Juno is currently canina non grata around the Mansion. Not in my eyes, but in Farmer H's squinty peepers. I feel somewhat responsible.
Yesterday I looked out around 7:00, and saw Juno and Ann in the front yard, under the lilac bush. They had something at their feet, sniffing and rooting at it. I looked closer. It was a greenish color. Perhaps trash. And then there was something round. I swear it looked like an egg. One from our set of six hens we raised from tiny chicks, when they looked like feathered chipmunks, their markings were so distinct. Now they're all grown up, and lay pretty pastel blue-green eggs. I made the mistake of waking Farmer H.
"I think the dogs are eating your eggs in the front yard."
Farmer H rolled out of bed and commenced an investigation. In his underwear. Tighty-whiteys, specifically, at the risk of providing too much information. Let the record show that the wind chill was 4 degrees. Fahrenheit. Farmer H strode onto the porch and down the steps. He kicked at the round object, and hollered, "No! Don't eat the eggs! Stop eating the eggs! Bad dog! Get out of here."
The dogs frolicked on the porch, ecstatic to see their master, the doler of dry food. They wagged their tails. The minute Farmer H re-entered the Mansion, they dashed back to the lilac lair and Ann bit into the egg. Juno circled her, licking at the shell of the other, empty, egg.
Farmer H spewed forth an unpleasant announcement. "I'm going to break that dog of yours from eating eggs." Of course he blamed Juno, new pup on the block. Never mind that Ann the black shepherd is the one who painstakingly stacks slices of bread and carries them hither and yon to devour at her leisure. Never mind that Juno was deferring to Ann as she circled the fowl carnage. As I watched the slimy egg juices spurt from the green shell in Ann's mouth, I tried to defend my precious baby.
"Ann is the one who carried them. Have you ever seen Juno pick up something so carefully? She grabs it and runs into her house. An egg would not survive five seconds in her jaws. You know the chickens didn't lay the eggs under the lilac bush. And they're not even up yet this morning. Those are yesterday's eggs, and Ann found them, and carried them here."
"Well, that's the problem with free-ranging chickens. They don't hardly go in the coop any more. They're not going to run over there to lay their eggs in the coop when they feel the urge. I've got to find where they're laying."
Gone are the days when The Pony was sent on his merry way, swinging an Easter basket, to collect 9 or 10 eggs from the chicken coop. For a while, he was foraging under the porch for them, and looking in the area by the goat pen. Now, it's like a true Easter egg hunt.
My poor Juno. I was seeing such improvement in her rakish ways. She has been showing the beginnings of a conscience. Just this morning, she slunk into the garage to steal a bite of Meow Mix while I was carrying groceries from T-Hoe to the porch. "No!" I said. And she scooted out the door and up onto the porch, where she hunkered submissively until I said, "Good dog," and petted her. It was a regular lovefest. Though I avoided the black, rubbery dog nose between my open lips.
I think she's going to fit in after all. It's Ann who needs a second date with Mr. Shocky.