Monday, February 18, 2008

Good Neighbors, Yarn, and a Fresh Chicken Dinner

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: we have the best neighbors. Steve and Monika are so very friendly. Our property has a fence all around it, but we share a little gate to make visiting easy. When their lab, Luna, was alive, she was Trudy's best friend, and they took advantage of that gate all the time going back and forth between houses. Monika loves Trudy, and now the puppy, which is why we feel so bad about being the bad neighbors. Let me explain:

Else is their cat, and she has a tiny little door enabling her to go in and out of their house at leisure. Unfortunately, Sophie can fit through the tiny door as well. And she frequently does. When I can't find her, I usually assume she is in Steve and Monika's house, cleaning up their kitchen floor of any debris.

Last weekend, though, Sophie let her true colors shine through. We had company over for dinner. The dogs kept tracking in mud, so Chris kept the dogs outdoors. When it turned dark, I decided it was time for the dogs to come indoors and called for Trudy (Sophie doesn't come when I call her name, but she follows Trudy around everywhere). Trudy arrived without Sophie. We were all busy eating, so I didn't go looking for her, but soon I heard a voice, and saw Monika outside our kitchen window. Monika's hands were full of yarn, and Sohie was trotting behind her. I said hello to her and she, while trying to collect yarn that appeared to be trailing on the ground said in her cute Swiss accent, "I told Sophie it was time to come home and go to bed." Apparently Steve was supposed to be watching her and the cat while Monika was in her studio out back. They got a hold of her knitting yarn and had it all through the house. Clearly, Sophie had overstayed her welcome. Monika's very easy going about everything, so we laughed as we watched the cat (who had followed her over) and bad Sophie chase after the yarn. I apologized for my mischievous dog, and she went home.
Yesterday morning I gave her a small plant because I felt badly about Sophie. I also closed the gate so that Sophie wouldn't make any more surprise visits. However, Steve and Monika love dogs and ours are no exception--they opened the gate so Trudy and Sophie could come over.

After church, Monika came over to visit. We chatted for quite sometime and then, because I didn't want the dogs being a nuisance, I said we'd keep the gate closed. Monika decided it was time to go home, so I followed her outside to check on the girls. They weren't in our yard. We walked together to her house. I called for Trudy. Trudy met us at the gate. But Sophie was MIA. Monika spotted her over by her chicken coop. Eating something. A chicken! It would appear as though Trudy and Sophie (the little devil), managed to kill one of her birds. Trudy has always been great around Monika's chickens and has helped Monika corral them in her yard when they escape. And never has she attacked one. But, with her new little helper, they managed to get a hold of the smallest one. I'm not too good around dead animals. I yelled at Sophie to come to me. She looked at me, thought I was going to take her meal away, and started carrying it off (it was bigger than she is). So, I picked her up and glanced down at the poor bird. It's eyes were closed, the lower half of it's body stripped of feathers. And, horror of horrors, it's heart was still beating! I could see it's poor little chest moving up and down. I don't know how it could have been alive since I saw that a few portions of it's body had already been sampled. I pointed out it's movement to Monika, apologized over and over, and told her I'd get her another plant. She laughed and said she'd have a whole garden soon. Running next door, with a very disgruntled Sophie in tow, I told Chris he had to go take care of that chicken. A farmer I am not...I asked him if it was still alive if it looked like it was breathing. I've never seen a chicken slaughtered, but I know they keep moving after they die. Chris laughed and said if it's heart was beating, then yes, it was still alive. I was really hoping the chest movements were just nerves. He went next door to make sure it was put out of it's misery.

There really must be something wrong with me: I hate for anything to suffer and the thought of my dogs eating a chicken alive bothers me. But Sophie looked so funny running away from me with her fresh (slightly killed) chicken, I couldn't help but laugh. I've asked our pastor and his wife if they will give us a refund for this dog we purchased from them...or at least pay us to keep her! But, now they categorically deny ever having seen her. I think I understand their reticence.

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