lundi 5 mai 2008

The nose knows, and I might never eat again

vanquished, in the bath

Someone remind me the next time I get it into my head that I want a dog to get whatever hates dead animals as much as Baccarat hates having a bath.

I was mowing the scrappy bit of lawn down around the gazebo, already furious because I spotted three new rounds of yellow grass by the right linden tree on the upper terrace that I can attribute to Rapide, surely, when I smell a horrible, awful smell. Wondering how I am going to find whatever has had the uncouthness to die in my garden, when the smell is so pervasive that I won't ever be able to locate it by smell alone if it is hidden, I see Baccarat rolling around in the tall grass under the palm tree.

"Baccarat! Bad dog! Bad, bad, BAD dog!" She looks at me like I have lost my mind, when she is the one who is rolling on something dead. This is what labs do. Other dogs, too, I am told.

Knowing she was in trouble, she abandoned her dead thing and scampered off to the lower lawn, which she had the interest to do since she was going to get dragged up to the bathtub for an anti-stink shampooing, which she hates more than anything, it taking two of us, one in front pulling and one behind pushing, to get her up the stairs, while Rapide just accepts her fate. The breeder said I'd never need to bathe them, assuring me that they are "self-cleaning." I guess nothing ever died on her property or in the forest of Rambouillet, where her lab-loving former husband was in charge of the hunting grounds.

I squatted down to look, expecting to see something large and awful, but I didn't have to lower myself very far to see the little tiny bird body in the thin grass. The twin of the one she was chewing on yesterday and that's already in the compost bin out waiting for the Monday evening collection on the sidewalk. I was astonished that something so terribly small could emit so powerful a stink and picked it up -- because I had to; My dog, my problem, except when she is being fun and cute -- between two scraps of old newspaper and carried it up to the bin, racing back to shut the door to the house before Baccarat had the chance to install herself in an armchair.

Now I have to find the nest. Who attacked the nest and its tiny residents? The parents? One of the cats? The soccer ball that came flying over the gate the other day and tore through the wisteria? How many more horribly smelly little bodies are there out there for Baccarat and me to find?

I still have the horrible, terrible, awful smell in my nostrils. More reason to be grateful for nature's perfumes in the evening air, wisteria, lilac and birdsong.

How can one tiny baby bird smell so foul?

(pun intended, after the fact).

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