Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Haunted Dog


By Shirley Bahlmann
Bibs was just four days old, a little black weiner with a small white dot between her shoulder blades, like she'd been touched by a ghost. (Just look at her spooky eyes!) I didn't really want a Border Collie, I was more interested in a cute little whisker dog like my cousins, Guy and Janette Rallison, have. But Bob and the boys would have none of that. We weren't sure Bibs was our puppy until we did "doggy tests" at five weeks old. All three boys chose her from the litter, and that was good enough for me.
When Bibs came to our house, she was too scared to sleep alone, so the boys hunkered down in their sleeping bags in her dog run. When the weather turned cold enough, they came inside and she stayed out.
When she first met our cats, they were all about the same size, but they wouldn't play nice. Sometimes our white-as-a-ghost cat, Dusty, would trot away to find a sunny spot and Bibs would happily give chase. Our black cat, Slick, never turned tail to Bibs. Even though Bibs grew to ten times his size, Dusty's the one who makes Bibs run.
The ghost touch has done other damage to Bibs' bravado. She's afraid to go in our living room, is afraid of the bathtub, blinking lights, and being behind closed doors. But worst of all, she's afraid of her dog feeder.
It's a terrific feeder that holds a whole bag of dog food with a lid to keep it clean and dry. We knew she wasn't fond of pushing open the little hinged door with her nose to get at her food, so we propped it open with a rock and thought we would live happily ever after.
Wrong.
Last month, Bibs was in our house when Bob asked, "Does she have any food?"
"I saw some in her feeding tray," I said. "Why?"
"She acts likes she's starving," he said.
It was true. She was doing more than vacuuming the kitchen floor, she was trying to root in the garbage can and stand up to the counter when she thought we weren't looking and attempting to open cupboards with her nose. So when I took her back outside, I inspected the feeder more closely. I found spider webs woven across the feeding tray. Was she scared of spiders, or had they set up shop there because she never her nose in to eat her food? When I opened the lid, it was chock full of dog food, clear to the top.
"Bibs!" I said. "I can't believe you're scared of your feeder!" She lowered her head between her white-spotted shoulders and wagged her tail in apology.
I took pity on the ghost-touched dog and scooped some food out for her.
I think we're going to dress her up as a werewolf for Halloween.

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