Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hi, my name is Polly!

If you've ever been to a conference, whether related to your job, or your hobby, or your church, you've had to wear an ID badge that says: HI! MY NAME IS (fill in the blank)!
I once saw a cartoon in the New Yorker that showed a conference of dogs, all wearing little signs on their tails that said, HI! MY NAME IS TAFFY! and HI! MY NAME IS SPOT! and so on.
The idea of dogs sniffing each others' butts in order to say hello and catch up on the gossip is hilarious to humans who go through a similar ritual with air-kisses and finger-squeezes. Now that we have so many dogs, we can observe this sniffed greeting dozens of times throughout the day. It doesn't matter if the dog has been separated from the pack for 5 minutes or 5 hours, they go through the sniff ritual.
Except for Polly. Maybe it's because she's so short (I can sympathize with that) and just can't reach the bigger dogs' butts, or maybe because she has found a different vocation. Polly checks ears, not butts. While the other dogs stuff their snouts into each others' anus, Polly waits patiently until they plop down on the floor, giving her access to their more fascinating appendages...their ears. Then she sticks her little snout into the ears and thoroughly licks them. It may be that she somehow gets the gossip this way, or it may be that she just likes the taste of ear wax (hard to imagine). A side benefit of this ritual is that the dog whose ear is being licked (the lickee) is soothed almost into a coma by the licking. His eyes close, his mouth forms a dreamy smile, he leans a bit closer towards Polly...aaah! It's heaven on earth!

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