37: Midnight Thief

37: Midnight Thief

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

Midnight Thief

Not-so-fun fact: According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.7% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.

I love to visit my son and his family in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. Not only do I get to enjoy the weather there versus winters at our home in northern Illinois, but I get to see their three adorable dogs: Mason, a yellow Labrador Retriever; Max, an overweight Basset Hound mix; and Jake, a cute, caramel-colored Dachshund.

The dogs love treats and perform to get them. Jake “speaks” in a special way, Mason balances a bone on his nose, and Max rolls over and plays dead.

The dogs are obsessed with food, of course, but they are fed a healthy diet, with a minimum of “people” food. When we sit in the dining room to eat, three little heads poke around the door and move closer and closer to the table, hoping against hope for an accident.

One day, my daughter-in-law, Tammy, had made a beautiful and delicious cake for dessert. After dinner, we loaded the dishwasher, covered the leftover cake, and went to bed.

The next morning, Tammy shrieked and yelled at Mason, who being a Lab, was the only one of the three tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. I stepped into the kitchen to see what the fuss was about. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Look!” She held out the empty cake plate. “Naughty dog!” She stared at Mason.

“What happened?” I had wanted another piece of that cake.

“Mason ate all the leftover dessert.” She grabbed the dog, saying “No, no,” and putting him out in the back yard.

After dinner the following night, we wrapped the leftover apple crisp and slipped it into the refrigerator — out of sight and smell, and temptation. I rolled the potato chip bag tightly closed, clipped it, and put it on the counter.

The next day, the bag of chips lay flat and empty.

Mason got another scolding and was put outside in the yard again. When it came time for doggie treats, Mason didn’t get one bite. The next night after dinner, we cleaned the kitchen and wiped the counter clean.

Early the next morning, my son went to the bakery for pastries and jelly-filled donuts to surprise my daughter-in-law before she got out of bed. He tapped on my door. “Breakfast, Mom.”

The strawberry-filled pastries were heavenly. The dogs hovered around the table, drooling, with their noses twitching.

Later that evening, we closed and taped the boxes of pastries and donuts, stuck them in a plastic sack, and pushed them to the back of the counter.

That night, I read my novel until midnight. When I closed the book, I heard a noise like someone drumming his fingernails on something. Then, a soft tap sounded on my bedroom door.

I slipped on my robe, shuffled across the room, and opened the door. My daughter-in-law stood there with her index finger across her lips and motioned for me to follow her. I quietly followed her down the hall in my slippers. When we stuck our heads through the kitchen doorway, we caught the snack thief eating pastries and gobbling down donuts.

Max, who could barely walk because of his weight problem, had jumped onto an upholstered chair and climbed from there onto the counter.

Tammy brought in Mason and gave him a special treat for all the scolding he had undergone in Max’s stead. Mason was happy to accept a treat as an apology.

Max had a good thing going for him for a while. If we hadn’t seen that overweight dog on the counter, we would never have believed it.

~Marie Elizabeth Bast

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