DOGFOOD  8' Detective and the case of the missing dog food

The door bell rang. DING DONG. Seven-year-old Michaela, the
world's greatest detective, answered the door.

"Oh, it's you." Michaela grumbled and tried to close the door.
Tommy, the naughty neighbor boy, stopped the door with his foot.

"Wait a minute. I haven't even told you why I'm here!" He said.

"Let me guess," replied Michaela, "you want to throw another
water balloon at me."


"Mud pie."


"Rotten egg."

"No!" Tommy insisted, "This is serious. We're talking detective
stuff here."

Michaela stopped trying to close the door. "No tricks?"

Tommy crossed his heart. "No tricks. Serious business."

Michaela stepped back and crossed her arms. She was still not
convinced. "I'm listening," she said.

Tommy thought a moment, stepped forward then said, "The dog food

Michaela replied, "I knew it! Why are you REALLY here?" She
tried to push Tommy back out the door.

Tommy held his ground. "No! I'm serious!" he said, "The dog food
really disappears. Every night. I fill the bowl every night and
next morning, the bowl is empty."

Michaela smiled, "Okay, I've got it. I solved the case. Your dog
ate the dog food. Goodbye." She tried again to push Tommy back.

But again Tommy held his ground. "You don't get it. The dogs
bowl is in the garage. But the dog sleeps in the house... all

"No doggie door?" Michaela asked.


"And this is no joke?" Michaela asked.

"No joke! I swear! You've got to solve this case, Michaela,
you've got to!" Tommy said seriously.

Michaela thought for a moment. Then said. "Alright. I'll solve
this mystery. But if I do, YOU have to promise me no more water
balloons, no squirt guns, no mud pies, no rotten eggs, no
nothing." Then she offered her hand.

"Deal," said Tommy as he shook Michaela's hand.

Late that night while everyone else was asleep, Michaela got up,
got dressed, and climbed up on a ladder to stand on the roof of
her own garage, where she could see anyone who came and went
from Tommy's garage. Michaela's grandfather bought her a night
vision scope, which she used to see in the darkness.

Within a few minutes, Michaela noticed some movement on the
ground near the corner of Tommy's garage. She focused the night
scope, but couldn't believe her eyes. A dog food nugget seemed
to be moving along the ground as if it was alive.

"Dog food nuggets don't just move by themselves!" She said to

She refocused the night scope. But this time, not one, but a
whole row of dog food nuggets seemed to be slithering on the
ground like a snake down the driveway toward the street.

"I have to investigate." Said Michaela to herself, as she
climbed down the ladder. Then she tip-toed toward the slithering
dog food nuggets and when she was close enough to touch them,
she shined her pocket flashlight at them. Nothing. She pulled
the magnifying glass from her backpack and looked under the
moving dog food nuggets.

"Aha! Ants!" She said to herself.

Sure enough, each dog food nugget was being carried on the backs
of fifteen or twenty tiny ants!

Michaela backed away to follow the ants to their colony. Near
the street the ants dropped the nuggets in a pile next to their
ant mound and returned to the garage for more.

But when Michaela looked back at the ant mound, the nuggets were

"Where did they go?!" She asked herself.

So, Michaela, the world's greatest detective, concluded, "The
ants stole the nuggets from Tommy, but it looks like somebody
stole the nuggets from the ants."

She search the area using the night scope. Nothing in the grass.
Nothing in the nearby bushes. Nothing in the street. Wait. Maybe
the storm drain. She stepped into the street and focused the
night scope on the storm drain. By now, the ants had left
another pile of nuggets next to their ant mound. And a mouse
came out of the storm drain to carry the nuggets into the storm

Michaela was only seven years old so her body was small enough
to fit into the storm drain. So, when the mouse took a load of
nuggets down the drain, Michaela followed. It was completely
dark down there, so she used her night scope. She could see the
mouse, but the mouse couldn't see her. In the sewer at the
bottom of the ladder she could see a pile of nuggets.

But when the mouse climbed back up out of the sewer to get more
nuggets, Michaela wisely chose to watch the nuggets. Sure
enough, a rat carried several of the nuggets away through the
sewer toward the other side of the street.

Michaela followed. The rat climbed out of the drain on the other
side of the street, so Michaela climbed out too. But the rat was
gone. But being the world's greatest detective, Michaela knew
that the rat would probably go back down into the sewer to get
more nuggets. So, she held very still and waited.

Sure enough, Michaela saw the rat climb out of a hole in the
dirt near a tree. So, while the rat was gone, she focused her
night scope into the rat hole. Just then, a chipmunk came down
the trunk of the tree and climbed into the hole. Michaela
watched as the chipmunk stole the dog food nuggets from the rat
hole and climbed back up the tree. Halfway up the tree, the
chipmunk disappeared.

Michaela climbed up the tree and found a hole. She was just
about to focus her night scope into the hole when the chipmunk
ran out of the hole and climbed quickly down the tree trunk to
steal some more dog food. As soon as the chipmunk disappeared
into the rat hole, Michaela focused her night scope into the
hole in the tree trunk.

"The nuggets are gone!" Michaela said to herself. "How could
they be gone so soon? There must be one more animal stealing the
dog food!"

So, Michaela found a strong branch on the tree to climb on and
she backed away from the hole and focused her night scope inside
and she waited. When the chipmunk returned with another load of
stolen dog food nuggets packed in its cheeks, she watched

Sure enough, as soon as the chipmunk dropped his load of nuggets
into the hole and turned around, a tiny furry hand reached
around the tree and into the hole and scooped up the nuggets.

"Whatever is stealing the nuggets this time is on the other side
of the tree." Michaela said to herself as she climbed down the
tree. She went back across the street and climbed up on her own
garage where she could see the backside of the tree. She focused
the night scope on the tree, but she didn't see any animals. So,
she waited.

During the next trip up the tree, the chipmunk had his cheeks
packed with dog food nuggets. But as soon as he had deposited
his load into the hole and left, a raccoon, who was sitting on
the branch above, climbed down, reached around the tree and into
the hole and grabbed some nuggets and put them into his mouth.

The next day Tommy rang Michaela's door bell. But Michaela was
still in her pajamas when she opened her door.

"How come you're not dressed?" asked Tommy.

"Because I stayed up late last night solving your case."
Michaela replied.

"You solved the case?!" Tommy shouted.

"Yes." Michaela replied.

"Well, what happened to the dog food?!" Asked Tommy.

"You going to keep your promise?" Asked Michaela.

"Yes. Of course!" Replied Tommy.

"Alright, here's what happened," Michaela explained, "Thousands
of ants came into your garage through a crack beside the door.
They carried the dog food out of the garage one nugget at a
time. But a mouse stole the nuggets from the ants, then a rat
stole the nuggets from the mouse, then a chipmunk stoled the
nuggets from the rat, then a raccoon stole the nuggets from the

"Who stole the nuggets from the raccoon?" Asked Tommy.

"Nobody. The raccoon ate the dog food on the spot. So, you see,
a lot of animals stole your dog food, but only the raccoon got
to eat."

And so, Michaela, the world's greatest detective solved yet
another difficult case. And because Tommy kept his promise, they
all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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