Reading Leaves

Today is Halloween, a universally celebrated holiday though probably observed more so in the US  than in other countries around the world. It also means Autumn is in full swing north of the Equator. Ahhh…my favorite ‘color’ and time of year. Since dressing up for the day is strictly abhorred by the fur-kids, I’ll try instead to “make sense about the scents” of this time of year before Winter sends us shivering under thick sweaters, coats and gloves. The weather is mild and the sunlight exquisitely golden. The air is crisp in the early mornings filled with earthy fragrant smells, with special scents buried deep in our brain and are often linked to childhood memories. 

Nothing says Autumn like pumpkins and richly hued leaves but bipeds and canines probably have different thoughts about them. Safe to say we probably all agree on the tastiness of pumpkins. I love the beautiful colors and can’t resist crunching leaves beneath my feet. There’s a special embrace in the changing seasons, from scrutinizing all the red, orange and gold colors of leaves to filling one’s olfactory sensors with their heady aroma.

I can’t help but wonder what Sam and Elsa think about Autumn with its earthy scents especially since they revolted about dressing up for Halloween. For me, I’m inspired to do more reflection in the beautiful light. To deeply inhale and savor harvest tastes and smells. For dogs, “making sense out of scents” is probably different.

Sam, of course, completely buries his nose into it. Even more than usual. Our normal walks take anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes, depending on our route and how many stops we make. These days it takes much longer because a certain ‘someone’ feels compelled to investigate each. and. every. single. fallen. leaf. Always the time waster ‘snoopster’ on our walks anyway busily reading pee mail like it’s a best seller, this time of year Sam must be overwhelmed with smells because he’s acting like some sort of psychic, reading tea leaves. Long, deep inhales and contemplative thoughts no doubt fill his pea brain as the leaves “speak” to him. Now if only he could tell me how long each walk is going to take. I swear that dog could inhale the scent completely out of leaves if I’d let him. *Sigh*

Elsa on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be nearly as impressed with falling leaves or their scent. Though I didn’t manage to photograph it as proof, she actually avoids walking on piles, instead preferring to wander on grass surfaces or bare spots on sidewalks, weaving back and forth to avoid as necessary. She’s not much of a sniffer on our walks anyway; she finds that one ‘spot,’  does her business in the same place, and then repeats the procedure on subsequent walks. Her thing leans toward the visual…as in ‘where is that squirrel?’ Her passion is all about checking out the scenery. She is no tassologist psychic and could care less about leaves. Give her a squirrel or rabbit trail though and then she’s all in. Nose down, tail up, weaving back and forth like a well focused hunting dog. No crunching under webbed feet for my girl but at least her antics don’t delay the walks like Sam’s.

Our three-ring circus has different reflections when it comes to Autumn. Mine lean toward the transcendental, Sam gives his inept best tea leaf reading wizard imitation and Elsa…well who can say what exactly goes on between her ears? All I can say for certain is the walks take longer, yet their enjoyment will linger as long as Mother Nature allows it before thrusting us ankle-deep into Winter.

What’s your favorite scent of the season? Happy ‘Howliween.’ 🎃

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

65 thoughts on “Reading Leaves

  1. This is my favourite time of year and I think it is for the dogs too. The days are warm but not hot, no swarms of bugs, and the leaves make fun piles to sniff and dig.

  2. And my girls – all of them from my laniary sisters when I was a child to Shadow and Ducky – experience always loved chasing the squirrels from one end of the cubic yard to the other(a) and back again. Not the best component of autumn for trusted.

    1. Chasing squirrels or chasing leaves…either way…good physical exercise with some mental stimulation for the fur-kids. Thanks for swinging by the Ranch. We ❤︎ visitors, especially when they’re related to some favorite fur-iends of ours.

  3. Autumn – at least from about mid-October anyway – has always been my favorite season. The cooler, crisper air, the smell of the leaves as they burn in someone’s wood pile, their colors on the trees alongside the Parkway in the mountains, and countless other nature scenes. And my girls – all of them from my canine sisters when I was a kid to Shadow and Ducky – have always loved chasing the squirrels from one end of the yard to the other and back again.

  4. I prefer smelling the grass so all these leaves are annoying to me! I have to dig through the piles of leaves everywhere, it’s definitely more work! My humom’s favorite pie is pumpkin, she’s never let me try some but Nymeria gets pumpkin in her food. She seems to like it.

    1. Both Sam & Elsa get a spoonful of pumpkin with their breakfast meal every day. They love it. Yeah those piles of leaves are a hassle for us uprights too, Mia. Plus they stick like velcro to soft fur. ☺️

        1. They are constantly covered in bits of leaves. Not the best part of Autumn for sure. Have to keep a grooming brush out a lot for all the dried grass and leaf bits that stick to their hair. Could be worse, right…could be mud. 😁

  5. I love the smell of the wood burning fires popping up in fireplaces all around the neighborhood this time of year!
    Happy Halloween!

  6. I love all things autumn too. Oh my gosh, Sam sounds exactly how Cricket has been on our walks lately. She could not possibly be any pokier, and I swear her nose rarely comes up off the ground or out of the leaves!! Luke likes to sniff too, but he is not nearly as obsessive as she is about it. My arms are often outstretched in both directions when I’m walking them! 🙂

  7. I love those reminders that our furbabies are just as unique and complex as we are – it’s beautiful and fascinating. Though the longer Ellie’s been here … the more I see her changing and doing things from Bear’s example.

  8. How about my LEAST favorite scent of the season? Dog poop stuck to my shoes ’cause I couldn’t see it buried under the fallen leaves. Love your great descriptions in this post. 🙂

    1. Sorry Am, I confess I did chuckle, but not ‘at’ you, but at the idea of what you described. Been there, done that, earned the T-shirt. Stay safe tonight with all the little goblins and ghosts out there. 👻

      1. You called me Am. That means we are officially friends. I have only had 2 or 3 other people in my life call me that. One is my longest and bestest friend in PA.

  9. Jazz, my miniature poodle, is much like Sam. He is all nose! This has increased since he has lost his vision and hearing, but man, he can still smell. He loves our walks and checking all the scents around him. I have a hard time moving him along because I know how much this means to him. Sounds like you and Sam are in a similar boat. Enjoy those walks before it’s too cold to enjoy them!

    1. Dogs process so much of life around them through their nose. And then it goes straight into their mouths. Much like a 6-month old baby! I can’t tell you how many times I’m saying…Elsa…drop it…leave it!!!! LOL She just brought in a dead mouse a few minutes ago. #OhThatDog 😆

      1. Our mouser died in January. I don’t think I could train or pay my poodles to pick up a dead Mouse! River, however, tries to help with household chores –
        Mainly scooping the litter box. Gross!

        1. So sorry to hear your mouser passed. Best mouser I ever had was my first Standard. She viewed mice as wind up toys. I always thought they expired due to death by slobber, not any harsh treatment. Any idea why dogs in particular seem to relish the taste of “cat candy?”

    1. Oh it’ll be back, just a little less of it during the day for a while (good news though, days get longer each day in late December). That early morning sunrise will be showing up soon enough. 😄

  10. My favorite scent of the season is pumpkin pie. It brings back so many childhood memories. I had to laugh at your description of Elsa avoiding the leaf piles. Tippy does exactly the same thing on the concrete and driveway, but she will romp in the leaf covered woods all day and not think a thing about it. LOL She also seems to spend a little bit longer sniffing. I think maybe that different animals are out and about this time of year and that gets her attention. Just my guess. Today, she got sidetracked and didn’t even follow me on our walk back in the hills. She stayed within a tenth of a mile of the house while I went on the extra half mile. Something sure got her nose in an uproar. LOL

  11. Halloween is every day around here, if you’re going by days in which costumes are involved!

    Choppy is a big leaf pile sniffer – I have always thought it was because the leaves retained smells from all over the yard and were conveniently placed in one location for the sniffer.

  12. Sam, we know how important your work is.
    As Stinkologist, we never under estimate the work of a brilliant Leaf Reader😉🎃
    Elsa’s SQUIRREL sightings are also of great importance & Q & I are super excited to sniff her current published peeper😉🎃

    Nose nudges,
    CEO Olivia

    1. Sam never smells squirrels, unlike Elsa. And she is hot on the trail once she picks it up. She’s like an intrepid detective from Law and Order when it comes to tracking down squirrels and rabbits.

  13. Fall/Autumn is the scent of damp leaves, and the colors of our Maple trees. Such a beautiful time of year which, in its very short time with us, will set the stage for another beautiful time of year with lots of snow, crisp mornings…. and no mosquitos! Gotta love having four seasons!

  14. Spring is my favourite season. It’s still cold and dark in the mornings and in the early evenings and I still have to rug up with a hat and gloves when I go walking with Benji. The days are warm, with some days a tad warmer than others, but when the sun goes, so does the warmth.. The buds are coming out and there are the first signs of the flowers that will burst forth in a glorious riot of colour, then fade and die and spring gives way to the harsh heat of summer. Until that happens, I like spring with all its promise.

  15. I like the scent of burnt wood in the air what comes down from the chimney… (but not when I have laundry outside) .
    maybe to read the leaves is the same for dogs like reading the future in tea leaves for humans?
    Happy Howl-o-ween

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