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CHRISTMAS MEATING by The Artful Scribbler aka Rick Haynes

Larder quickly padded to the front door when he heard the familiar voices. These visitors were always welcome especially when they brought Dolly with them.

She may be a small dog but cuddling up together in his large bed was warming on even the coldest of nights. And, when everyone retired upstairs, the fun could begin. Chase and Chew was the best game. Larder would grab one end of the bone and Dolly had to take it away. Dolly won most times as her bite was stronger than Larders.

After all the preparation earlier in the day, Larder knew, that once again, this was a special event. And if he remembered correctly from last year, his family and their friends would awake early. They would rush down the stairs following the screaming children, and very soon, the normal tidy house would be a mess.

Still, that was many hours away, he thought as he snuggled close to Dolly.

Time passed slowly in the kitchen but eventually, they could hear snoring from three of the four bedrooms. As per usual, the children were silent.

Larder thought it was time to play, yet looking at Dolly he had second thoughts. Wagging her tail furiously she moved closer and barked softly in his ear. She eased her way past him and nudged the conservatory door. Normally it was locked but Dolly pointed her nose upwards. The handle hadn’t been closed properly. She couldn’t reach it but Larder could. He placed his large paws on the handle and pushed down hard. The door swung open and he fell with Dolly on top of him.

As they lay on the tiles the smell of raw meat assaulted them. Larder tried and failed, to stop drooling. Dolly edged her way forwards and with the aroma beckoning, Larder followed. He launched himself and with one leap stood on the table. A mass of silver foil was covering a huge piece of meat. Sniffing all around Larder remembered the same smell from last year. At that time, he only received a small portion of turkey meat, but this year would be different. He used his twitching nose and front paws to push the tray of meat over the edge of the table. Watching it crash to the floor gave him huge satisfaction.

Seeing Dolly licking her lips, he quickly jumped down to share in the spoils. Growling softly, Dolly couldn’t take her eyes from the meat. Larder saw her hunger desire and tugged the foil out of the way. Salivating, they looked at the massive bird and edged closer. Overwhelmed by the smell, Dolly tore off a portion and munched away. Without thinking, Larder joined her.

That will teach them to take me to the vets and allow that nasty man to stick needles in me, Larder thought.

Dolly suddenly stopped between mouthfuls, her ears alive with the sound of movement from upstairs. She moved to Larder, barked loudly and both dogs slunk back to their beds.

The kitchen door opened and Lara, the oldest child of the house walked in. She took one look at the mess in the conservatory and giggled.

She called them over and spoke like a mother scolding children. “You naughty doggies, that was Christmas dinner. It’s a good job for you two that only I heard the crash. Unbelievably, all the adults are still asleep. I know you don’t understand but I’ll clear up and … well … I’ll think of something.”

Larder and Dolly were led back to their bed and watched as Lara washed the meat. She took away the chewed bits and carefully rearranged the rest on the plate before firmly closing the conservatory door.

“It’s our little secret but please, don’t do it again.” Much to their surprise, Lara hugged both dogs. “Now go to sleep; that’s an order.”

As Dolly snuggled up to Larder, she noticed a piece of turkey meat stuck in his claws. Without thinking, she licked it away.

Humans always underestimate how clever dogs are, which makes them really stupid, Dolly thought as she closed her eyes.

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