From roses to a cesspit

Local | Georgina Noyce 19 Nov 2019

Anyone who lives with animals knows that there is always an issue with smells; smells that for the average person, who is not so intimate with animals, can find offensive.

The trouble is that the human nose, while adequate for our needs, tends to be more than a little temperamental and can't always be relied on. What smells of roses to one, smells just the opposite to another.

The subtle aroma of garlic, for instance, is an enticement to chow down for some of us, while for others it is as lethal as a clove to a vampire.

The point is, our noses also tend to stop working after a while, or possibly our brain simply stops processing smells and switches off.

The smell is still there, but we just don't notice it.

That is fine if you work with an animal that can produce a distinctive odor, but can lead to some embarrassing situations.

We also stop noticing our own smells. They are still there, but our nose and brain have simply filed them away under "nothing to worry about."

That is what happened when a stranger visited. Having said he was nervous around dogs, my faithful friends had been banished to the garden.

But he was game to learn, so once the dogs had settled, they were allowed back into the house, smallest first, until stately Sassoon came padding in. The first sign there was anything wrong was as the young man curled his lips and covered his nose with one hand.

As he gradually went white, I realized that he wasn't scared, but actually looked as if he was going to vomit unless something was done quickly.

Looking at my motley crew - Bonnie bouncing in excitement, Molly hanging back nervously, Jack and Sassoon sniffing to get a sense of the visitor - I opened my own senses to work out what was wrong.

Wet dog smell! All four smelled of the distinctive musky, moldy, earthy smell of wet fur. Nothing I can do about it, however much I dry them, in rainy season; they are always going to smell.

Hurriedly I sent the dogs back outside while trying to explain about wet fur. He wasn't convinced and for the rest of his visit he looked like someone who had been invited into a cesspit.

Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.

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