Wolf-stink

by Justin

My dog rolled in something dead. He chewed at it first, then slammed his face into the earth and became eight shades of filthy. He also kissed me immediately afterwards, sharing that terrific death-laced breath. And maybe some secret disease of rot – who can know?

As much as I wish he didn’t get down like that, those moments of pure instinct are gems. Dogs tread the line between the wild and the distinctly human, hard-wired to love man desperately and then dive head-first into some other beast’s filth. I wish I obeyed instincts as easily as I obeyed my rational mind. Dogs are thresholders.

So yes, Icarus had brown streaks across his face and leaned in close with the funk of forty thousand years. But how can I not admire an instinct developed by wolves to disguise their scent from prey? Thousands of years later, no longer with any functional purpose, my domesticated dog still taps into that primal drive. The madness that strikes when Icarus chases a rabbit makes more sense – his breed does that by design, and the fruits of the hunt are real and tangible. It’s instinct, yes, but not removed from the tactics of wolfpacks hunting across the wild. Getting all dressed up in decay, though, that’s persisted across millennia. The wolf comes out. It’s a time-breaker, you know? Dogs are like gateways back through time, wormholes disguised as instinct, cutting across the nonsense of civilization and into something pure.

All that said, if his comprehension of cause-and-effect lasted longer than a few moments, Icarus might realize that the terror of a bath probably outweighs the mad thrill of rolling in the dirt.

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