Dog Clearing up a Mystery

In Their Voices
By Kate Brackett, August 2019, Updated June 2021
Photograph courtesy of Kate Brackett

Photograph courtesy of Kate Brackett

I didn’t kill the chicken.

Neither did Chaco or Taos or Nishka. We are trained to be bird-proof, even though we are three Golden Retrievers and a German Shepherd. We think it might have been a hawk. Or an owl. Or maybe even a unicorn. Everyone knows those aren’t bird-proof.

I took the chicken to Mom to show her what happened. I thought she’d be proud that I was tattling on the hawk. Or the owl. Or the unicorn. But she was angry! She thought I did it. More than her being mad at me, I was mostly sad because she was disappointed in me.

I didn’t kill the chicken.


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How to tell her that? How to show her I was not guilty and neither was Chaco or Taos or Nishka?

I had an idea. The geese were all in a group, watching Mom being mad and disappointed. (I think they were laughing at me. Neenerneener! You know geese are like that.) So I walked through the bunch of geese, moving fast as though they were weave poles in an agility class. They didn’t even notice and didn’t move away from me. They knew I didn’t kill the chicken and that I wouldn’t scare them. I kept an eye on Mom over my shoulder to see if she was getting it.

But you know how slow humans can be. Next, I gently put my paw on a duck’s back. It didn’t move away either. One of the peacocks was flashing his tail, so I creeped up behind him and tickled his feathers with my nose. I like to do that because they can’t see me sneaking up to “goose” (ha ha, get it?) them when their big feathers are up. I looked over my shoulder again at Mom. She seemed to be catching on. Next was a chicken. A chicken! I lay down right next to it and smiled at Mom.

She finally got it: I didn’t kill the chicken.

She hugged me so long and so close and said, “Bodie, I always knew you were the smartest dog on the planet. Thank you for showing me.” She was crying. She said it was because she was so proud of me for being able to explain it.

I didn’t kill the chicken. And Mom finally got it.

Photograph courtesy of Kate Brackett

Bodie lives with Kate Brackett and many other animals in northernmost California.