Friday, October 26, 2007

Canines of the Corn

The full moon glowed above my neighbor's rooftop tonight and made me think of all the tales I've heard about eerie things that happen when the moon is full. The stories were fun but purely fiction, or so I've always believed. Now I'm not so sure.

Something weird is going on. If it's nothing to do with the phase of the moon, perhaps it's the fact that Halloween is just around the corner, or maybe the dogs next door have been filling Butch and Kadi's heads with ghoulish campfire stories. I only know that I have reason to suspect that my dogs are performing secret rituals while I'm away at work.

Butch and Kadi, at 9 and 10 respectively, are no longer interested in playing with toys. If an object isn't edible, they don't want me to throw it for them or shake it playfully in front of their noses. Still, I've kept their big basket of toys, because Lucy and Winston, my much younger granddogs, enjoy the toys when they visit.

When Butch and Kadi were young, the toy they both preferred was a stuffed hedgehog. They liked the gruff sound it made when squeezed, and they enjoyed the process of ripping the stuffing out of it. As I bought new hedgehogs to replace the disemboweled ones, the empty hedgehog pelts seemed to disappear, presumably resting in peace at the bottom of the toy basket. Until now.

I came home earlier this week to find this:

If you'll click to enlarge the photo, you'll see clearly that three hedgehog carcasses were extracted from the variety of toys in that basket, then carried all the way from the basket in the den to the living room, where they were placed ceremoniously around the perimeter of a vase of tall, dried stems. Don't you think that behavior is rather Druid-like? (No offense to the Druids among you, dear readers, but I find this all a little spooky.)

I saw no signs of fire or blood, and the dogs are not admitting to anything, but I'm keeping an eye on them just the same.


  1. It is the Hunter's moon...the one after Harver moon.

  2. That is highly suspicious behavior. Sometimes I think I'd like to have a video camera set up to see what Spot gets up to while we're out, but then I think that I don't want to know.

  3. Sister-Three, good information. Do you know if the Hunter's moon has any special significance in regard to the mortality of hedgehogs?

    Janet, I've always thought Butch and Kadi just sleep while I'm gone. How naive am I?

  4. I'm back, with my positive attitude in hand (thanks, Velvet). These little "offerings" are the tricks that come in hopes of treats.

  5. Butch: I think she suspects something.
    Kadi: I told you not to leave them there.
    Butch: Someone was coming, I had no choice.
    Kadi: I just hope the ritual wasn't messed up because of you.
    Butch: Why is it always MY fault.
    Kadi: she comes, pretend you're sleeping.

  6. Velvet,

    It definitely looks like they're up to something. I think you have reason to worry... you ARE outnumbered.

  7. Annie, you could be right. They focus a lot of attention on figuring out ways to get extra treats.

    Val, that's funny -- and it wouldn't surprise me if that exact conversation took place. Kadi (a/k/a Sister Mary Katherine) is the "good dog" who holds the rest of us accountable. Thanks for dropping by.

    Holly, I'm keeping them well-fed and watered and giving them lots of belly rubs. Anything I can do to stay on their good sides.

  8. What a great story! And what a lot of trouble the dogs went through, to have their ritual!

    Perhaps it was meant to warn off the granddogs, from these three hedgehogs.

  9. Oh how I love this canine mystery!

  10. who says animals are dumb? always keep an eye on 'em!!! and keep us posted!!

    peace and blessings

    keepers and JM

  11. Marion, in the interest of complete honesty, I suspect the granddogs had a hand (paw) in it. A lot of other toys had been dragged into the living room, too, but it was the sight of the three identical ones clustered around the vase that set my imagination to work.

    Duly Inspired, as I'm sure Cheyenne has taught you, all dogs' minds are mysteries.

    JM and Keepers, Butch and Kadi double-team me all the time to beg for extra treats, so I know they're capable of conspiring. I love 'em, but I'm not foolish enough to totally trust 'em.


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