A mouse with a sweet tooth

Published 5:22 pm Thursday, April 4, 2013

It’s a common thing to find a packet of Dollar Store peppermints in one of the grooming totes in my tack room. I keep them handy as treats and training rewards for the horses and they crane their necks over their stall doors as I make one of several trips inside each day, ears pricked for the telltale sound of crackling cellophane and then pinned back against their heads in annoyance if I re-emerge, empty handed, save for the saddle or bridle I’m carrying.

They always hope but they know the routine: a candy is popped into their mouth upon being tacked up and at the end of a work out, and before I dismount, as I begin to fumble in my breeches pocket for it, whomever I’m riding brings their nose quickly around to my knee, begging for the last treat of the day.

So imagine my perplexed frown as I picked up the blue tote to carry out to the grooming stall and noted the peppermint bag – a brand new one, mind you – was not only chewed opened but completely empty.

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My immediate suspicion fell upon the dogs, in particular, Rosie, our Rat terrier, who has a notorious reputation for stealing anything she can reach with a skulking, stealthy, strike before heading around the back of the barn to devour the contents. As maddening as it is, I have also laughed out loud at the sight of her, sprinting from the tack room doorway with an entire carrot in her mouth, held lengthways, as if smoking a giant, orange, cigar, utterly ignoring my reprimands.

Bonnie is just as greedy and I will often find her sneaking into a horse’s stall during dinner feeding as I am adjusting blankets, hoping to scarf up any grain that falls to the ground from the horses’ mouths.

“The money that we spend on organic dog food with no corn fillers,” I have said, despairingly to Paul, “and then I turn around to find them trying to steal horse feed before going for dessert in the manure pile.”