The full moon glowed above my neighbor's rooftop tonight and made me think of all the tales I've heard about eerie things that happen when the moon is full. The stories were fun but purely fiction, or so I've always believed. Now I'm not so sure.
Something weird is going on. If it's nothing to do with the phase of the moon, perhaps it's the fact that Halloween is just around the corner, or maybe the dogs next door have been filling Butch and Kadi's heads with ghoulish campfire stories. I only know that I have reason to suspect that my dogs are performing secret rituals while I'm away at work.
Butch and Kadi, at 9 and 10 respectively, are no longer interested in playing with toys. If an object isn't edible, they don't want me to throw it for them or shake it playfully in front of their noses. Still, I've kept their big basket of toys, because Lucy and Winston, my much younger granddogs, enjoy the toys when they visit.
When Butch and Kadi were young, the toy they both preferred was a stuffed hedgehog. They liked the gruff sound it made when squeezed, and they enjoyed the process of ripping the stuffing out of it. As I bought new hedgehogs to replace the disemboweled ones, the empty hedgehog pelts seemed to disappear, presumably resting in peace at the bottom of the toy basket. Until now.
I came home earlier this week to find this:
If you'll click to enlarge the photo, you'll see clearly that three hedgehog carcasses were extracted from the variety of toys in that basket, then carried all the way from the basket in the den to the living room, where they were placed ceremoniously around the perimeter of a vase of tall, dried stems. Don't you think that's rather Druid-like behavior? (No offense to the Druids among you, dear readers, but I find this all a little spooky.)
I saw no signs of fire or blood, and the dogs are not admitting to anything, but I'm keeping an eye on them just the same.
(First published at Velvet Sacks on October 26, 2007.)