Humans fret about things they can’t change then don’t do anything about the things they can. Take the guy I’m herding, he’s always thinking and getting upset about what we find on the beach. When he forgets to bring a bag he feels lousy, when he remembers a bag and picks up the stuff we find he feels better. He doesn’t tell me this, I sense it, smell it actually. I can smell everything, anger, fear, anxiety, joy, satisfaction and happiness all mixed together along with that distant whiff of ginger or is it the tang of sea salt mixed with the charred remains of an old cedar log, smoldering far, far away? Someone had a bit of a fermented libation here around the fire too.
My human can’t see much and can’t hear much either. One early morning after I herded him out the door, I loped down the beach to check – checking is a big part of my job. I found some interesting tracks on the sand that I had never seen before. I smelled the line of depressions, the scent was neither fish nor fowl but something altogether different. My human was trudging along like a sleepy sheep and about to turn back when I circled around and herded him to the strange marks. He couldn’t smell the mixture of scent hovering just above each of those prints like I could. I smelled the usual blend of Ocean brine, but then I caught the ambrosia of decomposing oysters in the hot sun or maybe it was the scent of a rotten Jellyfish in the heat of August or perhaps the aroma therapy of wet suit booties? All of these atoms of sharp fragrance popped through my long nose and erupted in my brain. My human finally saw the tracks that ran from the surf line up to the sand dunes. The marks looked a bit like giant Centipede tracks. Then a Golden Retriever with hamburger breath, (I smelled Whopper, cheddar cheese, mayo, mustard, no pickle…delicious), dragged her human over to look at the tracks too. Goldie, from southern California barked “Green Turtle”.
“Wow, Green Turtles on Ona Beach?” I barked back.
Goldie’s human asked about our Surfrider debris bag so my human gave him one. They both started picking up trash. Other humans arrived, looked at the tracks and they started picking up trash too. I suddenly smelled enthusiasm in the air. We never saw the Green Turtle but it had been here, right here at Ona Beach, we had proof and that proof suddenly made it more important to remember to bring a bag to the beach, to the grocery store and anywhere us dogs check for Turtles.