Penny’s Bone Cache

Because dogs will be dogs.

When I got Penny the Tiny Dog I was determined to make sure that, despite her diminutive size — she currently weighs 4.6 pounds and might get up to 6.0 — she would be just like any other dog. In my book, that means making her walk (instead of being carried), making her jump into the truck (instead of being lifted), and being free to walk off-leash in safe environments (i.e., no danger of moving vehicles, predators, crowds, etc.).

Penny the Tiny Dog
Here’s Penny at dawn on Monday morning, standing at the edge of the cliff, watching the pickers come into the cherry orchard far below us.

As part of her training program, I let her run loose on the 2 or 3 acres of hillside property where my mobile mansion is currently parked. There’s no fence around the property, but she seems to understand her boundaries: the road on one side, the cliff face on the other, the steep slope to the house next door, and the boat parked halfway down the driveway on its trailer. I don’t let her loose when I’m not home — she’s too small and young for that — but I’m not always outdoors with her, supervising her closely. I’m confident — through a few weeks of observation — that she’ll be okay. And even if she doesn’t come right away when I call her, I can usually find her within a few minutes.

Rabbit Skull?Within her “territory” — which is actually a good term for it because she will bark to chase off neighboring dogs who come near — is a pile of bones. It’s the remains of a rabbit — or at least that’s my best guess based on a skull I snatched away from her when we first discovered it. Although once a good pile of bug-cleaned bones with very little fur or tissue (dried or otherwise), it’s since dwindled to what you see in the photo here:

Penny's Bone Cache

Leg Bone
Not So Lucky Rabbit's Foot

You see, since we discovered it about two weeks ago, Penny has been revisiting it on her own. She grabs a bone and brings it home with her. Sometimes she brings it into the RV — I took three leg bones away from her just this morning and found a not-so-lucky rabbit’s foot on the floor just the other day. Other times, when she wants to keep it to herself, she’ll take it under the RV — where she knows I can’t reach her — tune me out, and gnaw on her prize until she gets tired of me throwing rocks at her.

Now you might think this is gross — after all, my dog is regularly raiding a dead animal’s carcass and bringing pieces into my home. But there are no bugs or flesh or anything else that’s disgusting. The bones are… well, bone dry. I get them away from her, give her a treat in exchange, and toss them in the garbage. It sure beats the freshly killed, half-eaten mouse she brought home from the orchard the other day.

And the way I see it, eventually the bone cache will be emptied and she’ll stop bringing bones home.

Maybe then I can get her to work on the mouse that seems to have found its way into the RV and is eating Alex’s the Bird’s food every night.

What do you think?