Eau de Duckpoo
Have you ever asked yourself why dogs roll in the most horrendous smelling stuff they can find, be it rotting fish, putrefying pigeon, steaming ripe cow pats, the list is endless as well as dumbfounding. It appears to be a case of the stinkier the better.
And they do it with such joy and verve. Their eyes brighten and their mouths positively grin with the thrill of it all. And they don’t approach this act in any cavalier, haphazard fashion; there is method to this madness. They start by kneeling their front legs down so as to carefully apply a smear of stink under each ear and along each cheek. Then they lean further down so as to anoint the shoulders and neck with the highly valued bouquet, before rolling over for the total body spritz.
When the required coverage is achieved it’s time for a good refreshing shake before trotting off head held high ready for anything the world may offer.
There are various theories as to why dogs engage in this behaviour. Some suggest that they are applying their own scent to a valuable resource thus marking it their own, others suggest that it is a way of camouflaging their own odour with that of something else.
My favourite theory, and the one that appears to me as the most logical, also explains why we humans anoint our bodies with scents and perfumes. They like it; it smells good, so why not wear it. Don’t we do the exact same thing? Since Egyptian times we have used scents and oils for many reasons including our own self-satisfaction, to attract others, and for medicinal purposes.
The problem is that dogs and humans don’t tend to agree on what smells good and what smells bad. I personally love the coconut conditioning spray I put on my dog Chewy each bath time, she on the other hand heads straight for her beanbag and spends a good 10 minutes trying to rub it off.
Chloe, my brothers little Maltese, simply adored duck poo. Her favourite time of year must have been summer when the ducks do the rounds of the local backyards begging for multi grain and leaving their little calling cards on peoples lawns. You could see her delight as she sought out their offerings and bathed her body in the intoxicating aroma.
So although my immediate response was “oh no the duck poo”, I do get some joy from the belief that she was probably thinking “Eau de Duckpoo”.
Dogs and the City