There are two children in the Shepherd family – John, born in Montreal in 1972 and Elizabeth, born in Winnipeg in 1977. They share a common gene pool and have much in common. But they are individuals and manifest distinctive characteristics. One of these differences, at least when they were young, related to how they would process candy.
If Halloween or Christmas yielded a good supply of candy, John could be counted on to finish it off fairly expeditiously. Elizabeth, par contre, could make a candy stash last for months. In fact, we suspected that it had only psychological value, a sort of security deposit that would never be consumed.
One Christmas Elizabeth had done particularly well with candy - a fine selection of Quality Street, thanks to our provider, Marks & Sparks. She had it carefully stocked in the bottom drawer of the table beside her bed. Presumably, in moments of acute temptation she could reach in and treat herself. John’s stock, was by this time long gone.
Day after day, week after week, the candy stayed in the drawer. Somewhere, somehow, the sensitive nose of the Brittany spaniel picked up the scent of the treasure. Beau had, by this juncture, developed a sense of territorial comfort around the house. Whatever there was that was not locked away was his. It could be a soft chair, it might be a bed to spread out on, and it could be a piece of cheese or meat. It might even be extended to include Elizabeth’s candy stash. So thought the noble dog.
There was a slight logistic issue to overcome. The candy was in a bedside table drawer. The drawer was kept closed. Elizabeth liked her room neat and took minimal precautions against intrusion by the dog – her dog.
Kerry Dearborn, the owner of Laura, Beau’s mother, had told Eleanor that of all the pups Brownie (Beau) was the most resourceful, most intelligent and most persistent, in spite of his being the runt. Those three qualities coalesced in a masterstroke of canine theft, committed right in Elizabeth’s room.
His nose told him where the candy was – in the bottom drawer. His taste buds told him that it would taste great. His sense of territorial ownership told him that it really was his. But how to get it? The bedside table was an IKEA special, with a round handle to open and shut the drawer. Somewhere, somehow, Beau figured out that a paw, strategically placed, could be used to pull the drawer open and grant the resourceful dog access to the candies in the drawer. What shock was Elizabeth’s as she came into her room, saw the drawer open and the candy wrappers strewn about the floor.
It might not be the great train robbery, but in the world of canine lore, it is one of the better heists.
Future candy stashes were move to higher, more secure, locations.
|Word Guild Award 2011|