• Ask Stanley - Let's Roll!

Let’s Roll….

Dear Stanley,

Why are humans allowed to choose their favourite perfumes, but when we find ours deposited in the woods, and proceed to apply it liberally around our ears etc, they pull faces and bung us in the bath. What happened to equal rights?

Daventry, Northants.

Dear Chippy,

I know what you mean about our folks not understanding why we like to roll in all things malodorous, such as fox poop.

They just don’t understand it, do they? I’ve heard Colin and all his dog-walking pals going on at great length trying to explain this most enjoyable canine habit. I heard one lady say it’s instinctive and it’s so we can disguise our smells when we’re out hunting – well it’s beyond me why any self-respecting Border Terrier, out stalking antelope on Hampstead Heath, would want to send a message to its prey that says “Hey, Big Fella, don’t worry, I’m not actually a small, virtually harmless dog who specialises in chasing things down holes, but rather I’m a really aggressive Mr. Fox who I’d run away from pronto if I were you!”

Though thinking about it, I suppose that theory might just explain why we like to wallow in the carcasses of any deceased creatures we come across, disguising ourselves as we do so.

But the only time I rolled in the remnants of a dead sheep up in Cartmel, I immediately became the main source of attraction to several-hundred noisy flies who, swarming and buzzing away around me, then proceeded to act as my escorts across the field and back towards the village.

Now even I found this experience a touch unpleasant, as to a greater extent did Monica, who I was walking at the time. Realising that leading me and my horde of hovering fans into the village would cause something of a stir, to say the least, she ended up dramatically dunking me repeatedly into a nearby stream, out of which I eventually emerged, happily without my flying pals, who had moved off to smelly pastures new.

Anyway, if the aim of immersing myself in carrion was to enable me to sneak up on an unsuspecting wildebeest wandering around Windermere, having a large buzzing cloud of flies moving along with me would hardly have helped in my attempt at subterfuge.

So we need to set the record straight, Chippy – let it be known that the reason we enjoy spreading the odours of various unmentionable substances onto ourselves is nothing to do with our primitive hunting instinct but rather, as you so perceptively observed, it’s for the same reason that humans like to wear perfumes – because we like the smell. And can I say, for the record, that if I’m asked to choose between the smell of some fancy French perfume or a mouldy deceased rabbit, give me the dead bunny any time!

So the next time you hear some inquisitive person ask “Why do dogs do that?” as we immerse ourselves in a pile of pungent poop, our answer should be, “Why don’t you humans do it, more like?”

Go well, and keep rolling in it,

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