Future Leader Dog (FLD) Mike develops a taste for paper.
Case in point #1.
Natalie and Sofia make cards for Uncle Andy's birthday. They give them to me to deliver; I put them on the kitchen counter. Shortly, we find FLD Mike and cc'd (career-changed) Rosie playing tug-o-war in the living room.
What is that? I ask. Leave it! They both stop in mid-tug with something whitish stretched between them. The whites of their eyes are half-moons as they gaze up. "Whaat?" they seem to ask in protest, "we're just playing!" Give. I take a soggy, ripped up birthday card and envelope from their soft-labrador lips. Did the fan blow the cards off of the counter? Did one of the pups nose them off? Regardless, Mike and Rosie take advantage of their self-imposed dog-rule: Anything on the floor is fair game.
I am able to salvage the envelope and Sofia's card with cellophane tape. The only bit of Natalie's card that we find is a quarter-sized corner; the rest must have been eaten. Later, when I hand Uncle Andy his card from Sofia, I say, The dogs ate it. Natalie wishes they had eaten her homework instead of her card!
Case in point #2.
Andy and I go out to dinner at Peabody's with some friends to hear our bicycle-buddy Bill sing and play drums with the John Hammer band. We bring FLD Mike along, wearing his "Puppy Being Trained for Leader Dogs for the Blind" jacket. As the hostess leads us to our table, she asks, "Does he want the prime rib tonight?" Funny. He wishes, I reply.
We have a delicious dinner and a delightful evening with our friends; the band swings in a jazzy 1940's sound. FLD Mike is content to lie under the table, keeping a close watch on the comings and goings in the busy bar. He spots a crumb on the floor a few feet from his nose and wiggles in a Marine-crawl to reach it, but I'm on to him. Mike. Leave it. He relaxes back under the table with a sigh. Good boy!
At long last, when it's time to call it a night, we ask for our bill. The waiter leaves the folded bill holder on the edge of our table. "No hurry," he tells us. Andy squabbles with our friend; we invited this couple along so Andy wants to pick up the tab. Andy wins, but when he opens the holder to pay, there is nothing inside. "Where's the bill?" He asks. "I don't know." "Maybe Bill paid." "Not likely!"
Suddenly I sense FLD Mike squirming at my feet. I notice a shred of crumpled white paper between his paws. Mike! Leave it! Caught in the act; he freezes. Never taking his eyes off of me, Mike laps his tongue several times against the roof of his mouth and spits out a piece of our bill. Pptttuu!
He ate our bill! We don't know how he snagged it, but we are all certain that our server has never heard this excuse before. Of course, he finds us another bill.
On our way out, the hostess asks, "How did he enjoy the prime rib?" We chuckle, "The dog ate the bill." She thinks we are kidding.