Monday, August 11, 2008


Our little dog Biscuit provided some unexpected merriment yesterday. Wayne and I were examining a plant of patchouli, Pogostemon cablin: this is the plant which provides the scent many people associate with the smell of hippies. It’s a scent which evokes mixed reactions: Mrs. Wilder wrote "Valuable India shawls used to be distinguished by their odour [sic] of Patchouli and it is one of the commonest perfumes found in the bazaars, a most peculiar fragrance, vary disagreeable to some persons." Years ago I asked an Indian co-worker about patchouli: before I could finish my inquiry, I was being told that only “they” (i.e. not her “we”) use it; and “they” use it because “they” don’t bathe. One of these days I’ll ask one of “them” for their side of the story.

Wayne and I decided to make Biscuit a hippie dog, so I rubbed her with a patchouli leaf. I then showed her the leaf, and she took a keen interest in it. She tried to eat it in fact. And she became very frisky and playful. “Catnip for dogs” Wayne speculated.

I had never read anything about patchouli being toxic to humans or dogs, but I wasn’t about to let Biscuit eat it without knowing for sure about its effect on dogs. A Google search was in order: it didn’t take long to discover that there are plenty of canine grooming products out there which contain patchouli. I even ran across a blog posting asserting that dogs love patchouli. Who would have known?
So I rubbed some patchouli scent on one of her balls; off she went, suddenly energized and full of it.

Now begins the wait to see if she can find the plant on her own and crop it.


Claude Seymour said...

My late wife Sherri, always wore patchouli, or chypre, when she could find it. It makes me cry to smell it.

McWort said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Claude.
Your post reminds us of the powerful way scents can open the floodgates of memory.