“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
Eliezer the cat is quite skilled in the language of sniffing. Lifting his keen nose into the air will tell him if the neighbor’s big black dog is upwind, and holding it close to the concrete floor will tell him if the marauding tom has recently visited the food dish on the back porch. Pepper the dog is even more adept at this language. At a rapid trot, with his nose in the grass, he can work out last night’s zigzag trail of a visiting opossum.
Humans use this language with varying degrees of proficiency. Sniffing can be either constructive or destructive, depending on the sniffer’s purpose. The language of sniffing is indirect; the sniffer must be able to collect and interpret clues that lead him to the information he seeks. Some people resort to the language of sniffing to gather unsavory information about others in order to support a gossip habit. They become skilled at assembling scattered bits of information into a story, using imagination and speculation to fill in the gaps. The language of sniffing, used in this manner, becomes extremely destructive.
Others utilize sniffing in a beneficial way. These tend to be quiet, sensitive individuals. Though they are very observant, they never gossip about their conclusions. These people are able to sniff out the discouraged and give them a sunny smile or an encouraging word. They sniff out the weary and the overworked, to whom they lend a helping hand. They sniff out the disillusioned and the misguided and share prayer or a few words of counsel.
As long as the world stands, dogs and cats will sniff footprints and gossipers will ply their malicious trade, but there will always be a need for more people to exercise the language of sniffing in a constructive way.
As you gather the clues of facts that exist,
The urge to gossip steadfastly resist.
From Paws on My Porch, by Gary Miller
© 2015 TGS International, PO Box 355, Berlin, Ohio 44610
Used by permission