Smell of a Dog

by Breanna W.
(Montana, USA)

There's no smell like the smell of a dog. If you've ever washed a dog, you know there's a definite smell to your beloved Fido, but there's always a whiff of dog-smell in the air, even as Rover curls up to sleep. It's a smell that can be great or terrible, really, but it's one that takes me back in time. I remember the smell of it as I ran in the yard with my dog Moses. The lawn needed mowing, and I heard the swish-swish-swish of the grass as it tickled my bare feet. I'd giggle and smile as he leaped up in the air, his massive German shepherd body animated and merry. After a while, we'd flop on the grass, panting and sweaty. He'd come lay next to me and nudge me with his nose, and I'd be overcome by his doggy smell. I'd smell like dog for the rest of the day, sometimes even longer.

His smell was more subtle sometimes. Once, we had shish kabobs for dinner. Five-year-old me hated shish kabobs. Moses, on the other hand, loved them. Naturally, when I smelled him and felt his fur against my skirted legs, I plucked a meat chunk off my skewer, silently slipping it under the table to him. One by one, my skewer grew emptier as I tossed down bits of meat and vegetables. He got a great petting (which had let out some dog smell) and a “Good boy!” afterwards when my plate was cleared and I was given ice cream for dessert. Of course, I didn't get away with it. His poor stomach couldn't take it, and I got a spanking for feeding the dog my dinner, which he later threw up.

Some memories of dog smell aren't so sweet. Moses quietly whimpered as he rested on the ground, his hips hurting, but his dog smell prominent. “Mose, it's gonna be okay, buddy. I love you,” I whispered as I stroked him behind his ears. We both knew what was coming. He had been hurting, his back legs didn't work anymore, and his brown and white fur was streaked with gray. Today the vet would come to put him out of his misery. Mom didn't want me to see him when the she came, so this was it. “I love you,” I whispered again, and I petted him and took in the dog smell one last time before I went inside. Poor Moses. I've never forgotten his smell.

Today, I still smell the sweet aroma of dog as my Australian shepherd, Chewy, bounds around the house. For a while after Mose died, we had no dog in the house. It was a little less dog-smelling and a lot less fun. Sure, now it's a little noisier, a little messier, and there's a couple more puddles on the floor and stains on a carpet... But home doesn't feel like home without smelling like a dog.

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