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By Sean Dietrich

By Sean Dietrich

DEAR SEAN:

Can I babysit your dog sometime? I have always wanted a bloodhound, and my mom says no. But I read once where you let someone babysit your dog, Thelma Lou, and I thought maybe I could do it, maybe when we’re done with social-distancing.

Please say yes,
KID-
FROM-MINNESOTA

DEAR MINNESOTA:

First of all, Minnesota is a LONG way from Florida. I just did an internet search and discovered that Minnesota is somewhere close to the Arctic Circle.

Secondly, I doubt you want to babysit my dog. My dog goes around eating – and I do not mean to be crude – cat poop. Actually, she doesn’t care which species‘ excrement she eats, as long as it’s kosher. Any kind will do. Cats, raccoons, bears, water buffalo, giraffes. This is why you must NEVER let my dog give you a kiss.

I repeat. Never.

Right now, she is sitting on my feet. She weighs about a hundred pounds, and she gets heavier each day. This is because she eats everything in sight. Even furniture.

I don’t know if you know about bloodhounds, but they are truly scientific marvels. Bloodhounds have a nose with 300 million smell receptors.

To give you an idea of how many that is, consider this: Your typical household American man has approximately two smell receptors. We men couldn’t smell odors coming from our own armpits if we were locked in a laundry hamper. Consequently, the average American wife can smell a decomposing tomato from a house three streets away.

A bloodhound’s nose is even more sensitive than that. Their noses can track a scent 12 days after the source has left an area. It is so sensitive that a bloodhound can smell one drop of human blood in several gallons of water.

The thing to remember here is that a dog’s taste buds are related to its sense of smell. Which means my dog loves to eat and taste things that you’ve never thought of tasting before. Such as, say, underpants.

Last night, for example, my wife and I went on a short walk after supper. When we got back, we discovered that Thelma Lou had broken into our closet and rooted around in open drawers.

There were about 50 pairs of underwear scattered throughout the house, and about six million pairs of socks. Also on the floor were three decimated bags of Chili Cheese Fritos, and a pile of vomit that contained grass clippings, and pieces of a children’s action figure.

When my wife and I walked through the door, we were greeted by my dog – this is a true anecdote – who had a pair of underpants stuck over her head, with one eye poking through a leg hole.

So you would really have to watch out for your personal belongings if you babysat at my house.

Plus, there is also something about the issue of sleep. I don’t know if you like to sleep, but I do. Or at least I used to. I haven’t slept since the Coolidge administration because Thelma Lou doesn’t sleep. Instead, she does her nightly canine patrols, looking out the windows for prowlers so that she might get them to throw her toy duck.

She never sees any prowlers, but she does see plenty of raccoons. She howls all night long at the raccoons. No matter how many various objects we throw at the walls during the throes of sleep, shouting, “SHUT UP!” she keeps howling.

A bloodhound has a low-pitched voice, so her howl sort of sounds like a grown man’s voice would sound if he got a bikini wax: “WHOOOOOOOAA WOOO!!!”

I hear it every night at about three in the morning. When she’s not howling, we hear her other trademarked sounds.

CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!

That is the sound of her claws pacing back and forth on our tile floor during the wee hours. This sound will drive you to primal-level psychosis.

But I should clarify something here. I don’t want to paint a bad picture of bloodhound ownership. Because aside from all their drawbacks, bloodhounds also pass gas.

That’s right, we’re talking powerful smells. It is not an exaggeration to say that my dog has made smells so bad that company has left our house because of it.

Once, we had some friends over. We were all playing Scrabble after dinner, and Thelma Lou was under the table, sleeping and making smells. She had apparently eaten a squirrel corpse because she was creating odors that caused our friends to suddenly stand up before the game was over and announce, “Well, this was fun!”

And they dematerialized into the night.

There is one thing I forgot to mention before I leave you. A really great thing about bloodhounds is that when you are sad they love you. A few days ago, I was having a crummy day. Thelma Lou could sense this. Call it her keen sense of smell. I don’t know.

She plopped into my lap with all her weight. Her skin sort of melted everywhere. You can literally dig around for hours in her piles of loose skin and not find her. She cured my blues, and somehow, that’s the magic of a dog. I don’t know how they do it, but they do.

I rubbed her for a whole afternoon. I stroked her tummy in such a way that it made her totally paralyzed. Then she got so excited that she gave me a big wet kiss.

Sure, you can babysit her. How about I drop her off at your place?

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