Monday, 7 December 2009

The Further Adventures of Frodo the Faller – thief extraordinaire – and his partners-in-crime!

Dominie, Cariadd and Buddy wait hopefully! No chance of pilfering here!
Something has attracted the attention of Cariadd, Dominie and Buddy . . . could it be food?
Buddy, in the days when his hind legs were strong enough, urged on by Dominie into an act of larceny! We've never caught Frodo in the act but he can reach higher and further than any of the others ever could!
Frodo recently had blood tests to determine how well his liver is coping with his anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs) All readings were in the normal range apart from ALP (Alkaline phosphatase) which was exceptionally high. Therefore he was 'invited' back to the vets to spend the morning as an in-patient for further blood tests and a liver scan.
Initial results indicated that all was well and we brought our boy home and fussed over him. 'Poor boy,' we said, 'He needs a quiet time to recover.' (He had had a light sedative prior to the scan.)
So, feeling sympathetic and kindly towards him we forgot his propensity for high speed thievery – this resulted in a Pyrex dish which had contained food being dashed to the tiled kitchen floor whereupon Greedy Gus, twelve weeks old, dived in and started eating glass fragments. He was delighted to find that he was offered bread – as much as he could take – and we were relieved that he didn't appear to have ingested any glass. Inspecting his 'output' took on a special urgency but so far – several days later – nothing glittery, sharp and light-reflecting has appeared.
Normally Frodo is circumspect in his robbery, waiting until he is alone but the temptation the other day was just too much for him. I had put a leg of pork in my much-loved Le Creuset bean pot ready to add the cure. Buoyed up by my success in curing bacon I had decided to cure a ham for Christmas. Only time will tell if I was well-advised to try it!
I turned away to rinse out the packaging before binning it – I wash all food packets and containers to make them less alluring to the animals and then the rubbish is deposited in a bag hung up supposedly - though sadly not always - out of their reach. The cats stealthily approach from the work tops and stretch their paws and claws to capture the enticing waste within the garbage while the bigger dogs stand on their hind legs. Buddy's legs, though adequate for walking and running, are not strong enough to allow him to do this now so he has to rely on Frodo to purloin exciting titbits. Even Jenna who is a working Labrador and not particularly tall can reach extraordinary heights when required. Standing on tiptoe and extending her remarkably long and agile tongue she can pilfer almost as many things as Frodo the Faller. Conventional bins are useless in our house – the cats and dogs are in cahoots with each other and work as a razor-sharp team for each other's mutual benefit. Many years ago the predecessors of our current menagerie found a way of breaking into the fridge we then had and enjoying the contents therein. Now we ensure that any fridge or cupboard we have closes too securely for even the most determined of noses, paws or claws to succeed in burgling forays. Buddy Liver Spots has one of the strongest and most muscular noses known to the canine world and can slide open heavy patio doors. Throughout our house there can be seen evidence of the BNL – Buddy Nose Line but we have foiled him. So – alles läuft gut! Everything is safe – but my precious bean pot was not!
As I made the packaging safe there came unto my ears an hideous crash. (Please forgive the archaic phrasing – there's something about this time of year – Advent - that causes my brain to work in mysterious ways – there I go again! It's the result of many years working with children on Nativity plays and tableaux and encouraging them to appreciate the beauty of the English language while at the same time finding sense and meaning in it! Yes, I miss it . . . )
I looked spun round to see my pretty pot in pieces (nice alliteration, that!) Buddy, not quite believing his good fortune (Gee, thanks Frodo – I owe you!) had his teeth jaws round the joint and was preparing to enjoy his prize. Frodo was looking pleased, proud, amazed, sheepish (he's my Velcro dog and likes me to think he wants only and always to please me) Gus was demonstrating his impersonation of Tigger which he always does when excited by the presence of food, Jenna was looking worried and indicating that she was not the guilty party, just an innocent by-stander, and the cats were waiting, as cats do, for the opportunity to claim the trophy for their own.
I grabbed the meat from Buddy's mouth – it wasn't even punctured (the meat, that is) and ran it under the tap. (What a strange expression that is! I didn't run anywhere with it, it didn't run anywhere, all that ran was the water!) The dogs were relegated to the sitting room and I shut the kitchen door to clear up the sharp shards of the smithereens of my pot. I found another receptacle – the curing mixture only slops over the sides a little – and now the meat slumbers in the fridge metamorphosing from pork to ham.
Christmas, fast approaching, requires special vigilance. More people equals more food equates to more opportunities for surreptitious sampling of forbidden fruit (under which umbrella term lurk turkey, bacon, ham, pâté, sausages, cheeses, cheesecakes, cream, mince pies, Christmas pudding, tortes, biscuits sweet and savoury . . . ) Gillian's children from early childhood have memorised the many and various places in which plates of food may be found. They will never forget Buddy and the chocolate cake. In his youth he swiftly devoured a complete cake offering 8 to 10 servings; we worried for his health as chocolate is toxic to dogs but though rather portly for a time he was not otherwise adversely affected.
Serving Christmas lunch is an obstacle course. Doors, particularly the kitchen door, must not be left open and animals other than humans are not allowed in the dining room. How we have not turned ourselves into a profitable circus act I cannot fathom as we balance trays and plates of hot food while standing on one leg and shooing animals and opening and closing doors at high speed, taking care not to trap paws, tails, heads or fingers. Nonetheless it is frequently the case that we sit down with a corporate sigh of relief only to discover that somehow Frodo and Buddy have managed to sidle unnoticed into the room and are lying obediently and innocently under the table.
I can't wait . . . ! *wink*


  1. OH MY! Life is a constant adventure at your place. Your canine and feline friends keep you very busy!

  2. Hey ho! They keep us busy and entertained . . . well, that's one way of looking at it!

  3. very cute dogs! Sounds like they are your kids.

  4. what a great and beautiful family you have! so cute! loved!

  5. They keep us entertained as well.

  6. Carly - I'm sure my husband regards them as such; he was away on business so much when our human children were little . . .
    Paula - thank you! It's a great life if you don't weaken ;-)
    Mo - anything to oblige :-)

  7. Sounds like a laugh a minute Janice. During our 35 years of living on a farm, we experienced many such 'smash and grab' raids. The goats were even in cahoots with the cats, as a hoof dropped into the milk bucket would render the contents unfit for the household, and the cats would always be lurking just outside the goatshed door, ready to rush in and aid with the disposal of any wasted milk! I do miss their mischief now though.

  8. I love the middle photo!! makes me laugh
    they're all trying to become one so they can see

  9. sylvia - I always rather fancied keeping goats but we haven't got room - or experience of them!
    Dianne, shaunak - thank you.

  10. sylvia - I always rather fancied keeping goats but we haven't got room - or experience of them!
    Dianne, shaunak - thank you.

  11. The goats were lovely creatures, we had five of them, and lived at the top of a hill, the highest point in North Lincolnshire at the time. I should have learned to yodel "High on a hill lived...." etc xx


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