My eighteen-month old pup, Ruby, is a better killer than any I have yet to manufacture. She acts without hesitation, commits to every effort and never displays guilt or morale conflict. Last month’s rabbit picked the wrong corner of the yard for an exit. Tuesday’s chipmunk stayed too long at the bird feeder. July 4, that grackle just misjudged an excited yellow lab’s vertical leap. As the bodies pile up, I‘m stuck following her around the yard like one of Tony’s Soprano’s henchman; gloves, plastic bag or newspapers, and a shovel.

If ever I wanted a character study of the emotional disconnect of a disassociative-psychopath, I only have to try to get her to part with a fresh kill. “Ruby, drop it. Drop it now,” I say.

She doesn’t, choosing instead to dance out of my reach, a grin flashing in the moon light. Ruby’s smile is really just her way of sucking in air around a still-warm body. I know this. I also know that Charlie Manson, on his worst day, looks a little saner than she does with a mouth full of chipmunk. I can still see that grin marred only by a tiny tail drooping out over her lower lip.

I’m trying to learn something from all this mayhem. I want those tiny souls to have relinquished their lives for a greater good. My Darwinian nature says that there will be fewer slow rabbits, and that chipmunks will eventually develop better bird feeder exit-strategies. (I’m hoping the grackle thing was a fluke.) My spiritual side is up in arms. Karma doesn’t usually flow one way for very long. I keep picturing the Jurassic T-Rex running amok in my neighborhood, a dog house dangling from his lips by poor, unfortunate Ruby’s chain.

Maybe I can take some of that murderous élan and channel it into a best seller. Maybe I can get Ruby to become a vegan. Based on the way she explodes out the back door each night, the odds of the former far exceed the latter.

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