I skipped out of work about an hour early on Wednesday and as I walked into the house I realized I should have come home at lunch and given Dudley his meds. He woke up as soon as I opened the door and we went into the kitchen and I saw that I had given him his meds exactly 12 hours (to the minute) earlier. He takes Tramadol for his arthritis and any residual pain from the torn cranial cruciate ligament in his right rear knee. The vet says to give it to him every 8-12 hours, but I try and give it to him about every 10 hours.
We harnessed up and started on our walk. It was absolute bliss! Overcast and 73 degrees with a heavy breeze, it was hard to believe that only 72 hours earlier it had been a sweltering 105 degrees (dog days indeed). We normally stick to the sidewalk, but as we turned up Craddock, Dudley wanted to walk in the street. We were walking into the wind and Lord only knows what scent Dudley was following, but he was definitely on a mission. He was moving at a pretty good clip and I was laughing at the wind whipping through his beautiful cinnamon fur and generally just enjoying the moment.
Dogs have a very keen sense of smell. They have more than 220 million scent receptors, compared to humans who have about 5 million. Dogs are trained to detect drugs, corpses, contraband agricultural products in airport luggage, cancerous tumors in humans and some can even detect the onset of a medical condition such as a seizure or allergic reaction. Dogs have amazing noses!
Since my dogs always seemed captivated by the smelliest of things, I just figured the more it stunk the better they liked it. It is also a communication tool between dogs. Think about it, what do dogs do when they meet? They sniff each other (in the smelliest of places). Apparently this establishes rank between the dogs. Dogs can determine whether a male or female dog has marked a particular area, how long ago and the direction the dog was heading. The speed Dudley was moving made me think some dog left a message along the lines of, “Dead squirrel at Harley’s house, byob” or maybe it was some canine mash note from a female, “Oh Dudley, I ache to see you once again. Pee just for me.” Whatever it was, Dudley finally stopped at the top of the hill and left a message of his own and the rest of the walk proceeded as normal.
It was of the most relaxing and enjoyable walks we had taken in a long while, for me anyway. Dudley loves every walk. It washed away the bad mood of the day and made me realize once again what an incredible gift I have in Dudley. Then I went to the store to pick up a few things, among them carrots for Dudley’s snack. I got home and in the house a few seconds before the the bottom fell out and we had a nice gullywasher. Timing is everything.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace. ~Milan Kundera