Confessions of a Dog Sniffer

4 years ago

I'll be writing or trying to write when suddenly, I just get stuck. The words won't come. My mind grows mute. Usually, when this happens I get up from my chair and just walk away from my desk and the computer.

Sometimes I wander out to the kitchen, which is never a good solution for a woman in constant battle with the scale. Mostly, though, what I like to do is wander to my bedroom where I know Dog-Dog is curled up on the bed, probably with his head tucked in so his neck is bunched up, which means he's probably also snoring to wake the dead.

I like to stick my head in that little space between his face and the front of his body and snuggle in. He usually sighs loudly, as if he's putting up with yet another interruption from his human-- as if it's really not his problem I'm avoiding writing again, and why must I insist on disturbing his nap for my lack of creativity? Occasionally, however, he'll act happy to see me and thump his stubby, little tail.

But here's where it gets kind of weird. With my face buried in his neck, I take a big long sniff. He stinks. He always smells like a dog, even after a bath. And then I tell him, my voice muffled by fur and the folds in his crooked neck, "You are a tinky dog!"  Yes, "tinky". It's, um, baby-talk for "stinky".

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of cutsie-speak. I roll my eyes at parents who use baby-talk with their...well.. babies. I'm quite sure I never spoke like that with my children! How would they ever learn correct English? But it's different with Dog-Dog. I'm positive, as demonstrated by his lack of obedience, he doesn't understand English at all. In fact, I'm not even sure he speaks Dog all that well. So I make my voice little and replace or eliminate letters in my words and with my face stuffed in his smelly folds ask him, "Are you my baby? Are you my tinky, tinky baby?"

If he's not totally exasperated with me by now and struggling to get up and jump off the bed and away from me--if he's in a snugging mood--his tale will wag very fast at my tone of voice, which makes me speak like that even more. It's an insidious and somewhat pathetic cycle I'm really glad no one actually ever witnesses, and until now, was my own dirty little secret.

But here's where it gets worse. Worse than muffled baby-talk to your dog? Yes. I sniff him again and sigh with full contentment. His stink is his own unique smell and when I breathe it in, I smell my Dog-Dog, and I have to tell him I love him, "I wuvs you! I wuvs my tinky dog-dog!" And I sniff again.

I'm not sure if cats have the same unique smell and maybe a cat owner is reading this right now feeling a bit superior about their cleaner animal who would never, ever put up with the indignation of sniffing humans and people who refuse to add proper consonants to their words. Or maybe a non-pet owner is reading this feeling affirmed by their gut instinct to never, ever be an animal owner and degrade into a pitiful baby-talking, animal-sniffing human being. But I have compassion for those folks. They'll never know the joy of an animal glad to see them or keep them company during a long writing day. They'll never experience the deeply satisfying feeling of animal-cuddles that slow the heart rate and calm the mind.

It's okay, though. The rest of us cooing, sniffing messes can form a club. All you have to do is sign beneath the following statement:

I pwomise to wuv and snuggle and snuffle my wittle animal and tell him (or her) that he (or she) is the best wittle dog-dog (or cat-cat) in the whole world, several times a day.


Signature here: ___________________________________________________

I feel much better having come clean. I don't feel silly at all anymore now that there is an official club of such fine, animal-loving company.

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