Thursday, August 5, 2010


Something rather yucky happened to me at the stables today. I’d just finished riding Kwintus, had showered him, made him comfortable, put my tack away and was sitting taking off my boots when Fiz, Steph’s four-month-old Swiss Shepherd puppy, bounded up to me. Fiz is a bright-eyed, floppy white bundle of fluff, an open invitation to gaga-babble and those rub-a-dub, big goofy cuddles. Always a sucker for rub-a-dubs with puppies, I leant over to interact gaga-ishly with him, letting him nibble my hair, and smushing my face in his soft white fluffiness.


You see, today, Fiz wasn’t just soft white fluffiness. As he gamboled away, distracted by a falling leaf, something pungent filled my nostrils. Eww. Concerned, I picked up the tip of my ponytail and took a tentative whiff. Big eww. But what the heck was it? It smelt kind of like garlic, but possibly a little beyond.
Unable to figure it out and unwilling to use my imagination, I settled for garlic that had “gone off”.

Steph appeared at the tack room door.

“Your dog just rubbed something smelly all over me,” I said, zipping up my boots, putting on my flip-flops and pulling a distraught face. “D’you think he ate some of Kwint’s garlic powder?” (we’ve been feeding Kwintus garlic powder supplements in an effort to discourage the squadrons of horse-flies and other little flying bastards that torture him whenever he’s out in the field. In case you’re curious, I’m not sure the garlic helps much – the far more chemically formulated Wellcare anti-fly lotion seems far more efficient, as does the brand new (chemical) Centaura spray bought at considerable expense from my lovely veterinarian. Believe me, I really was trying to do the decent organic thing but if you’d seen my very spotty, very itchy, poor demented horse you’d have caved to the pharmaceutical big dogs too.

Steph looked dubious. “I finished the tub of garlic two days ago, so Fiz couldn’t
have eaten any of that. But I did see him rolling in something not too kosher looking earlier, so…” She threw up her arms and shrugged.

A wave of nausea erupted inside me. I sniffed my tee-shirt, immediately wishing I hadn’t. Blimey, whatever the dog had contaminated me with was seriously intense. As I emerged from the tack room, a gentle breeze ruffled my tumbledown pony-tail, wafting stray blonde strands around my face. I said rude words and promptly scraped my hair tightly off my face, securing it in a knot.

Steph chuckled. I smirked, and urged Fiz to give her a taste of the same medicine.

“Can you take Vicky home?” asked Steph a few minutes later, ambling past me with a bag of hay as I picked up my bag and went to give Kwintus a kiss goodbye before heading towards my car. Vicky is her cleaning lady. She lives near me, so I often give her a lift home on Wednesdays.

Unsure of whether poor Vicky would enjoy riding home with my smelly self, I nevertheless said it would be my pleasure.

“The puppy rubbed something yucky in my face,” I told Vicky apologetically as we headed down towards the main road. “Here, smell my hair.” I leant over the gearbox and offered her a charming sniff.

Vicky giggled. “Naughty puppy. All day he is bringing a very smelly bone in the house and eating it. Even he rolls in it. Is an old, VERY smelly bone. With worms in it. Pooh! All day I throw it outside, but always he brings it in again. He thinks it’s very nice. Naughty puppy!” She burst out laughing, then turned to me and frowned. “Hmm, is very smelly. I think maybe we are needing to open the car windows today.”

With pinched nostrils and the wind teasing my worm-ridden smelly old bone contaminated top-knot, we whizzed back towards civilization. I dropped Vicky off, chanced a deep breath, regretted it, and then refrained from breathing until I dove almost headfirst into my bath.


Ever happen to you?


Unknown said...

Actually our dog gets skin infections (flea dermetitis - we have had a terrible time fighting fleas this year) and she starts to smell like a rotten watermelon.

But you can't not pet her...

Alison said...

Fiz is adorable! I would tell Steph though to find that bone and throw it out. Our older Lab loved smelly carcasses/bones you name it and eating something dead finally killed him by poisoning his liver.

Shanster said...

No that has never happened to me! Dogs are so gross that way... dead things, smelly things, poop eaters.... I love my dogs dearly but boy oh boy, they can really think up some gross stuff to share with us humans can't they?

Laura Crum said...

Yep, I think we've all (who have dogs, anyway) been there, Francesca--but most of us can't describe it with such skill and humor. Thanks for a very entertaining blog post--as always.

Linda Benson said...

Fiz is indeed an adorable pup. We give our dog big meaty bones occasionally as a treat, and he immediately goes off somewhere to hide and bury them. He only digs them up to eat when they're good and rotten. (And so sorry to hear about your lab, Alison. I had no idea that could happen.) Mostly, when our dog smells, it's because he's rolled in something dead. The deader the better. Yuck.

Joy said...

yep. if it smells, he will try and roll in it. Plus, he attacked a skunk in our back yard and bit it two months back. I suspect he got the business end because he had three distinct "regions" of spray on him. Awful. I cried.

HorsesAndTurbos said...

I have always had dogs...and my DH never. When we met, my two dogs were old...and never got into trouble.

They are gone, and we now have a young shep/sharpei mix (I'm a herding dog fan, but I was fostering him for a rescue group, and he fit in so well, he stayed) who is into *everything* and eats *everything*. He's also an ex-city dog, so he double-delights in his discoveries!

I'll never forget the first time DH saw Chance devour horse poop! I thought his face was going to turn as green as the poop!


Francesca Prescott said...

Breathe: no, you can't not pet dogs. Flea dermetitis sounds horrible, poor dog...and the rotten watermelon smell can't exactly be nice to inhale.

Alison: so sorry to hear about your Lab poisoning his liver because of eating nasty stuff. It does make sense, though. Can't be good for them. I shall mnake a mental note of this.

Shanster: I used to have a Bearded Collie called Barney. I don't know whether you know the breed, but they have long, long flowing locks and require serious daily grooming. He loved rolling in cow dung and fox pooh - if there was anything smelly around you could be sure he'd find it and roll in it. My brother in law once took him for a walk and during that walk they passed a huge vat of liquid manure. Guess what Barney did?! He jumped in and swam in it! He came home with moist green putrid dreadlocks! It took me forever to get rid of that smell. Ugh. The two dogs I have now are not too bad, although Leo, the youngest one (King Charles) loves rolling in smelly stuff. Tom, my ten year-old Yorkshire Terrier seems to have outgrown such bad behaviour!

Laura: you're a sweetie, thanks for the lovely compliment :)

Linda: oh, yes, those lovely old rotten bones...I don't give my dogs bones anymore as they get upset stomachs. And then I have to clean their bottoms! Ugh!

Joy: thank goodness we don't have skunks here! I don't even want to imagine what your dog smelt like.

Horsesandturbos: my husband isn't a very doggy person, in fact when we got our first dog (after mucho insisting on my part) he said he wouldn't mind a small, female dog with short hair that didn't moult. Well...errr....I came home with a Bearded Collie. Male. Although he didn't moult... Loved to snack on horse poop, though! Oh, and when he'd eaten something, no matter what it was, he'd come and stick his face close to yours and burp!!!

Got to love those animals!