Dear ma,

Ever since you forcibly gave us all a bath on Sunday, we’ve been meaning to explain our side of the story. It is true, Momo rolled on jackal poo. You accused her of smelling “rank,” but we disagree. To us, she smelt heavenly. If we had a chance, we’d have made a beeline for the spot and rolled in it too. We can’t explain why we do it.

You human animals have various theories. One says we do it to disguise our telltale doggie smell while creeping up on unsuspecting little birds and squirrels. But why would we mask our scent with another predator’s? Besides, are we idiots to exchange our slight doggie smell for a strong one that is noticeable miles away? Sometimes you humans are dumb.

Biologists think wolves, our distant cousins, roll in carrion so pack members know there’s food to be had and what it smells like. But they also roll in excreta. Although we don’t get along with wolves, we’ll grudgingly acknowledge they are not depraved enough to eat their own or anyone else’s feces. They will if they are starving but not otherwise. So when, then, roll on poo?

Let’s just say, we are hopelessly attracted to smelly stuff, whether it is jackal feces, or a long-dead bird or rat. Those wolves are only telling their pack like Momo told us, “Hey guys, there’s some really heady stuff over there to roll on. Here, sniff.” You like bright colours of flowers, clothes and paintings, and we like loud smells. We might roll on flowers if only they smelt stronger.

We pee and poo around the garden to mark our territory. Other dogs sniffing our scent bombs will be able to tell we are three girls and one boy, Koko is old and Bhima is young, and we’d beat them up if they set foot on our domain. Had you not fixed the girls, boy dogs could tell when they come on heat.

One thing is for sure though, we hate the smell of shampoo and we struggle to get rid of it. But you prohibit us from even rolling on warmed-by-the-sun, green grass. That is our biggest complaint.

Smell is important to you humans too, except you won’t accept it. We don’t know how to say this gently but that new stink bottle you bought the other day? Well, it’s disgusting. We smirked when you read the label out loud to pa, “A floral fragrance with top notes of bergamot, neroli and jasmine. With this eau de parfum you will experience the sensual essence that makes you feel special.” We think it makes you smell less human and more like a creature from outer space cloaked in artificial chemicals.

You know when you smell the best? When you play with us in the evenings. You get hot and sweaty and all your scent pores open up wide. That is the true you, the real you. Have you not noticed how pa reacts to that mongoose-y scent? No, you haven’t. You may be embarrassed to hear this but your scent reveals your hormonal levels, your emotional status and receptivity to him. Then you ruin it by showering and smearing all kinds of smelly goo. Sheesh!

If it helps to understand us better, think of jackal poo as our eau de parfum that we like to wear to make ourselves sensually special. We realize Momo sleeps under your table and a strong smell would distract you. So can we reach a compromise please? We will willingly go for a bath if we smell unacceptable to your genteel senses. But could we roll on grass after that please? That’s all we ask.

Love you,

Koko, Lola, Momo and Bhima (in hierarchical order)

PS. One more thing, please throw away that stink bottle and join us on the grass.

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