Perhaps you’ve seen the painting by Henri Matisse called The Girl with Green Eyes. It’s a favorite of mine; I even have a print of it. Yesterday I was reminded of the painting when our dog Sioux got a fresh green coating from a cow pie.
Sioux loves to go on walks with us. Unless we keep her right with us, she wanders off to explore, chase rabbits and squirrels, or dig for gophers which is fine with us except for one thing: When she’s out of sight she also loves to roll in cow manure, mostly with her neck and right shoulder. Somehow that’s dog perfume, and after all she’s a very pretty girl.
Yesterday on our hike to Dragon Hill we saw about ten of our neighbor’s cows on our place. We sicced Sioux on them to chase them toward a place where we know the fence is down. I guess she figured she was owed a reward for her chasing duty, so she found a nice cow pie and rubbed her shoulder in it. The mark was a vibrant green, so it must have been from a very recent deposit. I have often wondered if she prefers the pies when they’re crusty and decomposing and writhing with worms, or when they’re still glistening and steamy. Hard to tell since I’m not a connoisseur; when it’s slathered on a dog it all looks and smells the same to me.
Sioux does this often, even though she should know that her perfume will soon be unceremoniously removed. Karla leads Sioux into the bathroom and says “Up up.” Sioux jumps into the bathtub and gets a warm washdown from the shower head, then a toweling-off and an exit from the house till she loses that wet-dog smell.
Maybe I’m all wrong in thinking Sioux actually enjoys rolling in manure. Maybe she really loves getting a nice warm shower and is just using the rolling-in-manure angle to have one.
Naah—that’s crazy. Deep down dogs love to stink and we insensitive humans are just messing up their lives.
Image: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art