Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Master Thief

Faun was the most accomplished thief I have ever owned.

She was doberman with a cocktail of other breeds mixed in--possibly some shepherd. She had silly looking ears that stuck out sideways; Rob called them B-52 ears, and an incredibly glossy raven-black coat, probably from all the carrion she ate.

She could steal anything she wanted from wherever you put it, and usually the theft went undiscovered for some time because Faun was cunning enough not to display the least interest in the item she planned to steal. If you had been watching her very closely and knew her well enough to read the signs, you might have seen her eye sliding sideways as she passed by a chicken thawing in the sink or a loaf of bread cooling on the warmer above the stove. But only for a split second. She never aroused suspicion by gazing covetously or lingering nearby--but rather appeared to go about her business, waiting for your attention to lapse or an unforeseen event to provide her with an opportunity.

I caught her stealing the Valentine cookies I had made for the boys. I had gone to another room to answer the phone (This was back in the Dark Ages when there was only one phone in the house, and you had to go to wherever it was to answer it.) But I heard Faun's toenails click as she climbed onto the kitchen table where the cookies were cooling, and I raced back just in time to save most of them.

We weren't so lucky with the lamb roast. We were just starting Sunday dinner, when Rob's son Mark lit a match in the dry weeds on the bank outside. As flames raced up the slope, Rob ran to get above them with the hose, while I turned the water on. When we returned to our dinner, the roast had disappeared, and Faun was lounging on the carpet looking quite innocent.

I discovered the chicken theft because Faun seemed strangely reluctant to go on a walk and was in unseemly haste to return home. I became suspicious, looked in the sink, and found the chicken missing. It was under the bunk-bed in the boys' bedroom, eaten except for the back and the parson's nose. I have no idea when she took it or how she got into the sink.

She stole the Christmas pudding from a cupboard in the kitchen. I found the empty basin, along with some foil and a piece of string when I went outside to hang some laundry.

She stole the Halloween candy from a drawer while Rob and I were out to dinner. The giveaway for that theft was the sticky mess of wrappers and partially chewed candy smeared all over the living room carpet.

I miss Faun. No other dog has given me so many stories.