Archive for November, 2011

Dig Me Up a Piece of that Kit Cat Scat

It was a very cold, rainy, dreary Saturday morning, the kind of day when I’m glad I only have to go outside the couple minutes it takes for me to do my business in the grass. When Mom brings me back in and I shake the water off myself and wag my tail, I already feel as if I have put in a whole day’s work and have earned a day where my only responsibilities are scarfing down the kibble Mom puts in front of me, occupying my dog bed in front of the couch and barking at the occasional animal that enters our property.

     Of course, humans take life too seriously to spend the whole day being lazy, but on Saturdays Mom, Grandma and Grandpa will treat themselves to a little bit of laziness in the early morning hours: Mom sits at the dining room table savoring a bowl of oatmeal and a banana, while Grandma sips coffee and shares the newspaper with Grandpa. I, of course, am snoring in front of the couch.

     But before long, Grandma can be heard taking her last sip of coffee and stretching. Grandpa can be heard yawning and Mom is scraping the last morsels of oatmeal from the bowl. It is that moment when no one wants to admit it yet, but the newspaper has been read, the coffee finished, breakfast completed. It’s time to get to work.

     “So what’s the plan for today?” Grandpa asks at last.

     “I guess I should do some reading for school,” Mom says.

     “I was thinking since it’s too nasty to go out today, this would be the perfect day to work in the basement,” Grandma says.

     “I agree!” Grandpa says.

     I agree too! But I pretend to be sound asleep and oblivious to this conversation, so as not to draw attention to myself that if noticed, would put Grandma, Grandpa and Mom on guard and a rare opportunity would be lost.

     You see, there is a storage room just inside the basement, to the left of the staircase. I happened to be exploring this room shortly after joining this family three years ago and found the most amazing treats! But when I came up from the basement smacking my lips, Grandpa flipped out, yelled at me and put a barricade behind the door that only the cat can get around.

     But I have found with this family that when they have a big project to do, two things happen. They remove barricades so they can easily get from room to room as they are sorting, and they forget about me. In other words, if I play my cards right, I have a very good chance of getting a treat today!

     As I sleep, I am planning. This crime does take careful planning. If I make no noise at all, I can be naughty right under Mom’s nose because she is blind, but Grandma and Grandpa can see. So sneaking down while they are working would be risky. I could maybe sneak down while Grandma and Grandpa are gone putting stuff in the garage, but that might not take long enough for me to enjoy my treat.

     Wait! I’ve got it! They always stop for lunch which takes at least an hour! And they chatter loudly during lunch too! Perfect!

     All morning, I sleep patiently. At noon when Grandma and Grandpa come up chattering happily about all they accomplished, as they open a can of soup and pull the lunch meat out of the fridge, I continue to sleep, all innocent and cute on my bed by the couch.

     “Lunch is ready,” Grandma calls up to Mom, who closes her book with a sigh of relief that she has an excuse to take a break from reading and emerges happily from her room. This means the opportunity is approaching. Still I sleep patiently.

     But it isn’t long before they are seated around the kitchen table, fully immersed in happy conversation. I listen for a few minutes to make sure I don’t hear any mention of words like “dog” or “Gilbert” topics that would increase their awareness of me and could blow my cover. When I was pretty certain they were talking about what they had done in the basement, I very quietly stand up. The time has come. Usually I shake myself to wake up, but not now. Too noisy!

     Quieter than a naughty child, I make my way to the foyer, careful that my claws don’t click on the tiles. Soon I approach the first seven stairs, the most dangerous part. The steps are carpeted so I don’t have to be as mindful of clicking claws, but they are situated where Grandma and Grandpa could potentially glance over and spot me. I’m so excited and nervous all I want to do is run down these stairs, but I’m a big dog. That would make too much noise and I would be busted for sure. So ducking my head and hugging the wall of the staircase, I creep down one step at a time.

     The second flight of stairs down to the basement poses less risk of being spotted, but the steps are made of wood. Mom has very astute hearing. I’d better not get overly confident. I make my way slowly and calmly down these stairs and at last reach the basement where I discovered my theory was correct. They had forgotten about me! The door is wide open!

     Wagging my tail, I enter the room where I find a box of litter, stick my nose in and savor some delicious pieces of, let’s call it kit cat scat!

     When I have dug up all I could find, I run up the stairs unable to suppress the joy over my successful mission.

     “Uh-oh,” Mom says hearing me run up the stairs.

     “What?” Grandma says.

     “Gilbert just came from downstairs,” Mom states.

     There is no need to say anything more. They all know what that means.

     “Did you close the door?” Grandma asks Grandpa.

     He doesn’t even need to answer. The smacking of my lips as I enter the room nonchalantly confirms he didn’t.

     “GILBERT!” they all shout in disgust.

     Then they realize they cannot really punish me now that the deed has already been done. All they can do is sigh and laugh.

     “Well, you’re not allowed to lick me for a few days,” Grandpa says.

     “Why not?” I wonder. “I was just digging for a treat. There is no difference between that and digging through a candy bowl, is there?”

     Apparently there is, according to humans. I don’t understand it. But for months after this infraction, they will diligently check and make sure the barricade is up.

     But us dogs, especially labs like me, are patient and undeterred when it comes to pursuing guilty pleasures like kit cat scat. So I am always listening, watching, waiting. If that door is ever left open again, I’ll be ready.