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National Smell Like a Dog Day

No "my dog's got no nose" jokes, please.
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(+6, -1)
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(Typed by MaxwellBuchanan on behalf of his dog.)

I am just back from a long walk. It was all well and good, but I have an aching neck. Why? Because every time I stop to smell something important, I get my lead yanked on after a few seconds. Even when I'm off lead, I get told to hurry up and not get left behind.

For goodness' sake! Do you humans not _get_ the whole point of walks? Smell is everything! When we're walking along the high street, do I pull on the lead every time you stop to stare into a window? Well, OK, I do, but that's not the point.

You really don't get smell at all, and you have no idea how important it is to us on the end of the lead.

Of course you like to say that your sense of smell is much poorer than ours, doncha? Well, that's like walking around with your eyes shut and saying you can't see very well. The way you walk around, all upright, of _course_ you can't smell a bloody thing. Do you ever notice what we dogs do when we want to smell something? We put our noses right down to it and make a bit of a bloody effort, that's what.

You may have stupidly small noses, but when push comes to shove they're pretty good. Give you lot a glass of a '64 Merlot, and you'll be droning on for hours about bloody blackberries and a hint of diesel. Oh yes, your noses are fine _then_ aren't they?

Anyway, I've had just about enough. Not long ago I had to put up with being dragged along on a "Bring your dog to work" day. (Do you have any idea how out of place I feel in the East Fenglia Institute for Advanced Topology? No, you don't.) Which gave me an idea.

It's not much to ask, really. I just want an international "Smell Like a Dog Day" day. Just one day.

On "Smell Like a Dog Day" day, all you have to do is take your long- suffering dog on a walk. Anywhere you like, your choice (as bloody always, by the way).


and this is a big but. When your dog stops to sniff something, you sniff it too. I don't mean just stand there and breathe in and say 'oh yes, cat pee'. I mean get down on your hands and knees, get your nose up close (no, don't stick it in whatever I'm smelling - you don't see me doing that, do you?) and sniiiiiifffffff.

OK, OK, I don't expect you'll be able to recognize which dogs have peed against that plant, or which small animal has died there a few weeks ago. I don't expect you to be able to tell that somebody trod on a stink-bug at this particular point, or that somebody eating a MacDonald's left a particularly alluring greasy handprint on the arm of the park bench. I don't even particularly expect you to like a lot of the smells (I don't either, but they're important.)

But you might, just might, get a whiff of what it is I'm so interested in down there, now and again. You just might get the vaguest, remotest conception of the brighter, more vibrant parts of the complicated smell-world I walk around in. You might, with a bit of luck, at least realize that the world I stick my nose in is every bit as complicated and informative as your glass of Merlot.

And if you do this, you just possibly perhaps might stop yanking on my fucking lead.

MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011


       People with Addison's Disease can sometimes have an enhanced sense of smell. I would imagine that if the appropriate receptor for the relevant cortical hormones were to be found somewhere in the olfactory bulb or nerves, and it's pretty small, it could maybe be blocked and the human sense of smell would improve.   

       Also, clearly the sense of smell gets stronger with hunger. If this isn't connected with cortisol, maybe the same could be done again.   

nineteenthly, May 15 2011

       <typed on behalf of dog> Bloody croissants. Who wants bloody croissants?<\tobod>
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011

       [19thly] that's interesting. I wonder what the neurological basis is. What's known? There's also a case-study by Oliver Sacks of a man who experienced a temporary hyperosmia. My guess is that we can all smell better than we usually do (in a manner of speaking), but we only "switch it on" when we concentrate (as with wine tasting). I presume, then, that hyperosmia (maybe like in Addison's) is a fairly high-level phenomenon.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011

       Apparently this is unrelated to Smell Like A Frog Day.
thumbwax, May 15 2011

       I like this idea just fine. I'm not going to do it, but I like it.
dentworth, May 15 2011

       /'64 Merlot/   

       Surely it was a '61 Latour or perhaps a Petrus from the famed MB cellar?   

       Get your owner to take you to Specsavers.
DenholmRicshaw, May 15 2011

       If you think I'm going to whip out the '61 Latour (overrated though it is) for a quick sniff, you're sadly misundertaken.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011

       // I'm not going to do it, but I like it.//   

       Aww, go on. Just once. Maybe in the privacy of your own garden. Borrow a dog if necessary.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011

       An inspired idea, worth a luxuriant wallowing.
Sir_Misspeller, May 15 2011

       [thumbwax], the thumbwax??? Hey by the way, I think we are neighbors now...   

       Where ya been. I feel like I'm talking to a ghost.   

       Oh yeah, the idea, I don't get it. (neutral).
blissmiss, May 15 2011

       [blissmiss] the idea is that, once a year, we all go about on hands & knees sniffing. To enlarge our range of sensory experience, or to empathize with dogs better, or to refute Thomas Nagel, or something.
mouseposture, May 15 2011

       I don't think I much like that then. (neutral.)
blissmiss, May 15 2011

       I told my dog people wouldn't get it. Never listens.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011

       I say, my dog's got no nose!
hippo, May 16 2011

       Really [hippo], how does it smell?
pocmloc, May 16 2011

       //how does it smell?//
It stinks.
neelandan, May 16 2011

       [MB], what i don't get is why our sense of smell is so dampened down. If we can smell better, why does it take an endocrine problem to improve it? Why wouldn't it just be good?   

       [Blissmiss], if there's a way of improving the sense of smell it would be easier to get away without getting down on all fours, because we'd be able to smell better from where we are.   

       Also, i'm wondering if there are special features of canine nasal anatomy which we lack but could mimic with a prosthesis, so it could also be "national look like a dog day".
nineteenthly, May 16 2011

       [19thly] I think our sense of smell is to some extent inferior to a dog's (fewer receptors); to some extent suppressed (we don't smell intently in the same waay that we look intently, except when we wine-tasting etc); and to a very large extent impeded by the fact that our noses are 6ft away from most smells (why do dogs get right in there and snuffle?)   

       However, a good wine-taster or perfumier can, I think, come close to a dog in identifying individual components, where they come from and so forth. So I think the biggest barriers are our height and our lack of practice.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2011

       Well, height is an obstacle if we want to smell stuff on the ground or otherwise low down, but if we want to smell things at our nose level, not so much. Also, if we as men want to mark our territory the stream of urine could be made to hit the target at nose level.
nineteenthly, May 16 2011

       "good wine-taster or perfumier can, I think, come close to a dog in identifying individual components" - [MB]   

       If this is the case, why aren't dogs doing these jobs?   

       Don't say it's because they can't communicate with us - at some point a person must have interpreted a dog's reaction to smells to establish the dog's olfactory superiority.
Twizz, May 16 2011

       "Right, Luba, bark once for gooseberry and twice for lemongrass."
*bark bark bark*
"For ffff- gods sake Luba, I don't care if there are people trapped in a mine, I've got to get these tasting notes to Good Food magazine today or Lord S will have my balls in a hamper. "
calum, May 16 2011

       //If this is the case, why aren't dogs doing these jobs?// Errr, I think you're arguing that human smell is more acute than dogs', which is going further than I would. However, to answer the question, it is presumably because top oenologists and perfumiers are well paid, and quietly shove Oil of Wintergreen up the noses of any dogs that are competing with them for the top jobs.   

       Also, you'd wind up with wine that smelled of squirrels and perfumes that smelled of sheep droppings.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2011


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