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Despite this we stay: Dog Boogers

Disclaimer: This article contains graphic material which may not be suitable for all audiences. Reader discretion is advised. I’ve had dogs since I was a little kid, which was after World War II, but not so long after. In those days, at least in the rural area where I lived, most dogs did not reside in the house with their people. They had their very own dog houses. They spent all of their time outdoors doing what rural dogs do. So there was a part of a dog’s life that was basically a mystery to its human family. We liked it that way. We didn’t purposely watch our dogs go potty, we didn’t observe the disgusting stuff they rolled in, and only once in a while did they drag a month-old groundhog carcass from the back 40 to the homestead in order to gnaw on it while basking in the warm summer sun. I don’t ever remember any of my dogs having a runny nose, for instance. And if they did, they snotted somewhere unseen. Times have changed. It’s pretty common these days to have either a cat or a dog living in the typical American home. As pet owners, we have seen animals do some of the most distasteful and unpleasant things in our homes. Still, for some unknown reason, we clean it up and continue to let them live with us. Recently, one of our dogs came down with a runny nose. And in my entire lifetime, I’ve never had the unwelcome pleasure of observing this. I’ll have to say, and maybe you’ve noticed this, dogs have no sense of propriety when it comes to discharging snot. When they have to sneeze, they just haul off and sneeze, whether you are petting them, feeding them a treat or holding their head in your hands and looking right into their eyes. It does not occur to a pet that their sneeze will splatter goo all over your glasses. Heck, they don’t even know what glasses are. And if you would let them, they would even be glad to lick the mess off your glasses, in a gesture of goodwill. Of course, you can’t let them do that because you are too busy barfing in the kitchen sink. Those of us who have had snotty noses know that once in a while one nostril will plug up with some thick gooey stuff that is very similar to that kid’s glue that you apply with a brush. They call it mucilage, but we always referred to it as “the stuff that looks like snot.” And maybe you didn’t know this, but I’m here to testify that dog snot behaves quite similarly to people snot. Unfortunately for my entire family, our dog with the snotty nose developed a Grade AA booger plug in his nostril, and it was making him – as well as us – very uncomfortable. He was wheezing and snarfing when he was awake and snoring loudly when he was asleep. We were starting to lay bets on when he would sneeze that booger plug out and whose hair it would land in – because that’s just the way it happens, isn’t it? In a bid to avoid having a booger sneezed into our hair, we [OK, Rick would want you to know that he did NOT participate in this escapade] thought it might be a good idea to grab ahold of the booger with something like tweezers, or chopsticks and yank it out. Hey, if you can pick up a wonton, you can pick up a booger, right? Sadly, dogs don’t have fingers to pick their nose with. So it truly was a mission of mercy. The dog, however, did NOT think this was a good idea and he fought fiercely to keep us away from his clogged sniffer. He became a snarling beast whenever our hands even approached his nose. Dogs don’t know what boogers are any more than they know what glasses are, so I’m sure he thought we were trying to pinch off his nose. Honest, we were just trying to perform a booger-ectomy. Well, as they say, boogers have a job to do, and so it was with our dog’s. It served its purpose, and one day it just disappeared. Maybe it fell out in the front yard, maybe it fell out in the dog bed, and maybe one of the other dogs ate it. All we know is, we’re sure glad it’s gone.