Pluto used to sit in the living room looking out on our street through a large window. In an urban neighborhood like ours, the houses are old and in need of attention. Pluto was quite aware that our block was attended to by an army of painters, plumbers, exterminators, gutter and window cleaners, carpenters, electricians, appliance repairmen, in addition to the regular landscape workers and housekeepers. Typically, subcontractors drive a pick-up truck with a topper on the bed, they show up for work around 7 am, they knock off for the day around 3 pm, and they eat lunch and make calls in their vehicles. The ubiquity of this vehicle, and the predictable temperament of a subcontractor in the Pacific Northwest being a somewhat outdoorsy guy who enjoys the company of a hunting dog, meant that it was in Pluto’s interests to be aware of the comings and goings of these guys. Pluto knew that if he could slip out the front door when I brought in the morning paper, waiting on the front seat of the pick-up with the door left ajar while its owner carried in some tools was a sandwich and piece of fruit. Pluto didn’t mind eating the wrapper around the sandwich, either, and enjoyed an apple or banana almost as much as the sandwich.
I worried actively that he would be discovered in the act of stealing food, and either make someone very mad or get himself dog-napped. But it never happened.