She opened the back slider and let the dog out in to the yard. She stood there for a moment drinking her coffee and watching the first light of the day etch across the sky. It looked like it was going to be a perfect Fall day. Crisp but not cold. Sunny and bright with that beautiful golden light that only seemed to happen in November.
She started making her mental list of Saturday chores when she saw the dog make a b-line for a pile of leaves in the yard. "What is that damn dog doing?" He launched himself at the pile and started rolling around and around rubbing his back into the leaves, paws extended skyward in doggy bliss.
"Oh shit!" She opened the door and started to run toward the dog, "Rufus! Rufus no!" the smell hit her before she ever reached the dog. Why in the world do they do that? Find the grossest things to roll in? It's like people who know the milk is spoiled and hand it to you, "This is gross, here smell." Dogs are those people just as dogs! "Hey, this stinks! Let me roll around in it and carry it with me all day!" And didn't dogs have extra sensitive noses? Like they could smell things from farther way and stronger than humans? So wouldn't that make it even worse?
She stopped and tried not to retch. God, this was the worst. And still that damn dog was squirming around like a pig in mud. Which, again, why the fuck do they do that? Pigs in mud. It's just gross. Let me find some gross dirt and fling myself in to it. And then really rub it in. Ugh. She could feel the itch in her jaw warning her that she was going to vomit. She had to back away.
She went in to the house to try and enlist help but of course nobody was up. Or if they were they saw or smelled what was going on and were staying hidden until the ordeal was over. She looked in the cabinet to see if they had any tomato juice. And of course they did. She bought it in bulk, after all. That damn dog was a stink magnet. She pulled out a couple of the large cans to take outside. She'd have to dig the tub out of the garage and fill it with juice and water and vinegar then wrestle Rufus in to the tub. The whole time getting that stink on her as well. She'd change in to something she could just burn afterwards. Washing it never took the smell all the way out. She, unfortunately, had too much experience in this matter.
She opened the back door again and put the washing supplies on the picnic table and then went in to change and put some vapo rub under her nose. If it was good enough for television cops it was good enough for her. Her husband was still in bed. Pretending to sleep. "I see you faking. You better get up and help or I am going to let him come in here before I wash him!" He just closed his eyes tighter calling her bluff. There was no way she would let the dog inside when he smelled like that. It would seep in to the rug and they would never get it out. Again, too much experience in the matter.
After changing and getting a generous dollop of vapo rub on she made a pit stop in the kitchen to grab her dish washing gloves then headed back out in to the yard. She pulled the tub out and filled it with her miracle combination of vinegar, tomato juice and water. The first time she had done it she had taken the time to heat the water on the stove first. Now Rufus got cold out of the hose. It served him right for rolling in that nastiness.
She stalked across the yard to get him. He was still rolling around making happy grunting noise. "Oh look at me, this is the best, smell this!" That damn dog. She grabbed his collar and started pulling him toward the tub. She would hit him with the hose first to rinse any...well...ick off of him. Getting the pieces off before he got in to the tub and she actually had to touch him. Even through the gloves it was disgusting. She had learned that the hard way.
"Rufus, Sit!" He sort of sat, mostly crouched back legs quivering, ready to take off for the pile again as soon as she let go of him. So she held him with one hand and sprayed him with the other. Then she picked him up and put him in the tub. Scrubbing him down over and over until his fur was pink and frothy. Then she took him back out and sprayed him down again. She did this three times. Three being the number it usually took. She towel dried him then wrestled him inside.
Her family had miraculously appeared by this point. "Someone give him a whiff and see if the smell is gone. All I can smell right now is tomato and vapo rub." Her youngest called the dog over and gave him a whiff.
"Nothing here but ketchup."
"Great. I'm going to take off these things for the burn pile. Whoever's job it was to bury Mrs. Johnson better get out there and do it right this time. You were at least 3 feet shy of a good hole. Piling the leaves on top was just sloppy work and I'm very disappointed."
She turned to go get herself cleaned up grabbing the dog by the collar to make sure he didn't make a break for the pile again. It's what he liked to do. The damn dog.