It is the eternal circle: the dog’s tortured relationship with his bone.
You obtain your bone, you bury it, you dig it up in time of need, you gnaw your bone, you bury your bone. Ad infinitum.
Macaulay loves his bones. Many’s the time I’ve watched him gnaw for whole evenings at a time. He caresses them and worries at them and hoards them like a dragon with its gold.
Hoards them. I think I have referred before to his tendency to attempt to make that bone last forever. He knows they should be buried. And these days, when you give him a bone, he just moseys on out and gives it straight to the local fox.
He doesn’t see it that way. He thinks he is burying his bone for posterity. He believes that if he can just get it deep enough in the garden, it will be there when that canine rainy day arrives, a surety against hunger forever and a day. Perhaps the bone acquires magical properties, when it is buried; perhaps it will never run out, there under the soil next to the fuchsia.
Life is cruel. It may be that Macaulay believes there are now many bones buried there next the fuchsia; but furtive Freddie, the local fox, has other plans.
Freddie: a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda guy. Not one to think of the future, of days of hardship when a buried bone could come in handy, he slips in under the cover of darkness, and swipes the latest addition to Macaulay’s hoard.
I gave the bone to Phil, because he loves to give treats to the dog. And immediately Macaulay shot off to the brand new, leather sofas to bury his prize deep in their folds.
The whole family was outraged. Bury a meaty bone in our pungent club-class recliners? Not likely. As one man, we chorused:”No, Macaulay!” and he got down and headed for his second choice: to bury the bone in the garden.
He stood looking pointedly out of the back door glass.
I snorted in exasperation. “Macaulay, every time I give you a bone you bury it and the fox nicks it! Enough is enough! You are not going to bury it out there!”
He stood. Pointedly. And as time wore on his longing filed the air. And after about two minutes, he uttered a heart-rending half yelp, half wail. For to bury the bone in the garden was his little doggie heart’s desire.
And I realised. He was not to have an evening of gnawing, of sensory doggie delight. Because that was not what would make him happiest of all.
No: what would make Macaulay happy was to take his bone outside and bury it pointlessly, against a future which would never happen.
I sighed. And then I opened the door. The dog pottered ecstatically out to his favourite patch, and Phil watched as he buried it, and promptly forgot where he had buried it. Instantly, almost. He stood, looking happy, but puzzled, but happy.
He spent a long time in the garden, possibly trying to retrace his steps. And then, when he was ready, he barked admission to the house once more.
Written in response to Side View’s weekend theme: Circle, which you can find here.