Dog Treasure

Some dogs go straight for the disgusting stuff.

Meadow has become adept at finding the things that make me go "Yuck!" when we're on the trail. She loves showing them to me, like a cat bringing a still-wriggling mouse to it's human for praise.

Recently, she has delighted in carrying in her mouth whatever deer or elk bone she finds (and she finds plenty) the entire time we're out in the forest. She'll come close to Maia, tempting her with her prize, daring Maia to try to steal it, but Maia rarely shows interest. If I reward the girls with a treat - for instance, when they come when called - Meadow will drop the bone, scarf down the treat, then immediately repossess the bone. When we return to the edge of the forest, nearly home, I tell her to "Drop it!" and she always does, reluctantly. If it's a particularly good bone - or in one recent case, half of a deer hoof with some pulpy tissue still inside - she'll drop it, look at me, start to pick it up again as if I couldn't possibly be serious that she leave behind something so precious for some other creature to steal, then ultimately obey when I tell her to leave it. Usually the bone is still there the next time we head out that route, and she happily reunites with her treasure. The upper photo shows her carrying part of a spinal column. She decided a nearby shoulder blade was too unwieldy.

The other photo was taken the day before, back at the house. Meadow's other disgusting habit is to rub her neck in decomposing animal matter. I shudder to think what she finds; sometimes she'll stink horrendously, other times I don't smell anything but can see the grime on her mane. (Since she gets a "lion" haircut, it seems appropriate to refer to her "mane.") It took some effort to wash whatever-creature-this-formally-was off of her. I guess this is her idea of perfume.

Years ago on a hike with the girls through some woods on a wet winter day, I walked past a slimy, gooey, oily black patch of something, just off the trail. It took me a couple of seconds to think, "Meadow will roll in that" and by the time I turned to try to prevent just that, she was mid-dive, neck first, into the mess. Bulls-eye! I scolded her, knowing it was too late but feeling like I had to at least voice my annoyance! As I got close to inspect the damage, my nostrils were immediately assailed with the most horrible odor imaginable. I instinctively tried to brush it off her, only smearing the goo onto my glove and deeper into her very thick fur. I put the glove in a clean poop bag. We hiked back to my car, with me breathing only through my mouth with fingers pinching my nose to avoid the stench. It was that bad. I had some moist wipes in my car, and I used them to try to remove the stuff, but was only partially successful; it was so oily and thick it was impossible to totally remove. And the smell - I thought it would knock me out as I worked on her. During the drive home, Meadow leaned up against the back of my seat, smearing the matter all over the upholstery and sending out a new waft of that awful stench. I gagged. Somehow I made it home, with all the windows half down to try to keep from puking.

I was able to turn this incident into a prize winning entry for a Smelly Dog contest, winning a can of special odor-removing product. Maybe it works on most dogs, but not Meadow.

So today I choose my battles. Bones? OK. Have fun. Just don't bring them home. Slimy decomposing animal matter? Definitely not OK. Yet Meadow has a far better nose than I and finds it before I do, so I'm not always successful and stopping her, as the photo proves.