Dudley was in a panic as he watched Maggie devour the Rimadyl.
It was not supposed to happen this way.
A sense of seriousness and decorum was sadly lacking.
Dog slobber was raining down all over the living room rug, and the Rimadyl tablets had been kicked into the hallway, stepped on, and ground into the clean wood floor. They were also vanishing at an astonishing rate.
“Slow Down! I haven’t counted them yet!” he thought,
“How many of these should I eat?” he asked himself. But he could say nothing.
Dudley’s suicide pact with Maggie was far from an honest effort.
He intended only to eat enough pills to get mildly sick.
The joint suicide was a ploy meant to absolve him of all responsibility and to perhaps win him “victim” status.
“They will be so glad I’m alive that all will be forgiven,”he told himself.
No it was not suicide that he was wanting.
It was murder that he held in his heart, murder of the innocent Maggie.
“If only Maggie would have slept a while longer. That would have given me more time to prepare for this,” he thought.
He remembered what his mother had said,"The path of evil is paved with regrets."
Maggie, the source of the slobber, ate the poison with such a purposeful abandon that it was frightening to behold.
She was either a very brave dog, or she had lost herself in a last gasp of unreasoning hunger.
While the results would be the same, and Maggie would surely die from the ingestion of such a vast quantity of pills, Dudley was not at peace with the way things were going.
Dudley perceived himself to be what he thought was an enlightened sophisticate.
And while he knew that murder was a messy business, Dudley’s ideal murder would have been much more restrained and refined than this.
Early on he had considered hiring a small ensemble group to play classical music during the ingestion of the Rimadyl, but after careful thought, abandoned the idea.
Maggie was making a total mess of Dudley’s high aspirations.
Trying to wrest control of the situation Dudley made two piles of pills, one for him and one for Maggie, and then said to her what he had said so often before.
“ We have to do it. It’s the only way.”
Dudley wanted his recitation of this phrase to be different for this, what he assumed would be the last time.
He wanted his voice, which had so long concealed his true intent, to at last speak freely and openly.
He wanted Maggie to see the malice he held in his heart, to feel his contempt.
He wanted to do it in such a way that while she would still believe and act on his words, she would die knowing the truth.
However, he could not vary from all the other times he had uttered that phrase.
He was locked into his responses like a vice.
As he said the insincere words, his voice once again had the prerequisite painful timbre, and his face instantly contorted into a face of sadness.
“Pavlov was right,” Dudley thought, “Dogs are ruled by one damn reflex after another. But at least I don’t slobber.”
Maggie continued to eat as rapidly as possible, and Dudley made what for him seemed a wise observation, “ She doesn’t eat this fast because she enjoys it…. It’s just that she selfishly wants it all to herself.
Perhaps it was this perceived selfishness that set him so much on edge.
Having received no discernable reaction to his final “we have to do it” statement, Dudley decided to try another approach.
“ Maggie if you want to lead a healthy life you should drink a lot of water.”
Maggie stopped, looked at him,and then followed his suggestion to go get a drink of water.
The incongruity of suicide and having a healthy life did not completely escape her, but she wanted to show her appreciation to Dudley, who she thought was looking out for her best interests.
Once she was out of sight Dudley quickly lifted the corner of the carpet with his mouth and scraped a pile of pills under it with his paw.
“ Dudlini the Great,” Dudley thought as he admired his handiwork, “that’s has a good ring to it.”
As Maggie reentered the room, she found Dudley sitting squarely on top of the hidden stash of pills, munching on one of them thoughtfully .
“Look I’ve almost caught up with you!” he exclaimed, pointing to his now dwindling pile of pills.
Maggie once again was easily fooled.
“They certainly are tasty,” she said, and Dudley shook his head affirmatively.
Had she not been so consumed with eating, her keen nose would have made short work of Dudley’s deceit.
Dudley coughed and looked nervously around the room. He was out of ideas.
He had lost count of all of the Rimadyl tablets, and had no idea who had consumed what.
All he could think of to do now was to eat slowly and hope that Maggie did not notice.
The drink of water slowed Maggie’s “flow” at first, but soon she recovered the full vigor and pace of her eating, and that vigor would last well into the dark of the night.
Dudley, Angel, and Maggie’s ride to the vet’s office was uneventful.
No one threw up in the car and little was spoken.
The dogs that were inclined to vomit had already done so, perhaps early in the morning hours.
They had chosen either the living room or the hallway.
Upon awakening, all of the people who occupied the house were duly alarmed.
And I was apoplectic upon discovering all three dogs in varying degrees of distress.
The empty bottle lay on the floor.
And while it was clear to me that both Maggie and Dudley had carried out what I first thought was a suicide pact, it was harder to determine exactly what Angel’s role was in the whole thing.
Angel often appeared comatose no matter what the situation, and this time was no different.
At the Animal hospital I began by telling the vet what had happened, and my explanation to her was filled with a number of “I don’t knows”.
And that lack of knowledge was met with an excess of caution.
I soon discovered that caution, as well as money, does not grow on trees. And the phrase “I don’t know what dog ate what,” is perhaps the most expensive phrase ever spoken to a Veterinarian.
Holding the fate of one’s relations in one's hands is a sobering experience, even if that relation has a few chromosomes that are a bit different than one’s own. So, although money became one of the factors that were considered, it was not the pivotal one.
Fate then moved in a positive direction for this trio.
It was decided that they would have a nice vacation in the hospital.
It seems their livers could potentially be in distress due to the ingestion of the Rimadyl.
And it was important that they be monitored and encouraged to curtail the use of alcoholic beverages.
I also hoped the change of pace would do them some good, and give them time to reflect.
A few days later, the drive home from the veterinarian hospital seemed unusually tense.
Once arriving at the house all the dogs quickly picked up their normal routines and were soon fast asleep.
Later that evening I invited Dudley into my study to talk.
Sounding a bit like James Cagney, Dudley said,” I need to come clean with ya.”
Dudley proceeded to pour out his soul and I then heard the whole sordid tale of what he had done.
It was quickly decided that the police should not be involved.
Police might have a tendency to focus too much too on justice at this point.
And neither Dudley nor I felt that justice was the most important matter to be addressed.
I felt a great deal of guilt that I had let Dudley be exposed to so many shows on TV in which murder played an important part.
We discussed it at length and he decided to temper such shows with a dose of PBS and the History Channel.
Later, however, I realized that history too is fraught with murder and mayhem. So it is uncertain That watching the History Channel will have a positive effect.
Dudley did seem very remorseful.
His remorse ,however, might be due to the fact that his plans bore little fruit.
Maggie,despite his best efforts, was still with us.
My own opinion is that life is difficult, and that no one escapes making mistakes while growing up.
And although murder is definitely not a healthy endeavor, at least this episode showed Dudley was capable of taking the initiative, and carrying through on a project to the end.
Still, should Dudley decide that a life of crime is really what he wants to pursue, I am hoping he will try his hand at something a bit more practical.
Auto theft or safe cracking come to mind.
But then I AM concerned right now with how to pay the vet bills.