I don’t think I’ve told you, my blog audience, this before, but I live in the country. We live on five acres, and we own a tractor. We pay for a hunting lease, and our mailbox is down the road from our house. Our driveway is rock and caliche. And last week, we experienced a mystery that can only happen when you live in the country.
Our daughter called one evening and I took the phone out on the back porch to talk, but I had to leave because it smelled bad out there. You know that sulfuric, pungent odor of death? That’s what it smelled like. I went back in the house to finish the conversation, and then Super H and I went outside to investigate.
As we walked onto the back porch, we observed our dog, Luna Lovegood, had wriggled about half of her body underneath one of the large ferns we keep there. Her tail was wagging a hundred miles a minute. As we watched, she proceeded to drag a black carcass out from under the fern. As she pulled the corpse out, feathers separated from its body, leaving a black and red trail across the porch. Then, she raised her brown and white face to us, wearing what I can only describe as a chicken eating grin.
After we had cleared the feathers and maggots off the back porch, we speculated. We figured the chicken came from one of our many neighbors who have them. If a chicken wandered into our yard, it was also a possibility that one of our dogs did cause the demise of said animal. My husband ascribed the whole gory sequence of events to the as yet unconvicted Luna, while I thought maybe the chicken had died of natural causes after crawling under the fern.
One thing we both agreed on was that our other dog, Goldie, was completely innocent. She was exonerated by reason of extreme laziness exacerbated by extreme age. So Luna was on the hook for the whole chicken enchilada.
I’m the first person to admit that my dogs aren’t perfect. We haven’t taught them to sit or fetch and they bark when they’re not supposed to and they have been known to roll in their own poop and sniff the neighbor’s underwear zones. We know they do these things, because they are country dogs, and we are okay with their crass behavior. We love our dogs a lot, but they live in the yard and get their haircuts at home. If any dogs are going to be up for some murdering mischief, it is our hippy dippy country dogs.
But could our sweet Luna really have committed chicken murder and then hidden the evidence for the three or four days it took for the chicken to get nice and maggot ridden underneath the ferns? Okay, I acknowledge that she could have done it. She spends 8 to 10 hours a day chasing anything that moves in our yard (lizards, bunny rabbits) and immediately eats anything she catches. We regularly find half eaten dead lizards in the yard, and she’s been chasing the same bunny for the last three years, ever hopeful. She probably could have caught a chicken, especially if it injured itself first. But what were we going to do about it? Ground her? Take away her dog treats? It was a heinous act, and I hate that it happened. However, if she did it, and I’m not saying she did, I forgive her.
Remember that chicken eating grin? About two weeks ago, Luna flashed that same ear-to-ear doggy grin at us just as we were returning home from an appointment with SH’s new oncologist. I felt so deflated after the long consultation about how to treat a recurrence of my wonderful husband’s prostate cancer. I just wanted to go straight into the house and crawl under the covers for the rest of the night. But there she was, smiling her head off, saying how happy she was that we were home. We stopped to pet her and Goldie, fed them a treat, and went in to have supper. The world kept turning, and she had helped me keep turning with it.
That’s the great thing about pets. They just don’t care about what’s going on in your life. They love you and are happy to see you no matter what your day has been like, or how you feel, or how many mistakes you might have made. And for that goofy, hippy dippy, country love, I can overlook the occasional alleged brutal homicide.