Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I thought it was food
I noticed the stick of wood on the floor as I crossed the entryway from the stairs to the woodstove. It was about six inches in length and perfectly cylindrical, like a small piece of dowelling rod. I frowned as I bent down to pick it up, wondering exactly what it was and why it was lying there conspicuously in the middle of the floor when it was so obviously not firewood related.
It took just a moment to understand what happened as I examined it more closely. The one end that was frayed and splintered gave it away almost instantly.
“Murdoch ate the wooden spoon,” I called up to Morgan in the kitchen.
“Nice,” came the sarcastic reply.
It was Christmas day and we had put a cast iron frying pan into the woodstove filled with a small crowd of chestnuts to roast them for our stuffing. The wooden spoon Morgan used to jostle them about when we pulled them out of the stove to check on their progress was left lying on the low windowsill of the large bay window beside the stove.
In the short time it took for Morgan to place it there and return to the kitchen and then for me to go downstairs to check on the chestnuts, Murdoch snatched it from the sill and munched away the entire bowl of the spoon, and nothing more. He ate the part that is most heavily infused with various smells and tastes of a hundred cooked meals and discarded the rest. I’m sure it tasted delicious, if not a bit splintery.
We were not really surprised that Murdoch ate the spoon, he has eaten utensils before, though those were metal ones that he didn’t really eat so much as maim and disfigure, but that was during his complete delinquent phase early in our relationship. Lately he has been much more civilized. Or, so we thought. I realize now it may be that he’s just getting wilier.
He has put a lot of effort into dazzling us with good behaviour, such as not jumping all over people when they arrive at the house, playing a more mannerly game of stick, learning to bring his Kong when asked and not continuing to bark like a lunatic when told to stop. It has all been rather impressive, even stunning at times, so much so that we let down our guards and have done things like leaving tasty wooden spoons just lying around, or not properly defending our food at the kitchen table.
It was just a few days after Christmas that Murdoch cruised on tiptoe past the table and snagged the lettuce and a slice of bread from Morgan’s turkey sandwich.
“No!” Morgan yelled in his deepest, loudest voice. "Bad boy!" And I spun around from where I stood at the counter in time to see a blur of white and green something fall to the floor with Murdoch’s nose closely behind and as I stepped in to grab his collar, his teeth clunked against the wooden floor, his toenails skittered wildly, as he made a frenzied attempt to eat everything in one gulp.
Clearly he was becoming bolder. Or else he decided his good behaviour wasn’t really getting him anywhere. Christmas had come and gone and all he got for his more mannerly efforts was a new collar and a squeaky hamburger whose purpose continues to elude him.
So, it’s back to being pushy in the kitchen, grazing the counter with his nose, “accidentally” brushing our hands with his tongue while we’re cooking, and eating anything within reach that remotely smells like food, or not.
After all, it’s a whole year till next Christmas and a full ten months before he has to start at least pretending to be good.