Eau de Terrier Blanc: A Unique Fragrance

Lisa's post over at Boondock Ramblings--- about the eye-watering stench of one of her cats-- reminded me of my four-legged friend, Fritz.

Now Fritz was a past landlord's dog, a large and cheerful white terrier. Because he traded on looks over brains-- (that dog made Goofy look like Stephen Hawking after a couple of cups of coffee)-- Fritz was the lovable idiot you just felt compelled to pet.

The mental negligence I understood. That was from one too many concussions. Each day, I would leave for work where Fritz would race me to the metal gate, and skid out head-first into it.

"Bong!"

Each evening, he would see me returning home and do the same.

"Clang!"

You had to admire his enthusiasm, if not his coordination.

But the smell, now that was a mysterious phenomenon that simply hadn't made it into the Natural Wonders list yet.

And it wasn't one I would notice right away, no. But
it would sidle up-- an aroma of pure, unabashed, eternal, deep-radiating, primeval Dogocity. The kind that would wrap its yellow-green tendrils around the ol-factory senses... and hump the heck outta them.

It didn't matter if he'd just been to the groomers, either. Fritz would return all fluffy white, trimmed and joyous, a clean bandanna slung jauntily around his neck. And a brief affectionate pat on the head would leave traces of a gagging canine stink that multiple hand-washings, handiwipes, sandpaper and sulfuric acid would not remove.

Now Fritz's mother, Henrietta, lived down the street. She was an outside dog, calm, mild-mannered and grateful for any speck of attention anyone gave her.

And, one day, it occurred to me that Henrietta might serve as a decent control group to test the Fritz Foulness problem. Was this mysterious Puppy Putrescence something to do with the breed, the family line, or just Fritz himself?

I was determined to find out!

So as I approached the lady dog with my daily greeting, it was this time I paused. And petted...

And, um, sniffed. Deeply.

It occurred to me later that anyone watching out their windows might find it a little odd to see someone stop, play with, and then sniff someone's dog.

They might consider it equally strange to see that person leave, energetically sniffing their own hand and making mental notes of it.

Ah, but much out of the ordinary must be done in the name of Science! We didn't see Alexander Fleming recoiling from penicillin and crying, "Eeew! What's that green stuff? Gross! Take it away!"

No. He said, "Hm! Jolly! Someday people will be over-medicating with this."

And I learned something important from my little experiment, too. I learned that the all-weather female, four-wheel-drive model of the great Fritzmeister was completely odor-free.

Now, I haven't expanded the experiment to other terriers of this type, because, well, I got bored.

Also, I have sinus problems.

Also-also, I don't want to be known as "Crazy Dog Sniffer."

But I think it's reasonably safe to say that the problem was uniquely Fritz' own. Was it some gland issue? Some evolutionary glitch? An unfortunate designer dog signature fragrance choice?

We may never know.

If only it could have been used for the powers of Good. Harnessed in the right hands, I believe Eau de Terrier Blanc could have reshaped today's on-the-ground warfare. Concentrated and formed into exploding capsules, the enemy would be rendered completely incapacitated for miles. And nobody would ever have to get hurt.

I'd say there might even be a Peace Prize in that!... (And hey, we've seen those things handed out for less.)

Pass the handiwipes.

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16 comments:

Joel Klebanoff said...

For five days last week and weekend I was at my sister's place in another city. For a couple of days, while my sister & brother-in-law went off on a mini-vacation, I took care of my niece and their dog and cat.

My niece was wonderful.

But I'm not a pet person. The cat was OK. The few times I thought of her it was mostly, "I wonder where the cat is."

The dog, a Yorkshire Terrier, was another story. If a second went by without someone giving her attention, she would yap, including when I wanted to go to sleep. And that smell you mentioned? I think I know exactly that smell. I don't think it was a uniquely Fritz smell.

Jenn Thorson said...

Joel- That smell, as memorable as it is, is very hard to put into words. Now you have me wondering again... WHY do some dogs smell of it, and others are stink-free? It makes no sense to me.

Of course, while I really like animals, I don't have any myself. So I'm not up on these things.

Sorry about your Yorkie experience. :)

Kevin said...

If I had to bet, I would say his diet was giving him a strange smell.

Also, if I had to bet, I would question the mental capacity of my bookie, forcing me to bet on the source of a dog smell. You'd think College Football would be more lucrative, but it looks like I found the only Animal Planet obsessed bookie in existence.

Joel Klebanoff said...

Jenn - memorable and hard to put into words ... yup, it's definitely the same smell. ;)

As to why some dogs have it and some dogs don't, sorry, I can't help you there. I spend very little time around animals and I'm not in the habit of smelling dogs if I can possibly avoid it, so I thought they all smelled that way.

Jenn Thorson said...

Kevin- I'd bet you won't be using that bookie in the future. Only finding a bookie to place a bet on your bet on the dog smell is even worse. :)

(And also, I kinda think you're right about the diet being the issue. It seemed to radiate from his pores. Wouldn't you think somewhere on the dog food container it would read: "WARNING: CAN CAUSE NEAR FATAL REEKING!"?

Joel- You just wait, the next dog you encounter, you'll be wondering... it'll lurk there in the back of your mind. :)

Joel Klebanoff said...

Jenn -- I seriously doubt it will lurk in the back of or anywhere else in my mind. "Hiding in plain sight" notwithstanding, you can't lurk in plain sight and there's nothing in my mind to provide adequate cover.

Jenn Thorson said...

Joel- What about the windmills of your mind? Surely they pepper the view a little.

Joel Klebanoff said...

Regrettably, I no longer have any windmills in my mind. Some years ago, Vogons operated on my mind and removed the windmills. They said they had a work order to clear out the space.

The Vogons said I had no right to complain because a notice had been properly posted on the back of a filing cabinet in the basement of the planning office on Alpha Centauri. I didn't really trust them, but what could I do?

I think the windmills formerly of my mind may be on display in le Moulin Rouge in Paris. I'm sure they're having a much more exciting existence out of my mind.

CatLadyLarew said...

Poor Fritz... no wonder he had so much pent up energy. Most likely, the little bitches in the neighborhood totally ignored him because of his stench.

ReformingGeek said...

I know what you mean. I hate that smell. I had to go to a friend's house to care for her pets while she was away and the entire house smelled like that. Ick.

Mr. Knucklehead said...

My pup's day to day aroma isn't too distracting, but his farts will take paint off the wall.

Jenn Thorson said...

Joel- Those Vogons. If only they'd stick to poetry and stay out of the construction biz.

CatLady- Well, he didn't see much of the world beyond his backyard, so I'm not sure he had much of a chance for a social life anyway. But I think even in the wide world of Dog Smells, he probably would rate pretty low with the ladies.

Reforming Geek- Oh, MAN. I don't recall my landlord's part of the house smelling like Fritz did, but now you have me wondering.

Knucklehead- It's that soy in the dog food. Bean curd'll do it every time.

rethoryke said...

Having been around a variety of dogs and come to the conclusion that, however dear, most of them smell in a way I can't stand. Other people nearby do not seem bothered, and the animals are reasonably clean, so I assume that I'm just hypersensitive about that odor.

On the other hand, I remember Fritz, and he was absolutely on the top of the Richter scale of stink. Yowza!

Jenn Thorson said...

Rhet- Ah! Yes! You were witness to the special supernatural stink that was Fritz! And like the dogs you mention, he wasn't unclean or uncared for. He was just a whole alternate level of stench.

jay said...

If I had to bet, I'd take the diet option as a side bet only. I'd bet on ears, teeth, or anal glands. Now ears and teeth can both smell absolutely putrid. Teeth can be dealt with easily enough. Ears can be more difficult, especially in a dog like a Westie, which can tend to have 'hot' ears and be subject to yeast infections. But anal glands can be gag-inducing at twenty paces. The contents smell like rotting fish, or skunk (I'm told), or possibly a mixture of both - but they can be emptied, preferably by a professional so he gets it on him, not you. He might also have had a staph skin infection. The dog, that is, not the vet. Although, who knows?

And by the way, Joel K forgot the bit about 'Beware of the leopard', which happens to be a much-quoted favourite of mine. ;)

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- Ah, my friend the Greyhound Queen! Thank you for your knowledge, though I have to admit, from your colorful description, perhaps I was better off not having those options rolling around in my brain. :) PS- I'm delighted at the number of Hitch Hiker's Guide fans who pop by.

Remember: Don't Panic.