We talk a lot about our cats here, which I suppose makes sense since we have four between us. So maybe it’s because she feels left out that our dog has begun to develop criminal tendencies.
I’m a good dog! Can’t you tell by my sweet expression and pretty ruff? Those cats, though. They’re bad to the bone. Wait, did someone say bone? BRB.
It’s hard to believe, I know. Maydeleh (Yiddish for “little girl,” in case anyone was wondering) looks so sweet natured and unassuming, so earnest and well-behaved, that few can credit my stories of her daring exploits. But she does have a history.
We began to suspect that she was a Good Dog by day and a Very Bad Dog by night, when she started rummaging through the garbage can in the family room, pilfering edibles while we slept.
We’d discover a trail of wrappers, empty food containers, used tissues (did I mention dogs are disgusting?) and the like, leading all the way to Maydeleh’s lair. She’d look at us, her earnest brown Sheltie eyes saying, “But it wasn’t me! Honest! The cats did it, and I tried to stop them!”
(Hint to dog: it’s a little hard to pin your crimes on the cats when you have evidence all over your snout. And in your bed. First rule of crime: delete the evidence.)
A few holiday seasons back, we bought a gingerbread house kit, intending to spend a pleasant afternoon decorating it with Rachel. It didn’t occur to any of us that several large slabs of gingerbread, packed in a sturdy cardboard box that was in turn encased in plastic wrap, could be a recipe for disaster.
It did occur to Maydeleh, though.
Overnight, while we slept, she tore away the cardboard, chewed through the plastic, and managed to eat the entire roof and three of the four walls, before she collapsed into a satiated sleep. She was still on her side, snoring, when we found her.
For several days after this misadventure, Maydeleh’s outdoor excursions took on a certain air of urgency, as most of a gingerbread house worked its way through her system.
Maybe we’re slow learners, because a few days later we bought another gingerbread kit. This time we stored it in a cupboard, out of the dog’s reach. Rachel got to build her house, squirting icing, sticking candies to it, and generally enjoying the seasonal tradition.
Success! The one the dog didn’t eat.
The house, thus decorated, was given a place of honour in the dining room, well away from the dog. For extra insurance, we placed a fruit bowl in front of it.
But that night, as we were snug in our beds, something went thump downstairs, followed by a rolling sound, and a scuttling of claws on hardwood. Not good.
We hauled ourselves downstairs with despatch. Sure enough, a chair had been pulled away from the side table; a bowl of fruit lay overturned. The rolling sound was the apples scattering across the floor. The gingerbread house was untouched, but not through lack of trying.
And the dog was pacing around, all innocent-like: “Gee, I wonder what terrible person could have broken into our house and pulled that chair out and overturned the fruit bowl? Or maybe it was the cats. I bet that’s who did it. The cats.” Her face said “innocent,” but the evidence said “guilty.”
So. I told you that story so I can tell you what happened just the other night.
We’d had guests over, and had put out bowls of appetizers, as one does. After they’d left, we tidied up, did some dishes, set the rest to run in the dishwasher, and headed for bed.
Apparently Maydeleh had figured out that “immediately after they go upstairs” is not really prime time for crime, so she laid low. For several hours, in fact.
Which is why, when something woke me at 5:30 a.m., I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. I thought I heard a distant thump, then a light clatter, and then the unmistakeable “jingle-clink, jingle-clink, jingle-clink” of the dog’s tags. I knew that sound. She was licking something.
I stumbled downstairs in the dark.
Checked the kitchen. Clear.
Dining room? Clear.
Living room? Mostly clear. Except for the exceptionally clean plate on the floor. And the telltale signs of chips and salsa on the dog’s nose.
I didn’t get a chance to examine the forensic evidence too closely, though, because the perp high-tailed it to the basement before I could do more than inform her she was a very, very bad dog.
Clearly, renewed vigilance is called for. Maydeleh the Criminal Mastermind likes to operate under cover of dark, and she’s unbelievably sneaky, but we have one important advantage: we possess somewhat larger cerebral cortices than she does. While we don’t always take advantage of them (see earlier remarks about leaving edibles within doggy reach), we can outsmart her when necessary.
I am not a crook. Most of the time.
But really—looking at our canine friend today, would you have suspected? Me neither.