“Her father had taught her about hands.
About a dog’s paws.
Whenever her father was alone with a dog in a house he would lean over and smell the skin at the base of its paw. This, he would say, as if coming away from a brandy snifter, is the greatest smell in the world!
A bouquet! Great rumours of travel!
She would pretend disgust, but the dog’s paw was a wonder:
the smell of it never suggested dirt.
It’s a cathedral! her father had said,
so-and-so’s garden, that field of grasses, a walk through cyclamen–
a concentration of hints of all the paths the animal had taken during the day.”
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient