Like people, individual dogs each have their own particular scent, even when they're clean. Our youngest, aka Speedy, actually has two: when her hair gets wet, from rain or from a bath, it gives off an odd, acrid smell that always reminds me of the old-fashioned beauty parlor my mom used to go to and to which I would be dragged along as a child -- full of horrendous chemicals used to pouf up the gray hair of its longtime customers. But when Speedy is dry, she has a lovely faint sweet smell. Best of all is when she's been sitting in the sun for a while -- the dark hair on her head soaking in the sunshine -- she smells a bit like toasted almonds, maybe a hint of banana, with a little dandelion blossom mixed in. It's the smell of sunshine, of relaxation, of the total present-ness that dogs help us share in.

Today I was able to work at home all day, eschewing the office politics for a day of reading and writing (and, yes, some emailing). Best of all, and what I really need to remember so I can get more days like this one: the many breaks I was able to take to play with the dogs in the yard, to sit and eat a snack with them, to snuggle with them on the couch while I prepped for class. And to bend over and kiss the top of Speedy's head and smell that sweetness that always makes me feel calm and happy.