Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sneaky. A Tale of Crimble Mirth and Woe.

Lots of moons ago I had two of the bestest ever dogs in the world.
Shebie was a Borderline Collie that my parents and I were supposed to only be looking after for a couple of weeks until another family took her in, (She stayed with us until she passed away at the ripe old age of 16 and was always under threat of 'You do that again and we'll send you to live with someone else! We mean it!) and Chips, who was a Staffordshire Bull Labrador, and was a soppy as a kitten on Prozac until someone tried to hurt me or anyone else he loved.
They were excellent dogs. Very well trained, and extremely polite; the sort of dogs that didn't need to be on a lead as all it took for them to behave was a verbal or physical command from me and they'd be at heel or sitting down as soon as you could say 'Sit' or whatever.
Anyway. Both dogs loved Christmas time. They knew something special was happening as soon as the Advent Ring was first lit and by the time the tree was up and the pressies were placed underneath, they were both in a state of anticipation for the Day itself.
Now, as I said, both dogs were extremely well trained. Neither of them were the sort to try stealing food or sneaking treats as they knew that was 'Wrong', and my parents and I were safe in the knowledge that we could leave things lying about without them being eaten, chewed or stolen.
Until one day.
The day before Christmas Eve.
The tree was already up in the front room, placed just in the entrance so that when the lights were lit on the tree, all you could see in the doorway was the tree and the presents underneath it.
I'd finished all my shopping about four days previous, and amongst the gifts I'd bought were the pressies for Shebie and Chips.
The parcels were almost identical; a selection of chewy bones and rawhide treats per hound, and also an individually wrapped squeaky ball for each. A pink one for Shebie and a blue one for Chips.
The day before Christmas Eve, both my parents were at home while I was still at work.
All was peaceful in the house; my mother had been upstairs watching TV and my dad had been pottering in the garden until they both met in the kitchen to discuss what to do about dinner that night.
While they were talking they both became aware of a strange, sort of snuffly noise coming from the front room.
They ignored it for a little while until the sniffling became rather louder and was accompanied by a quiet squeak every now and then.
Intrigued, they went to the front room (where the noises were coming from) to see what was the cause, only to find Chips sniffing through the pile of pressies.
He was totally unaware that he was being watched, and so he carried on rifling through each gift, carefully giving each one a sniff and a very gentle squeeze until he found the one that smelled and sounded right.
He then proceeded to very, very carefully nibble a hole in the wrapping paper that was just big enough for him to extract the ball before taking the ball out and taking it into the dining room where he thought he wouldn't be overheard before ripping out the 'squeaker' and killing it to death.
He did the sneaky deed so quietly and carefully that my parents could only laugh, and when he'd finished the look of total innocence he gave them saved him from a telling off.
I wasn't too happy about having to try and find another identical squeaky ball to wrap the next day as I did (and still do!) loathe shopping on Christmas Eve, but Chips planned the whole sneaky trick so very well I couldn't be angry with him either.
I miss the sound of presents under the tree being snuffled to this day...