Four legs or Feathers


In my bubble, all but two of us have four legs or feathers.  The lock-down was unsettling for the fauna around our place.  The donkeys honked, the cat became friendly, the humans less friendly, and the dog barked.

So much so, that the recent discovery of a half-eaten sausage upon my deck struck fear into my heart.  How does a dead sausage appear on one’s deck in the middle of the night?  An unsympathetic friend suggested that it must have been alive before it was dead so it may have crawled up there. Sausages don’t have legs.  We have not had sausages in the house for weeks, and this was not a sausage that would ever be entertained in my kitchen – having artificial grill lines artistically etched into it – as if that might make it taste better…

I tried to resist the thought that it was a poisoned sausage planted by somebody intending to put a stop to our dog’s ongoing garrulousness.  I carefully removed it from the deck and stored it on top of the waste-to-landfill refuse while I considered whether to seek a toxicology report.

In the normal course of events the dog sleeps outside in Chateau Poppy.  The dog’s name is Poppy. As my husband is an engineer, Poppy’s perfectly adequate home-made $50 dollar kennel has been transformed to a four-figure kennel.  It has lining to keep the cold out, insulation to keep the heat in, a veranda AND plastic strips to keep the rain out; ventilation holes to let the moisture out, a rubber mat to halt the rising damp which sits underneath the grid on the floor to allow the $100 wool bed –  with her name on it – to air out, and is quite flash.

During lock-down, the dog has not been occupying Chateau Poppy.  She has been occupying our living room (which now smells like Chateau Poppy) and that makes the appearance of the half-eaten sausage on the deck even more ominous.

The cat would not have left the sausage there.  He is locked down between the hours of twilight and dawn (which apparently is when cats who hunt are most voracious) and as he has shown a gratifying propensity to eat all of anything he does catch, he would not have left us half a sausage.  There was one remarkable exception when he left a mouse embryo on the front step.  Dr Google tells me mice produce between three to fourteen babies in five to ten litters every year.  I’m thinking that must have been a “Mr Creosote” moment where that embryo may have constituted “just one more little wafer” in which case the mess on the step could have been considerably larger.

So, the mystery of the half-eaten sausage remains unsolved.  I’m publishing this dilemma to acknowledge to my neighbours that I feel their pain as our animals and I, brayed, barked, quacked and clucked, our way through lock-down.  Apparently just this morning I was heard two blocks away bellowing at my dog to shut up while the donkeys honked.

Perhaps the sausage was meant for me.

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