The blogger, the dogger and the peanut-butter jar: An Everyday Mystery™ brought to you by

June 7, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 7, 2016

Sometimes, we stumble across an Everyday Mystery™ but we never learn what really happened and/or why. This isn’t a whodunit kind of thing — it’s something more pedestrian, like What happened to that cat that kept meowing in the middle of the night? or Why was that driver signaling for a right turn as he made a left turn from a dedicated left-turn lane? or Was that person waving at me, or at someone behind me? or Did that person see me trip and flail my hands, or did she think I was waving at her? (A secondary mystery in the case of that last, um, case, would be And which possibility is more embarrassing for me?)

Sometimes, however, we stumble across an Everyday Mystery™ and we do learn what happened and/or why. Such was the case about two weeks ago while I was dog-sitting my adorable sister, Lucky the yellow Labrador retriever.

Lucky’s (and my) Parental Unit has a long-standing practice when the dog is being left at home: P.U. gives the dog a treat. My late sister, Sunshine the all-American dog, got an edible thingamabob that was shaped like, and probably marketed as, a stick, so we took to calling this parting gift (as it were) a see-you-later stick.

Lucky, however, is a bigger dog with a bigger appetite, and eventually, my parent came to the realization that Lucky would have to be given bigger and better treats in order to dissuade her from being a trouble-maker. So sometime in early 2015, I think, my — that is, our — parent began giving Lucky a piece of rawhide adorned with a small portion of peanut butter whenever the dog was going to be left behind in the house.

When I dog-sat Lucky last month, I followed this standard protocol whenever I left the house to go any farther than the curb to pick up the mail:

• Get a piece of rawhide from a certain cabinet in the kitchen.

• Take the dog’s peanut-butter knife from the sink or the window sill by the sink.

• Open the jar of peanut butter that my parent keeps on the window sill.

• Apply a dab of peanut butter to the rawhide.

• Return the knife to its spot.

• Close the jar of peanut butter and return it to the sill.

• Get my stuff and walk to the door.

• Turn on the burglar alarm.

• Give Lucky the rawhide and say, “Say you later, Lucky!”

• Leave the house and lock it behind me.

Simple enough, right?

Right, except when it’s not.

So one day when I was about to head out for the evening, I got a piece of rawhide from the designated cabinet in the kitchen and located the dog’s peanut-butter knife.

But I ran into a spot of trouble with Step 3, because when I reached over to the window sill to get the dog’s peanut-butter jar, neither it nor any other peanut-butter jar was in sight.

Huh, I thought to myself. Where did the peanut butter go?

Lucky, as previously noted on this blog (and implied in this post), can be a bit of a trouble-maker. I wondered for a moment whether, the last time I’d buttered up a see-you-later rawhide, I’d left the peanut butter jar on the counter where Lucky could have grabbed it with her jaws.

I dismissed this theory almost immediately. When Lucky gets into trouble, she usually leaves one or more signs that she has misbehaved. Had she put her forepaws on the counter and gotten hold of the peanut-butter jar, she would have left a very obvious mess.

So… Where was the peanut-butter jar?

I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew the answer. I vaguely remembered that when I’d been preparing to leave the house the day before, I’d left open the door of the cabinet containing the rawhide treats, prompting me to have to turn back to it to close it. Had I been holding the peanut-butter jar when I did that?

Well, it was easy enough to check. I went back to the cabinet from which I’d just gotten the rawhide…

I opened the cabinet…

And I found…

A misplaced jar of peanut butter.

Rest easy, dear readers. This Everyday Mystery™ has been solved!

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