There are days when my job puts me in an awkward position. Physically, this happens quite frequently. I have to crawl under houses to talk to terrified raccoons or go out on a limb– literally– to untangle a fishing line from nesting egret’s leg.
But worse, is when I’m forced into awkward social positions– like the one was currently facing.
“Of course it was Ziggy, who else could have done it?” my client, Mr. King, asked.
Feigning thoughtfulness, I looked down at my feet, then cast a glance at the kid sitting at the kitchen peninsula. The boy was around ten and was ignoring the conversation I was having with his dad. Or at least pretending to. He swung his feet, thumping the toe of his tennis shoe against the wood cabinet base in an incessant rhythm, thump-thump-thump, as he deftly navigated both a smart phone and the inside of his nose.
“Well…” I began, then stopped myself.
I knew who the guilty party was– Ziggy had told me. The fact that Ziggy was a boxer and currently accused of the crime was the problem.
You see, I can, and do, communicate with animals. My telepathic ability– and the fact that I keep it a secret– is why I’m so good at my job. I’m very good at talking to animals. People? Not so much.
“The front yard is fenced,” Mr. King went on. “We keep the gate locked. There’s no way another dog could have gotten in.”
“Probably not,” I agreed.
The kid paused for a moment to regard the tip of his finger then– looking directly at me– wiped whatever he’d mined from his nasal cavity under the seat of the stool.
The boy started up with the kicking again.
Thump- thump- thump.
I looked at the accused. Ziggy, like his owner and the kid, was a few pounds north of a healthy weight. The dog sat next to the bar stool looking up at the boy with a goofy, doggy smile.
Loyal as the day was long. Ziggy had no idea the kid was throwing him under the bus.
I couldn’t tell my client the truth– that his bratty kid had been the one to tear a hole in his wife’s giant, inflatable Easter Bunny yard ornament. Though that was exactly what had happened.
Offering solutions to an animal’s problem behavior is my job. What was I supposed to do when the problem behavior didn’t belong to the animal?
“You know what, Mr. King,” I said as a flash of inspiration struck. “I think this is a case of a dog with a little too much energy. Your son here looks like a nice, strong young man. I think I have a solution.”
I suggested the boy walk Ziggy twice a day in addition to the dog being allowed constant access through the doggie door to the yard.
The kid stopped the rhinotillexis and stared at me.
“If we let him out, he’ll do it again, won’t he?” Mr. King asked.
I angled my head and looked at Ziggy, then up at the kid. “If he does, he’ll have to be taken on longer walks until his behavior improves.”
The boy’s eyes went wide. My psychic ability doesn’t work on people. I couldn’t flood the kid’s mind with calm guidance or even compel him with a dose of because-I-said-so alpha energy, but I’d made my point.
Now, I just had a couple of crazy house cats to chat with and a paranoid parrot to council and I could call it a day!
You can read more about Grace in A Tiger’s Tale, the second book in the “Call of the Wilde” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Woof at the Door. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
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Meet the author
Spending the first years of her life on a Costa Rican coffee farm blessed Laura Morrigan with a fertile imagination and a love for all things wild.
Later she became a volunteer at a local zoo, helping out with everything from “waste management” to teaching an elephant how to paint. Drawing from her years of experience with both wild and domestic animals and her passion for detective novels, Laura created the Call of the Wilde series. She lives in Florida with her husband and far too many cats, loves the Blue Angels, wearing flip flops in November, and thunderstorms.
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