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What’s that smell?

There are no sissified city dogs at my house. We have rough and tumble mountain dogs around these parts. And, that means, they get into all sorts of really gross situations. So, come with me my friends, and let’s play as David Letterman would say, “fastest growing quiz sensation”  … What’s THAT smell?

Warning! The answer is graphic. If you are squeamish at all, proceed with caution.

(I watched both of Ginko’s knee surgeries from start to finish. I’m not a light touch, when it comes to icky things, but this nearly did me in.)

Before we headed down to town for dinner to celebrate my latest NY Times piece Sunday night, I noticed Lilly looked extremely bloated. She acted fine, but her normally svelt tummy looked really distended.

Now, if she was a deep chested, large breed dog, I would have panicked, but since she isn’t, I figured that whatever it was, she’d be fine. Honestly, she really does have a stomach of steel.

Later, she pottied normally and still seemed fine … except, she smelled. I mean really, really smelled.

Since she (and Ginko) consider scat a delicacy, we assumed she’d gone on a poop eating binge without us noticing. That’s what we figured was causing her stomach to be as tight as a drum.

Morning came, and again she ate and pottied for daddy as usual (although quantity did seem high).

And, yet, there was still this SMELL. I’d catch a whiff of it as I ran up and down the hall, getting ready to start my day. Yes, she was still a bit stinky, but it lingered elsewhere too.

Finally, I got up my nerve and decided to look in her crate (where she sleeps at night). I knew the news wasn’t good when I got within 5 feet. The stench amazed me. But, I had to get whatever it was out … of … the … house.

I started pulling her blankets out, looking for the source, but at close range it was tough going. Then, I saw something — lumpy, slimy, sort of brown and gray and red.

I figured poop and instantly felt bad for her. Honestly, what perfectly house-trained, crate-trained dog do you know that would have an accident unless it was just something awful?

Thankfully, the pile of yuck seemed firmly stuck to blanket, so no need to scoop or contain yet. I hollered at Tom that I’d found the source of the smell.

I pulled it out and held the blanket at arm’s length. I got a better look at it, and I knew … it wasn’t poop. It was a partially digested mouse or vole. She must have hacked it back up, during the night.

I honestly don’t remember what I said to Tom because my gag reflex kicked in, and if I didn’t get some distance from this thing, I was going to hurl, and then we’d have a bigger mess to clean up.

So, again, I don’t know what I said, but Tom replied, “Let me see.” (That’s a big boy for you … let me see the grossest thing to ever grace our home.)

I have NO time to fiddle around. It’s taking every ounce of strength I have not to barf. And, it feels like he’s moving in slow motion to view my awful, awful payload.

I gave him a quick peek before I bailed out the back sliding glass door and dropped the poor dead thing on the ground near the wood pile, where Tom buried it.

Yep. It’s summertime in the Rocky Mountains, and the hunting (it seems) is easy.

Usually, Lilly eats a couple of her catches before she remembers just how bad she feels afterwards. Let’s hope the learning curve is faster this year. I’m not sure my stomach can take it.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.