Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Nose Knows

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Against my best effort to thwart Delilah getting after something we wouldn’t want her to have, I came out entirely outmatched. It’s not that I doubt her olfactory abilities, it’s just that I’ve seen her get excited over so many spots that turn up nothing that I hoped this would be one of those.

It’s not uncharacteristic for her to venture off-trail to follow some critter’s paw prints, stopping at whatever point I decide to lock her retracting leash. I rarely allow her to go past our property line and usually stop her from forcing me to step off the trail, but generally grant her the added excitement of some varied explorations beyond the obvious path.

The other day, she fervently wanted to go after something that she sensed while we were still on the trail. With a complete lack of interest in her goal, I waited as she made her way as far as the leash reached into a tangle of growth. I waited and waited.

We each held our ground until I finally decided to tug the leash and talk her into coming back to the trail. She reluctantly came out, took a couple of steps on the trail, and then headed right back into that tangle from a new angle. She really wanted something in there, so I decided to take a look for myself.

I pulled her back until I could clip her leash to the nearest tree and then I wove my way through the mess to look for the most likely attraction, typically, something dead.

Finding nothing, I came out again to let Delilah have her wish and allowed her to get all the way in there so she could sniff around and find nothing, too.

She rushed back in there and made her way directly to an undisturbed spot of snow, put her face in it and immediately started crunching on some bones. That was exactly what I didn’t want to happen.

I had to go back into the tangle again because she showed no interest in coming out to the trail at the moment. I negotiated a release of her clenched jaw holding what looked like a rib bone.

It was about fifteen feet from the trail under the snow and her nose absolutely knew it was there, most likely dropped by some predator who had cleaned the meat off and left it for other scavengers.

With the fresh bone now tucked into the back pocket of my overalls, I had Delilah’s full attention all the way back to the house. In reward for her letting me take the precious find away from her, I served up a sanctioned purchased bone in place of the wildlife remains of unknown condition.

Her nose didn’t seem at all disappointed in the difference.



Written by johnwhays

February 18, 2022 at 7:00 am

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