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Nacho Feet

by Ewa Ritchie about a year ago in dog
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The Smells that Attached Us to Our Furry Loved One

Those eyes!

I sniff my dog. I admit it. I am a closeted dog sniffer. Not really even hidden, to be honest. I tell my family to do it, my friends to do it and now random readers to give it a try. Sniff your dog!

Everyone talks about the love, the unconditional furry love. That is wonderful and every moment is memorable but I like to focus on the smell. I’m really hoping that all dog lovers relate. Wherever they go, whatever they touch, it leaves a mark, a familiarity of a smell.

Like humans, you notice the way those you love smell. Scientists have proven it. Smells trigger memories, choose your mood and can make you very, very happy (in certain ways we will not be writing about). That is where your dog comes in. Not the wet dog smell, but the panting smell, the cuddle smell and finally, the feet. Nacho feet is what we call it. Sniff once,sniff twice and its a smell you will never forget.

When we met Lucy, her smell was one of the things that you noticed right away. She was a tan and black chihuahua with bug eyes and a rounded belly. The look she had is hard to describe. While she panted and stared, we knew that she had to come home with us. Her previous owner was a bit eccentric; she collected small dogs and did not really put too much effort into their happiness.

When we heard there was a chihuahua available, we quickly contacted the agency and almost ran to meet her. The owner agreed to meet us in her home so everyone would be a comfortable. The scene is something you do not forget. There were dogs running around and there was an older woman sitting in a chair. We were surprised at the dog’s condition, all of them really. This was a dog, she said, that was bullied by another dog and needed another home. She was no longer welcome in hers.

Once we agreed to take her home, we learned that she had never been to the vet. This would later explain the odour and the pot-bellied like shape of her tummy. The saddest part was that she slept sitting up. We attributed that to the fact that she shared a pen with many other dogs and struggled for comfort. It took us months but we did end up getting her to finally lay down. We captured it with oodles of pictures because we were so proud of her. The snore that came out of her when she finally slept properly was louder than most, but magical.

When we got in the car, she shared the seat with my husband and our other chihuahua. Seated there on his lap, Lucy was scared. You could almost hear her heartbeat. New smells for her as well. The ride was short and when we arrived at our home we let her smell everything and just get comfortable. Get comfortable she did, she burrowed into our hearts from that moment.

Lucy was just Lucy. There has never been a dog like her nor will there ever be one like her again. When she finally trusted us enough to cuddle, she smelled of old sheets and pee. We discovered that she had Cushing’s syndrome and many, many infections. With all the medications and the years of discomfort, her body was adjusting. But when she curled up next to you and all you could see were her big bug eyes, your heart sank. The smell was not repulsive, or “smelly”, the smell was Lucy. Once the infections healed and the Cushings was calmed, her smell was even more Lucy. When she rolled on her tummy and made you scratch it, she would pant as if in a smile and you could sniff. Her ears, her neck and her paws. All scents that would make you smile, every time. Her nacho feet.

Over time we all grew closer and she was an important part of our family. We would cuddle all the time and never a miss a moment to chase each other around. The belly grew smaller and her character shone through. Her bark was phenomenal, a mixture of a howl and a cackle. All her attributes were heightened by her smells.

Sadly, we lost Lucy barely over a year later. Her infections had taken a toll on her heart and she died in my arms. A memory that still makes me emotional. But, like all great smells, there are times I can still smell her. Her nacho feet will never be forgotten.

Finding a place to lean her head

The head of the pack and her sidekick

She’s having a great time!

Day one


About the author

Ewa Ritchie

A Canadian in Scotland with stories to tell ..

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