this scene not five minutes later when Jasper discovered some hunk of bone.

As you can imagine, the ol' boy was in great need of a bath when we got back. His is traditionally good-natured about this ordeal - he mostly just stands there. That is well, because it took a good deal of effort to remove the accumulation of the morning's walk. Needless to say, it meant that Hilary and I didn't get away as quickly this morning as we'd planned.

1 comment:

Clara said...


I don't understand why dogs like to smell horrible. I think it has some vaguely wolf-like origins. If a prey animal smells dog it will run, but dead fish is somehow a whole other story?

We've taught the dog "Leave it" which, depending on the tasty-ness of the morsel, and if it has made it into her mouth yet or not, has varying degrees of success :)