A few weeks ago, my friend Brendan Leonard produced a truly inspirational short for the Dirtbag Diaries. In 5 Types of B.O., he breaks down the levels of degradation in body odor. “If there are three types of fun, there should be five types of B.O.” wrote Brendan. Upon further reflection, I realize that those of us who travel with our four-legged hiking companions may also be familiar with the corresponding 5 Types of D.O. (aka. Doggie Odor).
Type 1 – Dog Smell
This isn’t real dog odor. Type 1 DO is what non-dog people refer to as dog smell. Brendan states that with Type 1 BO, you can still smell deodorant. I would counter that with Type 1 DO, you can catch a whiff of shampoo lightly mixed with grass, sand, dirt, mulch, and other innocuous items that your pup has rolled in. Zoey likes to roll in the grass immediately after a bath. I think she’s still clean. My few non-dog friends (I only have a few of them), still wash their hands after petting her and don’t seem amused to have a 50 pound lap dog.
Type 2 – It’s Doggy in Here!
When your pup hits Type 2, you probably start thinking, “I should bathe you.” However, you probably won’t. Maybe when you walk in your house after having been gone for a few hours, you think, “It smells a little doggy in here….” However, as a dog owner, you rationalize that your pup is just going to get wet, muddy, and even dirtier in the next 48-72 hours so why bother with a bath. It isn’t that bad, though you may regret that when you realize that there are bits of grass and dirt in your bed…
Type 3 – Poo Smell
This is legit. Your dog smells! At Type 3, your dog has rolled in something that smells like poo – or maybe is poo – or some sort of dead animal. Mic always manages to find some sort of spot in the grass that makes her smell like dead elephant, but there’s no visible evidence. When your pup hits Type 3, you prefer to NOT let her snuggle on the couch or get in bed. However, that doesn’t necessarily prompt you to immediately bathe her because you have plans for a hike, romp, swim, or paddle in the next 24 hours. At Type 3, you also start to notice that your hand feels sort of nasty after scratching her belly, and you actually think to wash them before eating – though you probably won’t. The thing is, at Type 3, while it may be unpleasant to have your pup in your lap, there isn’t any noticeable debris caked in her coat, maybe just some dirt from the yard or mulch – but that’s clean dirt…
Type 4 – Tub Time
All people have olfactory limits. At Type 4 DO, your dog is truly offensive. She has rolled in goose poo, or horse poo, or something dead. Mad-Dog once had green ears from rolling in goose poo, and Mic could find horse poo on any trail in New England. When your pooch hits this phase, they cannot come back in the house without being scrubbed. If you happen to be camping with your pup and they hit this level, you can try rinsing them in a stream and rubbing the offending area in pine needles. It sort of helps. Of course, if you’re camping with your pup, you probably already resigned yourself to sleeping in a pile of grit. Brendan describes Type 4 BO as “the Voltron of Body Odor.” I’ve found Type 4 DO to require you to drive home from the trail with the windows open despite below freezing temperatures.
Type 5 – Polecat Perfume
In his short, Brendan tells a story about a climber in Alaska who hit the dreaded Level 5. His own smell caused a gag reflex, and his climbing partner refused to enter the tent until 5 minutes after he had zipped himself into his sleeping bag. Type 5 BO “makes people angry and babies cry… Dogs will bark at you.” The only comparable scent on a pooch may be polecat perfume (aka. skunk). All three of our dogs have been sprayed at some point. Mic decided that she loved the smell and relished in her malodorousness. Mad-Dog was mid-pee when she got sprayed in the face, and Zo managed to at least duck. However, with all three of them, multiple boxes of baking soda plus a few quarts of hydrogen peroxide were required, and as all victims know, the smell lingers for months! At Type 5, there is little to do besides marinating your dog and hoping for the best. Personally, I keep RuffWear’s recipe for odor removal bookmarked.
To close the short, Fitz Cahall of the Diaries assures the audience that Brendan normally smells of “sandalwood and coffee.” I can say that most days, Mic & Zo have the scent of Johnson & Johnson, grass, and mulch.