Connoisseur of the Repellant

My male dog Decaf and I have a lot in common. When a good friend brought over roasted chicken, we were both sniffing the air, salivating in anticipation. I ended up with the better end of the deal but he got some chicken skin before the night was through. We’re also fans of snuggling on the couch. If I’m late to our nightly date, he makes a nuisance of himself until firmly plopped against me, maximizing body to body contact.

We’re both mammals. Both pack animals. Both prefer pillows. So the ways we do differ gnaw at me. I find myself wondering how he experiences the world such that what is repulsive to me is desirable to him. Sometimes I don’t catch him in the act and only during our nighttime cuddle do I become aware that he has succeeded in his greatest daily goal. He loves to roll in stinky shit.

It happened again. I was watching him sniff around some tall grass. No biggie. His hobby is finding the pee of other dogs and triumphantly peeing on top of it. I like to let him do his thing, he’s good at it and that’s what I think he’s up to. Then he rotates his head almost completely upside down and slides into something getting a good pressurized coating from the top of his skull to his mid back. If left alone he would proceed to roll back and forth so it covers his sides as well. Really maximizing the smell. I jerked him up and away though only after he already got in one really good smear. Darn it! I bent down to look at what he wanted to smell like and wish I hadn’t. It was slick and gelatinous, sort of like if Dead and Vomit had a baby.

I don’t get it. Wish I could be a dog for 15 minutes so I could understand. I’d like to know in a visceral non-intellectual way what is so appealing about rot. We find it disgusting and it’s healthy that we do but mushrooms don’t and flies don’t and it’s healthy that they don’t. Someone or something needs to tidy up the planet as the life cycle wheel turns. I think about this when I find something really gross that nevertheless calls out to me to become a face. Decorum strongly suggests I leave it and not risk alienating my viewer with disgust. Yet, perhaps it’s just a perspective shift. One man’s repugnance is another dog’s treasure is another fly’s lunch, is another plant’s fertilizer. The part of me that sees faces is more like my dog then like me. Another thing we have in common. Here is a collection of my most foul faces. Enjoy!



All images © 2015-2020 Caren McCaleb


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