A walk is for US, a sniff is for HIM


 By Jarrett Bellini | @JarrettBellini 
 Apparently This Matters 

The old adage suggests that, occasionally, we should stop and smell the roses. 

"Stop and Smell the Roses" is also the title of a 1981 Ringo Starr albumI promise that you haven't heard it. You know, because it's Ringo. 

But humans aren't very good at slowing down. I haven't literally smelled the roses in years. Cupped a fart recently, but that was more of a safety test before leaving the house.

"Meh. Good enough for a Home Depot run."

My dog, Mikey, on the other hand, is a seasoned professional when it comes to smelling things. Specifically, things that come out of other dogs and/or our colorful cast of neighborhood crackheads.

Usually, during our serious walks - serious in that I begin to weep and sweat gravy after about the first mile - I'm quick to give him a gentle yank on the leash when he pulls away to bury his nose into a new, interesting smell.

"Hey! I'm walkin' here!"

But lately I've changed our routine. In addition to regular walks, now we take a daily sniff. And they're completely different.

Ever since I started working from home (i.e. stopped wearing pants on weekdays) I've made a strong effort to get out of the house with Mikey during lunch. Just a quick stroll around the immediate neighborhood to get some fresh air and allow my retinas to regenerate into something closely similar to what they were before I spent five straight hours staring into a computer screen.

So, I make some coffee, grab the leash, and call out to Mikey that we're going for a sniff. I'm very specific about this.

"Come on, boy! We're going for a sniff. I'm being very specific about this."

And once we leave the front door, Mikey more or less gets to smell whatever he wants for as long as he wants.

It's his time. When he stops, I stop. When he's ready to go, I go.

But there is one rule: No questionable foreign solids.

By that I mean he's not allowed to approach poop, food, or trash. 

Also no dead things. 

This includes, but is not limited to, birds, squirrels, and/or our colorful cast of neighborhood crackheads

We can stand and observe from a distance. Maybe even poke 'em with a stick. But he's forbidden from putting his nose in there.

It's not that I want to deny him the joy of smelling such deliciously terrible scents, it's that there's a 100% chance I'm going to make out with him later.

I'm all about full-assault face kisses. 

And, yes, I'm perfectly aware that he's probably on my bed, even as I write this, exploring the forever depths of his groin. 

Doesn't matter.

What I don't see happening now can't be transferred later to my face. That's just basic science.

So, we take sniffs. And they're glorious. No rush. No hurry. Just a leisurely survey of the neighborhood.

Some days he pauses thirty seconds to check out a retaining wall. Other days it's the tire of a parked car. I just patiently stand off to the side, silently pondering whether or not four days is too long to go without a shower.

Then we move on down the street. 

But it's still not a walk. There's no real vigor. 

On these sniffs, my net calorie burn is essentially zero. Which is to say that, depending on what food substance is in my non-leash hand, it might actually be a net calorie gain. Maybe even a substantial one.

Sometimes I bring a large slab of meatloaf. 

But it's not about calories. It's about Mikey enjoying the funny little world around him. Because Lord knows I can't. 

Why should we both be denied?

Today, our modern lives are fast. And busy. And, at least according to my Twitter feed, mostly pointless. 

So, if you can, try to slow down. Smell the things around you. Literally and figuratively.

(ProTip: Do not literally sniff a woman's hair in an elevator. Apparently, this is highly frowned upon. That's what the judge told me.)

At the very least, don't deny your dog. They deserve better than us because, well, they're better than us.

So, grab the leash and go for a sniff. But do it for you, too.

Because we're not here forever. Someday we'll all just be questionable foreign solids.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Working from home must agree with you. This is the best column you've written in months. Probably because it's about Mikey. While I'm here why don't you add other options to "Comment as:" like maybe Facebook or something? What the heck is freakin' Wordpress
for Christsakes. ps, Mac Davis did "Stop and smell the Roses" better. Later, Mike

Jarrett Bellini said...

Thanks for the note, Mike. Working from home definitely has advantages, but it does get a little lonely. Happy to have Mikey here with me. As far as comments go, I'm sort of a slave to whatever options Blogger allows.