It's 11.30 Easter night. I'm watching a film and busily working away on another granny smack blanket. The dogs want to go outside for some fresh air.
The outside-at-night-time routine for the dogs is always the same. Q barks incessantly at, well, I don't know what, the world perhaps. Ruff, finds an old bone and chews. Last night, when I heard Q starting to lose her voice, I opened the door to bring them in. Ruff wasn't around.
I called. Nothing. I asked Q where he was. Nothing. So I grabbed the flashlight, scanning the enclosed garden thinking I'd catch Ruff digging up some newly planted flowers or something. Nothing. I went, torch in hand, to the side of the house where, sure enough I found Ruff, greedily devouring some unknown substance from a white plastic sack. There was a stench coming from this bag that I can't really put into words.
Having presence of mind enough not to try to grab something from my 37 kilo dog's mouth, I began shouting and stomping and making a great fuss. Ruff ate faster. After the last swallow, I grabbed him by the collar and dragged him inside.
Light in hand, I went back out in the dark to the side of the house to see if I could tell what my lovely dog had just ingested. Again the smell. I couldn't get myself to touch the bag.
The bag? Where the hell did that come from? The smell, coupled with Ruff's enthusiasm to consume made me guess that it was rotting animal parts. Ok, fine. We live in the country. Loads of neighbors have animals that they sacrifice for their own eating pleasure, and who happily discard the bits they don't want to eat where ever they see fit. Fine.
But here's the dilemma...do these neighbors deliver like the Chinese take out on the corner? Did Ruff call up and request a Number 82 combo plate, wrapped and delivered to 29 Via Maberga? I think not.
Ok, maybe someone was just carrying out their trash when the stench of said trash was too much to bear in the car so they conveniently tossed it out the window? Possible. Italians have never seen that commercial with the crying Native American. Hell of a toss though for this sack-o-treats to fly OVER the 2-story house and land perfectly on the FAR patio inside our fence.
My detective mind was racing now, or maybe it was adrenaline:
fact - I did not place this bag on my patio so someone or something else did.
fact - the dogs hadn't been outside the fence so couldn't have brought it in.
fact - it wasn't on the patio when the dogs were out last, so it had to have been placed there in the couple hours prior.
fact - the neighbors hate my dogs...ok, that's not a fact, per se. I mean, no neighbor has ever TOLD me that they hate my dogs. I'm just surmising that by the way they scream "get the f#^& away from me!!!!" everything one of my dogs gets near them or their land.
So here I stand, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere on the top of a mountain coming to the only conclusion possible: a neighbor snuck around the back of my house and tossed this bag of rotting body parts into the dogs, possibly to poison them or, at the very least to make them sick and ultimately to send a warning to me to get my dogs under control. AND...this has happened in the past couple of hours.
Yes, also running through my mind was the fact that I had just a few hours earlier written an blog post proclaiming my love for my neighbors. I love 'em, but obviously I don't trust them all that much.
I push aside, for the moment, the fact that, in my scenario someone has been (is?) creeping around my house at midnight while I am alone and I try to figure out what to do about Ruffino. Ok, actually, first I went inside, got my phone and locked every door in the house...then I thought about what to do about Ruffino.
I called the 24 hour vet clinic and explained in whatever Italian would come out of my mouth what had happened. The vet told me to make Ruff vomit.
L: "how do I do that?"
V: "give him some wnieofin dvfasoidf afniao;eoif. That will make him vomit."
L: "I'm sorry, my italian isn't so great. What should I give him?"
V: "some oivnof ndovn oidfnv."
L: "hmmm. Yeah, I don't know what that is so chances are pretty good I don't have any oxicvn oef viodaof in the house."
V: "can you bring him in?"
L: "yeah. I'll be right there."
So I put Ruff on a leash, grab the flashlight and my purse, relock every door and gate and head up to the car. You'd be amazed how long a 50 foot walk is by torch light in the middle of the night when you think someone's been sneaking around outside your house.
I won't go into the full 2 hour ordeal of what transpired at the vet. Bottom line is that Ruff puked (again the SMELL!!!) and wouldn't sit still for the Vet to take blood to check for poison. It was her opinion that, due to his fully "active behavior", he hadn't been poisoned so I should take him home, keep an eye on him and deal with the diarrhea that will soon follow. Ruff's, not mine.
By 2.30 we are making the 50 foot run from the car back into the house which was, I am pleased to report, empty except for Q.
Finding myself surprisingly awake, I wrote David an email, explaining the situation. SUBJECT: freaked out, please call. Then took a book to the couch with every light in the house burning.
At 7.30 David's call woke me.
D: "What's wrong? I saw the message that you're freaked out."
L: "Did you read the email?"
D: "No. I just called right away when I saw the SUBJECT"
L: "Last night I found Ruff on the side of the house eating something that smelled awful, I didn't know what it was, it was in a white plastic bag,...."
D: "Oh man. I'm so sorry. I forgot about that sack of 'treats' that I brought for the dogs from butcher. I left it hanging on the side of the house to give to them later. I just forgot about it. It must have fallen to the ground."
A perfectly simple and innocent explanation. Why hadn't I thought of that? I guess it just never occurred to me that there's been animal parts in a plastic sack hanging on the side of my house for...well, long enough for them to start to reek, and I hadn't noticed them. It also never occurred to me that someone might hang animal parts on the side of the house. But, all the same, there it is. Sherlock Holmes would have thought of it.
I'd like to publicly apologize here to my neighbors to whom my paranoid mind's finger immediately pointed and for the terrible thoughts I had about them and their character. And in this vein, I'd like to publicly promise to stop watching movies that contribute to my prejudiced, paranoid, conclusion jumping...movies like the Godfather.
If you'll excuse me now, I need a nap.