The Case of the Missing Cheese

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The scene of the crime with the likely culprit hovering off to the right. Is he trying to foil attempts at collecting evidence? How could he reach that plate?!

This week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Pettigrew’s GI system. Thursday morning I awoke to an off smell in the house. It had been raining . . . for days . . . so I thought that there were possibly some damp towels in the bathroom. On autopilot I walked downstairs to make breakfasts and pack lunches. Turned on the teakettle and wandered into the dining room to check my email.

Coming fully awake I quickly perceived what was causing the off smell. Yes, I made a revolting discovery there, on the floor, next to the chair where I sit to work on my computer. Thanks Pettigrew.

Did I say that Pettigrew will only relieve himself on walks and sees the yard as an extension of the house? Well, in extreme moments he will go wherever; however, he makes some effort to wake us first. Apparently, not always.

Doing a quick tour of the first floor I saw that, Pettigrew had left deposits in all of his favorite spots.

On hearing my burst of eloquence when I perceived the full extent of Pettigrew’s nocturnal activities, my darling husband came downstairs to join the cleanup crew.

Partway through the cleanup, he mentioned that he had noticed an off smell during the night, but assumed it was from the kale chips I had, ummm, singed the night before.

Having established that Pettigrew’s stomach was off, but his appetite was just fine, I added making white rice to my morning tasks. A search through the cupboards revealed that we only had Lundberg’s Organic California White Basmati Rice. My mutt was going to dine in style!

Pettigrew continued, reluctantly, with his restricted diet for the rest of the day, but his body was not healing. I made another pot of rice and hoped for the best.

Friday morning I put my son’s breakfast—cheese, strawberries, Sudafed for a persistent post-nasal drip, and a glass of water—in the middle of the kitchen table and carefully pushed in the chairs. I had to drop his brother off at school for a field trip and would be gone for about 15 minutes.

When I returned, I noticed my lovely dog watching me from the kitchen windows. So cute! He even greeted me at the door and did his kitty cat imitation, rubbing against my legs as I walked.

It was only when I entered the kitchen that I became suspicious. The strawberries, Sudafed, and water were just where I had left them, but there were only a few wet marks on the plate where the cheese had been.

I looked around. The chairs were tight against the table. The tablecloth was smooth. The plate hadn’t moved. How could Pettigrew possibly have reached the middle of the table? Let alone, do it without disturbing anything? Pettigrew was still doing his adorable, I love you act. Was it too loving? Was it, in fact, suspiciously loving? Was he trying to distract me from the missing cheese? Could a dog be so devious?

I began to doubt myself. I called up to my son, “Have you been downstairs yet?” A very sleepy, “no,” answered me. And if he had come downstairs, why would he have eaten only the cheese?

Although the evidence pointed overwhelmingly toward Pettigrew as the guilty party, I continue to wonder. How could he have executed the crime?

In any case, he was served a fitting punishment. That night he wasn’t allowed any scraps, or even a chance to lick the plates after they were loaded in the dishwasher. And it was his favorite meal.

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