The smell of fatherhood

A week ago, M. and I were at a festival in northern Colorado. We put the two big dogs in a boarding kennel, but we brought Susie, who used to be my dad’s dog. She was a basset hound-something mix, she was dying of cancer at age 13, and this, frankly, was her last outing.

Susie spent most of three days lying on a folded blanket in the shade of some small Douglas firs, but on the first afternoon, she tottered after us on a visit to a friend’s campsite. When she got there, she lay down by my friend’s chair.

“She likes you,” M. said to him. “Maybe it’s the familiar scent.”

He smokes a pipe, you see–which is why this essay hit me hard.