At the neighborhood market's checkout counter I noticed an empty space in the new display of breath freshener for dogs.
"You must have some demand for this," I said, rather lightly I'm afraid.
"It's a big seller," said the proprietor without irony.
"I guess I never got close enough to our dog to know," I said with a laugh, regretting it immediately.
How unutterably antisocial. And wrong. I often did get very close to our late paragon of golden retrievers known as Daisy.
I won't claim that with her breath she did perfume the air, as Shakespeare said of another beauty. But neither did her panting send me out for Certs.
Now the Internet is full of products made with herbs and other things to purify the breath of dogs. Will four-leg deodorant be next? Tell me it isn't already here.
Again I probably sound frivolous to those accustomed to inhaling dog's breath all the time.
Like the people I heard on a talk show a couple of days later. A caller described throwing a large party for her dog, who really enjoyed the cake and ice cream.
The subject of breath didn't come up while I was listening. But the caller said she'd told the dog she was his Mom, her husband was his Dad, and her parents were Grandma and Grandpa. And I can't imagine they'd allow Junior to suffer from halitosis, as the dread condition was called by pitchmen for human breath-sweeteners in an earlier age.
Those were the days, when our family had a cat but we still admired President Franklin D. Roosevelt's all-out defense of his little dog, Fala.
I hope I'm not being less presidential when I admit Daisy stank from head to paw after a frolic in the surf and a roll in expired fish along the shore. She couldn't do anything about that. But I fantasize that maybe some other times, when she kept her distance from the rest of us, she knew she could have used a mint or two.