B.T.’s Mama (aka Dear Wife), in a comment on “Dogs Are Not Like Us” points out that there is more to the story of Shasta’s odorific discovery. So I thought I’d now share the conclusion to that sordid tale, in which we solve the mystery of the unpleasant odor. But be warned, dear reader: this is not a journey for the faint-of-heart.
Dear Wife ended up having to bathe Shasta – our hose down was insufficient to really clean her, and Dear Wife was working from home that day (in part to wait on the Electrician and in part because she’s significantly pregnant and has a special dispensation to do so), and could not abide with the lingering stench. I feel for her. My encounter with the smell was bad enough; I can only imagine what it must have been like for a pregnant woman, whose sense of smell is magically enhanced by baby-having hormones.
Now, on days when Dear Wife gets to stay at home to work, one of Shasta’s fondest activities is prancing and laying around in the backyard, enjoying the outdoorsiness of it all. And Dear Wife, needing to do some actual work, couldn’t be a day-long doggy-playmate. So, eventually, out and into the yard dear Shasta had to go.
Which was apparently fine, for most of the day. Until she found it again: that wonderfully repugnant stinky spot she’d so joyfully smeared herself in before. My poor Dear Wife had to dump buckets of water onto our poor dear puppy, to try to clean her off a bit. Then she had to rush off to another “getting ready for baby” type class at the hospital that evening. (I eventually made it to class, after a painfully long day at the day job.) When we got home, it was my turn to give Shasta a bath (the stench still lingered faintly in her coat).
By then it was too late to do a decent search of the backyard – the sun had long since nestled down for the night in its cradle. So, just before bed, I took Shasta out for her traditional “last-chance” to do her outdoor business. Normally we let her just go and do whatever she needs to do in the backyard. But last night I followed her out and watched her from the deck. After she’d had enough time prowling in the shadows where I couldn’t see her very well, I called her back for bed.
She brought a present.
I couldn’t tell what it was. It was a black, lump of a thing, grotesquely shaped, with some unidentified bits hanging off of it. Something told me it was related to the smell Shasta was so in love with. Probably it was the smell of the thing. I made Shasta drop it. Then I got a closer look at it.
Was that a jaw bone sticking out of one side of it?
It was dark, and I didn’t have time to investigate further. It was time for bed. So I brought Shasta in with me, leaving the thing out on the deck for the time being.
This morning, after taking Shasta for a morning walk (we missed our customary morning jog because I overslept a little due to the late night previous, so it was a shorter walk for her today), I returned to the deck, and had a closer look in the light of day.
It was indeed a jaw bone coming out the side, for the thing was the not-fully decomposed head of a very dead squirrel. Using plastic bags, I cleaned up the skull, tracked Shasta’s movements from the prior night, and found the headless body of the squirrel. The thought of it still gives me shudders. Was the filth that streaked through Shasta’s fur yesterday morning in fact bits of dead squirrel?
The body of the squirrel met the same fate as the skull. But Dear Wife, watching from the deck, noticed a concerning problem: Shasta was still delighted with the scent of the ground that had recently been the final resting place of said squirrel. The solution, we hoped, was a little bit of Lysol spray on the spot to mask the odor. Imagine the absurdity of that: spraying Lysol on the grass!
So, that mystery was solved, and dealt with. But we were left with another mystery, one which may never be solved: where did the squirrel come from? Did Shasta catch and kill it, as she always threatens to do? Or was it only random circumstance that had it meet the end of its days in our backyard?