Part the 725th: in which the dog tries to dig a hole in the sofa

The dog had not had a walk since we went to Downton that morning.

His ears were looking more triangular by the minute, his eyes were boring into the soul of anyone who happened to be passing by.

He needed air.

Coincidentally, so did I. My headache had not gone away. It was hanging around like some teenager at a bus stop in a small village, waiting for Something to happen. I did various things to discourage it but to little avail. Teenagers can be stubborn creatures.

I find a brisk walk usually leaves a teenager standing.

So I hitched the dog to a lead, and we walked down the path, through the gate, and into the forest.

It was raining, but neither of us cared. I watched affectionately as Macaulay plied his trade: sniffing proffered scents as if taking a draught of superlatively aged red wine, and laying down a brand new vintage for the local posterity.

We poddled on through the drizzle, and I waited, in the time-honoured manner of dog –owners through the ages, for Macaulay to do his evening poo.

It was not forthcoming. Because Macaulay had an agenda, of which I was so far oblivious.

We came to a pile of wood. And suddenly the dogs sniffing became somehow more searching. It increased in intensity. It acquired a virtuosity I had rarely seen in this accomplished terrier.

And then deftly, furtively, with the alacrity of a master, Macaulay had picked something up.

Something which, once upon a time, appeared to have been alive, but which had shuffled off this mortal coil long since.

Immediately he acquired his peerless prize, he became Gollum-like. Sheepish, wary, crouch-walking, avoiding eye contact lest someone attempt to wrest the Precious from his jaws. It did seem to be a very large bone indeed.

Whether it was a sanitized pet shop bone, or a piece of dead deer, I could not instantly ascertain. And since I had the equivalent of a small vole with a pneumatic drill boring into my head I did not feel like investigating further.

It is fortunate that I have had the forethought to invest in an insurance scheme for just such an eventuality.

It is called a husband.

“Phil!” I shouted, as the dog silver-fished his way into the house, “the dog’s got a bone!”

“I know he has,” came a grim reply through clenched teeth. “He’s tried picking it up on his walk every day for the last three weeks!”

The husband flew down the stairs, with more than his customary haste, and swung into the sitting room, where the dog was attempting to dig a hole in the sofa for bone-burying purposes.

With little ceremony, Phil grabbed the dog’s gory prize, and bore it gingerly between finger and thumb out to the family dustbin.

The dog followed with the air of a professional Victorian mourner, pointedly sorrowful.

Never in the history of really great bones has so much been wrested from a small dog with so little ceremony.

I’m not sure he has forgiven us since.

We shall have to bribe him with a new one.

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50 thoughts on “Part the 725th: in which the dog tries to dig a hole in the sofa

  1. you just don’t realise the history of that bone, from the dark ages when its forbearers met and created a new line in large inhabitants of the forest that one day would be mercilessly slaughtered by forest voles, and leave THE BONE behind for all science to discover.

    Mr Mac carefully keeping it until you could contact the correct authorities….

    *sigh*

  2. “…he became Gollum-like. Sheepish, wary, crouch-walking, avoiding eye contact lest someone attempt to wrest the Precious from his jaws”

    Perfect. I could see him precisely, Kate. 🙂

    My springer thought the command “Drop” didn’t apply to any Precious that he’d found himself. It could only be persuaded from his jaws with the promise of garlic liver waved enticingly before the nostrils!

      1. There was a time, exercising Rolls my springer, off the lead in Wandsworth Park, when the people in front started to point and say “Look at that dog!”

        It was Rolls, triumphantly hauling a giant pizza, still in its cardboard box, from beneath a bush.

        I went to remonstrate but he immediately dragged it back under the bush and gulped it all down in two minutes flat… Sometimes “Drop” just doesn’t cover it…

  3. I seem to remember that this isn’t the first large bone he’s bought back . To what creature, do you think, did it belong? A deer perhaps? Was there any flesh remaining? (Yeurk)

    1. Yeurk indeed. Deer is favourite, as I’m sure you recollect 🙂 But this was – in a cruel twist of fate for this poor dog – a pet shop bone which had been ditched by another dog. Life is never fair.

  4. Appears to be a case of Phil gaining sweet marital revenge for the teapot escapade. Whilst he could not out wait the fair Miss Kate for a proper teapot, he has done mankind well by allowing the bone to go unfetched until Mac was accompanied by said fair maiden. Well done, Sir Phil. 🙂

  5. My fave:

    Immediately he acquired his peerless prize, he became Gollum-like. Sheepish, wary, crouch-walking, avoiding eye contact lest someone attempt to wrest the Precious from his jaws. It did seem to be a very large bone indeed.

    “My precious.” 😉

  6. Poor Macauley, cooped up in the house while you were seeking out the castle and then he can’t even keep his ancient bone. I can just imagine him trying to bury it into the sofa.

    Hope that headache takes its leave soon, Kate. Sorry to hear it is still around.

  7. Great post! You had me with “And since I had the equivalent of a small vole with a pneumatic drill boring into my head I did not feel like investigating further.” Been there. As for Mac’s archaeological dig, he had his brief bit of accomplishment. Now will he look woefully at that hole where he made his discovery on future walks? I tend to think not and he’ll just be back on the hunt for new treasure.

    1. I wish I could claim that word as my own: it belongs to my friend, my daughter’s godmother, Nicky. She used to poddle all over the place, and I fell in love and stole the word away for myself.

  8. And, all the time the poor dog is thinking “What? WHAT? I finally bring them this fantastic gift, this ongoing reminder of me, and THIS is how they respond?”

    Hope your head is better today. This has been a stubborn one. I also love the vole line, because that is exactly how a migraine feels.

    1. One look at Caulay’s face and it was patently clear this was no gift, Andra 😀 This was his precious. Phil practically had to prize his jaws apart….voles and pneumatic drills. Mine’s gone to sit in that place between the past and the present, like a shadow in the back of my head, now. He keeps menacing me with ghostly returns. The brain is a fathomless thing, isn’t it?

  9. Kate this one made me chuckle with memories of my own dog doing the same thing. Loved the description: “Immediately he acquired his peerless prize, he became Gollum-like. Sheepish, wary, crouch-walking, avoiding eye contact lest someone attempt to wrest the Precious from his jaws. It did seem to be a very large bone indeed” Wonderful. I do so miss having a dog, but the timings not right yet. And I envy you this forest you are so close to — a wonderful place to go for a walk or two every day. Hope the headhache’s better..

    1. I don’t know what we would have done without the forest, Kathy: Mac was unruly when he was younger and fences did not suit him. It is maturity which has trained him to trot along at our heels. The forest gave him the perfect place to learn to do that. Hope the timing proves right in the not too distant future 🙂

    1. They are, though he doesn’t forget, Weebles. He does reproach quite well for a dog. Bribery was the only recourse: a picnic in which cocktail sausages were on the menu and just happened to find their way onto the floor.

  10. I’m sure he’s got to wonder where he went wrong? We had a cat who brought things to me that always reminded me, too, of the benefits of marriage! I don’t do well with dead animals…or even an unidentified bone! Poor Mac, but poor you, too, Kate. The best description of a pounding headache I have ever read: “And since I had the equivalent of a small vole with a pneumatic drill boring into my head I did not feel like investigating further.” If only I could memorize that description and let it roll trippingly from my tongue, I’d impress my friends and family! 🙂 I hope that vole vacates the premises pronto! Debra

  11. Gwynn found what appeared to be a snow-covered deer-half-leg in the winter…he held onto it for a long while before we figured out that it was not the dirty stick it seemed to be – that dirt was in fact deer hair. You really described beautifully that shady, sneaky walk a dog gets when he’s got something he oughtn’t have, something he must guard from thieves and family members.

  12. Wonderful story. I also love your description of Macaulay, “he became Gollum-like. Sheepish, wary, crouch-walking, avoiding eye contact lest someone attempt to wrest the Precious from his jaws.”

    I read that the scents dogs spend so much time on during their walks is like Facebook. They learn who was there, how long ago, what gender, etc.

  13. Excellent tale of love and bereathment – I hope you are able to earn forgiveness for your actions. Actually I’m surprised the bin-men took it away rather than dumping it on your path 😉

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