Early one spring day, we– Elias, Sammie, Bug, Tara, and I – were walking down along the lake when Eli disappeared around the point ahead of us. Just as we reached the point Eli reappeared holding his jaws in an odd position, cheeks slightly puffed out, almost as though he was holding something in his mouth and carefully not closing his jaws.
Curious, I called Eli over and commanded him to “drop it”. …which command he immediately ignored as he stubbornly closed his mouth. I stuck my fingers into his mouth and felt about, held his maw open and peered in…nothing. Thinking he may have dropped or spit whatever was out, I gave up. Eli then immediately moved his tongue and shifted whatever it was from one cheek to the other, much like a kid shifting a gumdrop from cheek to cheek.
Ooookay, if it is so important for Ei,….. we continued our walk. A few minutes later, I saw Eli under a tree with something teeny-tiny gently cradled between his massive paws. He touched the tiny object with his muzzle several times. As I approached, he quickly used his tongue to popped the object back into his mouth, got up and continued on, occassionally gently shifting the object from one check to the other,once again resembling a kid with a gumdrop. Twice more Eli settled down, placing the object gently onto the ground between his paws and watching the object before popping it back into his mouth.
Finally, after a couple of hours, I called Eli over and put out my hand. Eli carefully deposited his little “gumdrop” onto the palm of my hand. It was a tiny hairless baby mouse, uncrushed and in one piece. Drowned in doggy saliva, poor little mite was deceased.
Relieved of his responsibility, Eli rejoined his siblings at play as I buried his sweet little ‘gumdrop’ in the moss amongst blooming twin flowers.