What stinks

Walden catches some good smells photo: nici williams

You know what I like best about living in San Francisco? The air! Yep, the air is so fresh and invigorating I can hardly stand it. On our roof deck, the breeze brings so many wonderful smells — the bay, the Presidio eucalyptus trees, the fireplaces, and the occasional barbecue waft from a neighbor’s grill (that’s my favorite). Sometimes, when the wind is just right, I catch the aroma of the bay mixed with what I hear Dad say is a sea lion. I don’t know what that is, but it sure has a strange bark.

As you know, smells are terrific for us dogs. It’s part of our genetic makeup to keep in touch with our canine friends. We leave messages on trees to say, “Hi, I came by today and missed you.” (OK, sometimes the message is, “This is my tree, so keep away!”)

One of the best smell places is the dog park. My favorite is Alta Plaza. It has to be the closest thing to dog heaven on earth: the grass, the bushes, the trees, the messages from my pals, and most of all, the get-to-know-you sniffs. What a grand reunion with my dog friends with our tails a-waggin’ and noses pokin’ each other’s private parts! (Sorry, that’s just what we do — sniff butts.)

So when we go walking in the neighborhood, I keep my nose to the ground for additional wistful olfactory delights, like sandwich wrappers or pizza boxes. I like those, but Dad doesn’t, because like I wrote last time, he thinks people should make more of an effort to keep our neighborhood clean.

But, I gotta tell ya, there is one truly offensive smell — cigarette butts. Digusting. I can be happily walking along smelling all kinds of great things, and I’ll get a whiff of what could possibly be a sniff delight until I get close enough to find it’s a stale, burned-out tobacco smell.

I really don’t understand why people do something that’s so unhealthy and offends so many. Of course, I get freedom of choice and all that, but it does seem curious that we have laws to protect people from harm, like mandatory helmets use on motorcycles, but no laws against habits that are known to cause diseases that will kill you. But I digress.

My main beef is discarded cigarette butts. Mom says it costs the city a lot of money to clean them up, and when they wash into the waterways, they hurt the fish and other animals who live there. So there ought to be a law: “Toss a cig, go to the brig.” I’m just sayin’. That likely won’t happen, but what could is a little change of attitude from those who toss their butts: Consider how offensive it is to the rest of us (and to the beauty of our community) when we find the streets and sidewalks littered with butts. And for the rest of us who find butts by our stores or homes, let’s sweep them up to keep our public areas as fresh as the air off of the San Francisco Bay.

That’s my point of view. No ifs, ands or butts” about it, because after all, I know butts.

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Walden Majer is a rescued 8-year-old poodle-bichon mix and starts his nose-to-the-ground perspective each day from Cow Hollow. E-mail: [email protected]