Earlier this week, it was raining when Betty and I took our morning walk. It was pelting down pretty hard outside as we circled Schiller Park, and by the time we got home Betty was soaked. She did a few of the familiar dog shakes to try to fling off as much moisture as possible, and I did my best to towel her off, but when I finally let her off the leash and she scampered upstairs, the damage was already done:
Our house was filled, to every remote nook and cranny, with the distinctive aroma of eau de wet dog.
The bouquet of wet dog is one of those highly distinctive smells. It doesn’t seem to vary much from dog to dog, or from long hair breed to short hair breed. To paraphrase former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s statement about pornography, you might not be able to accurately describe eau de wet dog, but you sure as heck know it when you smell it. And once you smell it, you will remember the pungent, musty odor of wet fur and canine sweat and be able to immediately identify it for the rest of your life.
It’s not like one of those phony, instantly forgettable fragrances that people spray in their bathrooms. No, the heady tang of canine cologne is clearly one of the most memorable smells in the olfactory catalog. In the indelible odor category, it’s up there with wood smoke, a salty, algae-laden whiff of oceanfront air, or the inside of a brand-new car.
Not that you want eau de wet dog around your house, of course, but when you’ve got a dog in the house there’s not much you can do about it.