Last night it was cold and the air was sharp. The slush had frozen in the shape of previous footsteps and puddles were frozen solid. I took Jethro out for last call early because I was ready for bed.
Early in the walk he was snuffling in the snow and I pulled him out of it and moved on. It was slow going because of the slipping hazard so I didn’t really notice how slowly Jethro was walking. I did notice that he wasn’t chasing scents as usual and he wasn’t increasing his gait when the going got easier. He was walking kind of strangely – just slow, careful, and not looking around.
I thought he was just tired and not really needing the walk. He wanted to get back inside as badly as I did. We plodded home, unleashed, and he hopped up on the couch. All very subdued.
A few minutes later I heard a crunching sound. I looked at Jethro and he was lying with his head on a pillow and the fragment of a bone in his mouth. Another fragment had broken off and was laying on the pillow. He knew the jig was up. I told him to Give me the bone and he opened his mouth from me to get it out. He had one end of a turkey drumstick in his mouth.
Suddenly all was made clear about his strange behaviour on the walk. He had been hiding this bone in his mouth for almost the whole walk. I can only guess that he secreted it into his mouth when he was digging in the snow with his nose. After that he kept it hidden from me. The effort of hiding it caused him to walk extra carefully and made it so his concentration had no extra energy for sniffing, marking, or generally paying attention to anything in the environment. His entire attention was on the secret prize he was carrying in his mouth.
I laughed at his subterfuge. He knows that bones off the ground are off limits. He will try to pick them up, and even carry them in his mouth a few steps if I have noticed, but they always end up in my hand and thrown away.
This time he wasn’t going to risk trying to chew it while we were on the walk. He waited until we were all the way home and safely settled inside. So funny that he chose to try to chew it up on the couch!
He is a very smart dog and not so bright all at the same time. Love him.