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Jan 15, 2013 by pippalou
Posted in category: Dogs
When I was a child, my mother would occasionally, not too often, bring home small, inexpensive gifts to my brother and me that had no relation to any special day and were just given out of the goodness of her heart.  She called such a little present a happy.

Nowadays, I mostly get happies from my dogs.  Not so much from Scout anymore, but Pippa is fond of searching out a special gift for me now and then and coming to drop it at my feet.

When Scout was young, her endeavors were fairly limited, since we lived in a somewhat suburban area.  She also had no dog door for her to go in and out on her own, so she would bring my gifts to the side door of the house - the one we most often used.

Over a couple of years, Scout brought me such things as dead moles, a dead squirrel and many old bones that looked like they once belonged to deer.  Where she unearthed those bones is still a mystery to me.

Don'tDon't you like your present?
Pippa's has much more range in her selection of gifts.  We're now out in the country, on 58 acres, where many little creatures reside and where finding bones from coyotes' meals is rather common on our walks through woods and pasture.

She has another clear advantage over Scout - the dog door.  Pippa can bring her gifts right into the house and literally place them at my feet.

She, too, has brought me dead animals - mostly mice and small rabbits.  Sometimes, I have the good fortune to see her coming, and then I can head her off, but now and then I go out and come back in only to find the fruits of Pippa's latest expedition on the sitting room floor.

Last Sunday evening, Pippa was out on her usual nightly patrol, and I was sitting quietly reading a book, when there was a banging on the door.  A moment later, Pippa bounded in, having negotiated getting through the dog door with what appeared to be a long stick.  She proudly placed it at my feet.

The words, What a nice stick!  Where did you find it? weren't completely out of my mouth when I noticed the smooth texture and yellowish coloring of the stick.  Then I saw the hoof at the end.  A small, dainty cloven hoof.

When I said we found bones on our walks, I referred to old bones.  Bones that were gnawed long ago and are now bleached white and rough.

Pippa's deer leg-bone was fresh.  Too fresh for my comfort.  I assume some hunter had left it behind when he took home his deer, and a coyote had made a snack of it that very evening.

My first instinct was to back away in mild horror, but I suppressed it manfully.  Or should I say, womanfully.  I let Pippa know it was a lovely present, but that I had to take it out of the house and dispose of it somewhere else.

Dogs' gifts are special and wonderful to them.  They are things of joy -  really, truly happies.  To humans, they're usually something somewhat repugnant, but you can't get angry or upset with them.  They can get offended very easily.

Your dog brings you gifts because he loves and respects you and wants to please you.  He found this appealing item and instead of keeping it for himself, he brought it straight to you.  He wags his tail and everything about him says, Don't you love it?

I don't have any trouble pretending to love any gift they bring me.  I've had lots of practice.  One of my grandmothers used to visit at Christmas, and she always brought presents I didn't at all want, but my parents trained me to accept unwanted gifts graciously.  Now it comes in handy with Pippa and Scout!

So I always tell them what a nice gift they've brought and how much I appreciate it.  Then, I nicely, calmly and quickly get rid of it!  Sort of like those Christmas presents that got shoved into the back of a closet.

But bring me flowers?  Hardly.  It would never occur to them.  But the feeling behind it is just the same.  Maybe better.

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