Thurby's Olfactory Diary

by David Gans

Went out on leash with the ex-dog (that's a hoot! A year's supply of squeakballs says those lips have never touched shit) tonight. He doesn't take me out very often, but when he does it's always a new path, always a new bouquet. And I appreciate that, man. I appreciate it a lot.

So tonight we walked toward the water for a long time, through some very heady regions. I guess the people are a little dull-witted - it amazes me how they can even hold still with all those great whiffs comin' at you from every which way. My nostrils were quaking, my friend: whole lotta sniffin' goin' on! We passed this one yard, must have been fifty times bigger than our yard but it was made out of street, seemed like. I wouldn't want to live in a yard made out of street. No way you could even plant a flower there, let alone dig one up.

Come to think of it, maybe they oughta make the street out of yard instead. That would be heaven.

There's something that happens to a dog around this time of year. I think it happens to every dog; I think it even happens to the people. The days are long and the moon stays full for a week at a time, and you're out there on the sidewalk without a care in the world. The breeze is throwing smells in your face 'til you just get drunk on the romance and danger, the flowers and females and scat. You want to savor every stop sign and fencepost and shrub, but you can't restrain yourself and you keep charging madly from one sensation to another because they're everywhere and it's YIP! YIPPY! fun!

The ex-dog will run a block with me once in a while, without even complaining about it. He's usually very generous with the slack, too. Although he's terribly clumsy, and several times on every walk he gets the leash tangled under me in some humorous or humiliating way. Still, he knows my nose is my life and that when I'm sniffing and snuffling and making my marks I'm participating in a culture that has existed for thousands, maybe millions of years. A dog's got to be like a dog!

I have only one complaint: They won't let me touch food, for some stupid reason. That's one thing about the people that really bugs me: they won't allow us to eat the same food they eat, EVEN WHEN THEY'VE THROWN IT ON THE GROUND and don't want it any more! I've offered to share my food with them, but no - they're too civilized to eat with us!

But on a night like this, I gotta tellya. It's great to be a dog. And it's great to be the ex-dog's dog, because we dance like Tracy and Hepburn. There's times when we're jogging, we make that lifeline float between us like a mirage. And to be perfectly candid with you, there have been moments in my life when the leash and that guy's voice were all that kept me from certain harm. I love him; can't help that, either.

Copyright 1989 by David Gans. All right!