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Chapter 1: Introduction


Mungo is Jonah's nephew. We decided to add a puppy when Jonah was six because Jonah was such the perfect dog that we thought he could teach all his good and sweet manners to a puppy and we would be set for life! Mungo had different ideas.

Mungo has been nicknamed "the dog that eats food" by one of our granddaughters because he eats food - any food - his, yours, hers (especially hers), mine, morsels around the yard, garbage on the street. When he was 0 and 1, he was incorrigible. At 2 he began showing his age and possible impending judgment, but he still made the occasional dart for an unguarded sandwich. We had great hopes that when he turned 3 he would become grown-up and dignified. This hope has become somewhat true.

Mungo is drop-dead gorgeous. He was an adorable puppy, a cute adolescent, and a handsome adult. This is his job. He doesn't bring in the paper like his uncle Jonah, nor has he inheirited Jonah's graceful but obsessed attachment to tennis ball retreival, although he will amble after them if they are pink. His job is to lie around looking noble, to love everyone in sight, and to sleep, perchance to dream of a life of larceny.

Mungo means my little doggie in ancient Scottish. Saint Mungo was a beloved bishop who lived at the turn of the 6th century and is the patron saint of Glasgow. Mungo continues to be referred to as the Little Dog in our household,


Chapter 2: Mungo has a religious experience: Easter 2005

Easter morning, on his early morning walk, the little dog, "the dog that eats food", as my granddaughter Mollie calls him, did indeed eat some garbage. He is very fast, nonchalantly sniffing for news of the day one minute, executing a lightening fast dart for the rotting morsel lying forgotten by the curb the next. He swallows whole, so we had no idea what it was that graced his stomach this Easter morning.

Later, after the Easter services promised new life and unconditional love to all, 19 people and four extra dogs started arriving for Easter Dinner, toting in rolls and carrots and dip and assorted wet stuff. And deserts. I lost track of what came and where it went, but a safe stashing place is our pantry, which is guarded by a swinging door to which we have installed a hook and eye latch above child and dog reach. We were safe - locks and many eyes and a multitude of distractions kept all courses of our meal safe.

In the middle of this pleasant confusion, someone called out: "Why is the dog locked in the pantry?" She was referring to Little Dog, a now full grown golden retriever, whose proper name is Mungo. She then closed and relocked the pantry door. I assumed she had extracted Mungo, but a few minutes later, when I didn't see him milling around looking for his opening, I peeked into the pantry, and there he was, standing on his hind feet, fully extended and upright, grossly enjoying a tray full of lemon tarts. By the time we recovered our senses and removed the offender (dog, not the persons who had locked and relocked him in with one of the most treasured Easter desserts) he had easily eaten over a dozen tarts and nibbled on several more. He left us about six.

So, this is one piece of plate poaching the we could not blame on "the dog who eats food,” because a dog that finds himself locked in a small space with lemon tarts in mouth-reach has no other choice: he must eat before all is discovered.

Later, the so-called good dog, Mungo's elderly uncle, who only steals food when it is absolutely necessary in order to maintain his honor, surgically removed a piece of lamb from the youngest guest's plate when she was off in pursuit of something with more sugar.

Well, the wages of thievery are dyspepsia, but on the day after Easter that does not seem to deter the Little Dog from continual pursuit of fallen (or not) morsels to soothe his cravings; having rediscovered there is more to life than kibble and street garbage, he too is living in that Easter hope that brings love and new life in unexpected places.

Nancy Lowry; Easter Monday, 2005