Oh God, where is it?

It is nice to have a lie-in on the weekend, so I am told. There were various movements in and out of the room, up and down on the bed as the dogs became aware that they were not getting their 6am start, but they were not going to make it easy for me.

It must be hard for them. During the week, I get up nice and early and they can walk down the road and to the park. The only problem is that then they watch as I scatter treats around the floor and leave. Lucy has even taken to faking deafness as she sits outside when I have gone to call them in.

Sometimes it’s not so bad as my husband is off work or has a late start. It is not very often, in fact that he has a week of five week days at work and all early shifts. By the time I got to Friday I was feeling so bad, I added a special treat to the ones I scattered around. I had purchased some pork bones for them in the weekend and so I unwrapped them from the packet and placed them on a plate near their food bowls before I left.

This does not normally present a problem. The weather is now milder (in theory at least), and the dogs have a weird system with the bones. I put two bones down, pretty much identical in size and they both sniff them and walk away. At some point during this ritual, they have both decided which bone they want and it is always the same bone. I think that is the way it works, either that or they both get the feeling of both bones and then each waits to see which dog will commit first and then begins a long game where one dog (usually Archie) will guard the bone, moving it around with him as he shifts position during the day, while the other covets is.

This ‘game’ can go on for days, while the other bone lies, rejected on the plate. No matter how I try to persuade the boneless dog that there is another perfectly good bone to be had, it is no good. There can be only one. Lucy will sleep with one eye open while Archie will pretend to ignore his prize and then suddenly move to protect it as she makes a move. I have seen Archie pretend to hear something and start to run to the fence, knowing that Lucy will join him, only for him to double back to get the bone back off her.

Lucy will sometimes grab an early advantage and bury the bone. She usually does this when we are around and will slip outside, returning ten minutes later trying to look nonchalant with dirt all over her nose. Dogs will use their paws to dig a hole, but for some unfathomable reason, will fill it back up using their snout to push the earth back in. She has also been known to try and hide the bone in furniture – badly, like half under a cushion.

Normally the bones stay where they are for at least a day before the fun and games begin, but Friday the dogs were clearly up for an early start because when I got home from work, there was only one bone on the plate. I did a quick scout around the house but could not find the missing one and just had to hope while my husband came home, one of the dogs had brought it into the backyard. So I sent him a text to check.

Nope, apparently not. Worse, when I got home later that evening from my parents with the dogs, Archie swooped on the neglected bone and started roaming around looking for a place to settle and guard it. If the other bone was hidden, he was not going to retrieve it yet.

So unless my husband missed an elaborate cat and mouse routine which ended with Lucy burying the bone in the backyard, it is somewhere in the house. Somewhere in the house at a time when the weather has all of a suddden decided to revisit summer. Wherever Lucy has put it, it is better than usual because I can not find it. But the flies will find it and sooner or later I am going to come home to a trail of maggots or the police are going to arrive and want to dig up my floorboards because the neighbours have reported the smell of a corpse.

I knew that people did this kind of thing for revenge on their exs – I have heard tales of prawns shoved into the air conditioning vents of cars, but could it be that my dogs have staged some sort of protest? I mean, I have never told them I am vegetarian but maybe they just noticed?

Even if it was not revenge for a week of neglect, the problem is with the current bone still in play, neither dog will be looking for the lost bone at the moment, so they are not going to be of any help. I just hope I find it before the flies do.

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