Remember Copper? The neighbor dog who thinks he lives here, whose name we don't know? He stopped barking at me for walking in my own driveway several months ago. So I stopped carrying a rock in my pocket to chuck at him when he charged me.
Our truce has been in effect for a while now. Copper has crept ever-closer when I unload groceries at the side porch. He even stopped jumping back when I turned to look at him. During the evening snacks with Jack and Juno on the front porch, Copper kept his distance, laying on the brick sidewalk over by the carport, panting heavily in the heat.
So well-behaved was Copper, never begging, never bothering the other two dogs WHO ACTUALLY LIVE HERE when I gave them their snack, or their cat kibble treat...I started bringing a little tidbit for Copper in the evenings. Nothing as grand as what my OWN dogs get, mind you. No old hot dogs or bread dipped in meat grease or outdated tortilla chips. Nope. But I had taken to tossing Copper a stale roll or slice of plain Wonder bread. He would come over and pick it up and take it back to his laying area. Or under the fence to his house.
Copper never looked like he was starving. He looked well-kept. Had a collar. Was sleek and coppery-colored. Not too thin, not too fat. No ribs showing. I felt guilty not giving him a little something while Jack and Juno feasted in front of him. Juno lording it over him, and Jack glancing nervously in the way of small dogs towards larger ones, making sure his snack wasn't going to be usurped.
Last week, while I was walking, on two separate days, Copper ran up behind me and touched his nose to my hand, then skittered away. I have sensed for some weeks now that he was coming up behind me. But not in the aggressive manner with which he used to charge and stop and bark at me within my field of vision. Farmer H also mentioned that the other night, when he was feeding the goat and mini-pony, that Copper came up and licked his hand, but then ran off when Farmer H tried to pet him.
Saturday morning, after Farmer H left on his trip to Kansas, I heard Juno barking frantically on the front corner of the porch by the animal pens. She's jumpy sometimes. She really does not like Copper, and never ceases to bay at him when she's on the porch and sees him out back by the fake fish pond, drinking, or wandering around Poolio. I headed to the front door to tell Juno to knock it off.
The minute I opened the door, I saw Copper running across the front yard, from the chicken house to his fence-line, with a roundish black object the size of a volleyball in his mouth. That was no volleyball. I'm pretty sure it was a chicken. Our chicken. Only a few moments before our LIVE chicken.
I called Farmer H to ask if we HAD a black chicken. I'm pretty sure it was the one who lays the eggs and hatches the chicks. Farmer H said that yes, we did have a black chicken.
Not any more.
Copper is in the doghouse. No more treats for him.