Nico the Artful Dodger: A Midsummer Pupdate

Remember Nico, the little stray cockapoo we adopted back in November?

Seven and a half months later, he's adjusted very nicely to life with us.  On days when I write at home, he warms my feet while I work, and follows me from room to room with great interest in whatever I do or say.  He has even won over Reuben, our elder statesdog, who at first was a bit resistant to Nico's charms.

Chillin' on the deck--more fun with a friend
These days we can leave the house with Nico uncrated, and he mainly just sleeps on the bed or sits on the stairs for a better view out the front door.  And he's successfully trained us not to leave food in reach.

As much of a fixture as Nico has become in our lives, we still wonder about his backstory.  The terrible mats in his fur when he arrived at the shelter indicated that he had either lived on the street a good long time or had been seriously neglected by his previous owner.

We still look for clues to what his life used to be like.  His unusual love of vegetables?  I'm pretty sure he learned to like them when he lived on the streets.  I imagine office workers having lunch in a local park, stripping the lettuce and tomatoes from their sandwiches and throwing them to the little stray dog who came around to beg.

Nico meets red pepper

Nico's fear of some (but not all) men who come over for a visit?  We imagine he had an male owner who may have been unkind to him.

But the most curious of Nico's behavior is his wallet fetish.  If one of the boys leaves theirs within his reach, it's a pretty sure bet Nico will steal it and bring it to me or Andre--which leads us to believe that in Nico's past life he was the Artful Dodger, pinching wallets to bring to his owner Fagan.

One recent morning, I was just about the leave the house when Andre called.  Somehow he'd left for work without his wallet.  Could I find it?  He suggested places where it might be--near the desk, on the nightstand, in the driveway--but it was absolutely nowhere.  I looked a long while before we concluded that the wallet was gone for good.

Running late for my day's errands, I said goodbye, as usual, to the dogs.  Nico was in his usual spot, upstairs on our bed, on top of the covers.  I bent to kiss his curly head, but as I was leaving, something in his eyes told me--I swear--to look under those bedcovers.

Guess what was there!

I guess the mystery of Nico's wallet-loving past will never be solved.  And now I'm more interested in an even stranger mystery: just how exactly did he learn to plant thoughts in my mind?
The patented Nico Mind Meld


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