Sniffer

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Nolagirl said she was sending a package, but she didn’t tell me what was in in it.

After traveling from southern Arizona to northern New Mexico, the package must have sat behind the counter of the mail room for at least a week before I was able to get there during business hours to pick it up. I was glad to finally have it in my possession.

Nolagirl had told me there were goodies for The Man in the package too, so I didn’t open it as soon as I picked it up. I threw it in the back seat of the truck, knowing we’d open it together once I returned home from work.

After work, I carried the package into the trailer. I told The Man that Nolagirl had sent us treats. We were both excited to discover what was inside the cardboard box.

I put the box on the floor while I removed my muddy shoes.

As soon as the box was on the floor, Jerico the dog was on it. He put his nose directly on the box and gave it some mighty sniffs. He was really excited to discover what was inside.

Is there food in there? The Man and I asked each other.

Jerico likes food. He enjoys eating, but he’s not what I would call food motivated. Food is not the driving force in his life. Sure, he gets excited by a bit of cheese or a canned fish treat, but he’s not a do-anything-for-food kind of dog. He has kibble in his bowl all the time, and he eats when he’s hungry, but he doesn’t overeat. He stays slim despite being allowed to eat whenever he wants.

The Man and I were skeptical that Jerico would be so enthusiastic about food that might be in the box. Maybe he’d act this way if there were meat in the box…but Nolagirl knew The Man and I are vegetarians. I doubted she would have sent us meat.

I got my shoes off and grabbed a pair of scissors to cut open the tape holding the flaps closed. Jerico continued to express interest in the box even after I lifted it from the floor.

I sliced into the tape, then pulled the flaps apart. I saw a small package of pistachios (which The Man and I shared right away), half a pound of Camilla brand red kidney beans, a box of granola bars, a box of breakfast cookies…and three blue rubber balls intended for playing racquetball.

While Jerico may not be motivated by food, he is certainly motivated by playing ball. Playing ball is Jerico’s most favorite thing in the whole world, the driving force in his life, and when he plays ball, the ball he plays with is a blue one intended for racquetball use. He was thrilled when I pulled those balls from the box and let him have one.

I was impressed that Jerico had sniffed out those balls through the cardboard box. What really amazed me, however, was that the particular smell that told him his favorite type of balls was in the box was still intact after Nolagirl touched them to put them in the box, after the box traveled from Nolagirl’s house to a post office to my mail room to our house, after the box sat in the mail room for more than a week, and after the box sat in the truck for hours while I was at work. All dogs have a keen sense of smell, but Jerico’s nose is something special.

Jerico is a hound dog. He’s part beagle, the vet said when The Man brought him in for his first checkup after being found as a puppy. You might not see the beagle in him at first glance, but when he throws his head back and starts barking loudly, his beagle heritage is apparent. He’s a beagle and he has a lot to say. He’s a beagle and he’s got quite a sniffer.

I don’t know if Jerico could sniff our a lost child or a fugitive from a law, but he proved he can sniff out a blue racquetball, even one he’s never touched.

I took this photo of the little sniffer sitting on top of the clean laundry in the backseat of the truck waiting for me to return from buying groceries one winter day.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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