— by Cinnamon
The smell of dog paws … There’s a temptation to talk comfort and cosiness (not a word I love: some people seem not to like moist; with me, it’s cosy or cute – I find both irritating). But that’s not where I’m going.
It’s pouring rain with gale force winds today. We still went out, as it’s good for both the human and dog soul.
Perfume lovers frequently talk memory and association regarding fragrance and smell. With dog paws, it’s that but something more fluid, especially if you’ve grown up with dogs and then gone on to have your own.
The household dog’s (his name is Joe) odour changes each day as time moves along based how he’s feeling (whether he’s exerted himself to bark at the neighbour he doesn’t like) and what he’s eaten, what it’s like outdoors, how much grass he’s ingested, and where he’s slept (eg, his bed, the couch, the floor if it’s hot out).
I know this because I work from home and when I need a break from the two laptops, I’ll go rest with him (or do yoga stretches using him as an anchor – he doesn’t appear to mind). So, I get to smell his paws a fair bit.
In his resting state (ie, after breakfast and a play but before AM walk) the paws usually smell of corn chips (as does his fur). I’m talking Frito-Lay. I can’t for the life of me figure out why that’s the case, but it is. That bordering on sweet but still nutty and salty smell I (at least) associate with a really bad lunch of Hostess Twinkies and Frito-Lay corn chips along with a diet soda as a teenager.
Once he’s been out, all change. If it’s dry (doesn’t matter if it’s warm or cool) his post walk paws smell of warm asphalt. It’s not a worrying scent (ie, it’s too hot out and I should have waited to walk until it was cooler). Rather, it smells sort of like new road surfaces, a fragrance I’ve seen listed on people’s favourites when asked for non-perfume smells they love.
After a wet walk (like today), he smells of slightly damp corn chips, grass and some inexplicable ozone thing. Doesn’t sound pleasant, but it is.
Always underlying this is some essential dog odour which is difficult to describe … a faint muskiness that’s probably associated with some dog hormone I don’t know the name of and dog cleaning of paws (I can hear Lucy from Peanuts yelling ‘Dog Germs!’ from when Snoopy would kiss her).
Sometimes it makes me think of perfumes that fall outside the regular groupings like L’Artisan Bois Farine (flour and cardboard); an older no longer available black tea scent (can’t recall the name, which so strong it was almost, but not quite, offputting); and Cartier IV – L’Heure Fougueuse (which smells of riding a horse on a hot summer’s day — sunshine, hay, leather, sweat).
But more metaphysically, the dog’s paws smell overwhelmingly of home and good things to me – of real rest; mundane activities that include everyone; partaking in the generalised silliness surrounding dog toys; being with those I love doing not much beyond just being.
Does your cat or dog (or other creature) have a scent you’re fond of? What smells like home and good things to you?