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“Hams’s head smells like garbage.” This quote was the most recent addition into the annals of animals who smell. My wife was referring not to a pig, or to a processed pig product, but our domesticated dog Hana (aka Hams). She is half dingo, half hyena, though the vet insists she trends towards the genetics of border collies and Australian cattle dogs. Whatever. She loitered with litter, and now she smells.

A stinky pet head presents a problem. When Hams rolls in dog droppings or wades into a mucky canal topped with putrid green algae, a quick shampoo and hose-down—accompanied by some rough handling signifying our disapproval of her behavior—normally do the trick. But when she dives head first into stench-filled filth, surrounding her face with nastiness, there’s a dilemma. I can’t simply force her head into a bucket of water or ask her to stand against the backyard fence while unleashing a torrent of water at her head. With little hope of success, I can try detailing her chops with a toothbrush, leading her through a field of lavender, or allow her to pick a favorite from my wife’s perfumes. With even less chance of success, I can plead with Hams to elevate her standing in society by reconsidering any future forays into filth. I am defeated. None of these efforts will dissuade the flies from orbiting her snout. The only future assurance against a rancid scalp is a whole-head leather helmet.


Antagonizing Dogs

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Casualty report: I was again attacked by Tank, a Shar Pei mix belonging to my brother-in-law. This time for a gentle hindquarters massage. He doesn’t like me. I admit I have a storied history of antagonizing dogs: wheelbarrowing, blowing in face, loving headlocks, tail grabs, snout sneezes. Still, all of this is, to me, unbounded fun. Why can’t these mutts just loosen up?

Four Days on Road

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Monday I returned from a road trip to Philadelphia. I left with one each of grandma-in-law and white dog. I returned with a stiff butt, a soda spill in the cupholder, and a dog wondering why I did this to her the last four days.

Why should you care about any of this? No good reason. At least it’s not in Finnish.