Our dog Sandy is guilty. Guilty of robbing the ‘hood.
Just after midnight, I can hear his tail banging against my mother’s bed. His long, caramel-colored body starts doing a snake dance. It doesn’t matter if there is a full moon, a quarter moon, or no moon; he is raring to go.
Simply put, Sandy steals from the rich of bone and bauble, and gives to…himself. And us. He always shares his finds. As far as I know, he doesn’t bury them. He drops them with a clunk at the front door or smuggles them into the house, clenched in his jaws.
The stash of bones gathers in a corner beneath the stairs, or under the radiator, with the dust bunnies. We have a running joke that we never have to buy Sandy bones because, under the cover of darkness, he collects them from the neighbors’ dogs.
After one nighttime raid, about a year ago, I heard Sandy’s gentle scratch at the screen door. In he came. But what was that on the mat? A purple bottle of liqueur?
I brought the mysterious object inside, leaving it on the terrazzo floor. It looked like an upside-down purple mushroom, with the heft of a bowling ball. It was clearly no bottle of booze.
I went back to bed. My head on the pillow, the demons awoke. “Maybe it is an IED. What does IED stand for anyway? Improvised Explosive Device. It’s too big for a grenade. It could be an IED. I got up, walked down the hall, picked up the damn thing and put it outside again.
Daylight brings such clarity.
Turns out Sandy found a BusyBuddy, at least that’s what was imprinted on the surface. I typed b-u-s-y-b-u-d-d-y into my computer and found it is some kind of plastic dog toy. The owner hides treats inside to amuse the nose of the dog, even though the pooch can never reach the nugget without human help.
That weekend, Sandy’s puppy cousin Tulla came for a visit. Tulla took one look at the abandoned BusyBuddy and started knocking it around the wood floor. The BusyBuddy crashed into table legs and crushed bare toes as it was batted between Tulla’s paws. Long story short, the BusyBuddy went home with Tulla (named after an Irish whiskey named Tullamore Dew) to Connecticut.
I’ve known that Sandy is worth his weight in gold, trademark of the first name of his breed: Golden. It has taken a while, but it finally occurs to me that his thieving ways are also the result of nature, and his second name: Retriever. Laurie Lynch
Fast forward to this week: Around midnight I heard Sandy’s familiar rumbling. I let him outside and took a snooze on the living room couch. There was a whine at the door. Sandy. With a gift. Just in time for Halloween. A deer skull, teeth intact, below a crown of antlers—a four-point rack. Another mystery to solve.
Fast forward to yesterday: I snapped a few photos and took my laptop to Café Lemont to bask in the sun, have lunch, and write this piece. I got home around 3 p.m. The skull and antlers were gone.