The Politics of Marrow Bones

Don’t let anyone tell you that dogs cannot tell time or that they do not know what day of the week it is.  In our house, Thursdays are marrow bone days.  Generally marrow bones are dispensed at 10:30a.  Marrow bone day is the highlight of Bettina’s week.  She dances around the house on Thursday mornings and every time I make a move to get up from my desk she scrambles to ensure she is right at my side.  Most often she is disappointed because I am going to the bathroom or the kitchen to get a drink of water.  Other days of the week, she may accompany me when I get up, but not with the same stalker élan. 

When the marrow bones are finally handed out, the kids take their places in the living room.  Bettina is always to my right, facing the rear of the house and Blue is always to my left facing the front of the house.  Blue gets his bone first since he has seniority.  The bones come straight from our freezer so the kids spend the first 10 minutes or so gingerly licking at them and trying to avoid freezing their tongues.  As the bones begin to thaw, they get down to work. 

Blue greyhound on marrow bone day
What marrow bone on the bed mumma?
At around the 15 minute mark, Blue picks up his bone and moves it further away from Bettina and faces away from her.  Then at the 20-25 minute mark, he determines that is not enough of a demilitarized zone for him and so brings the bone back to the office where I am.  He works on it for a little while lying on the rug back there.  Meanwhile Bettina has been steadily gnawing her bone in her original location.

When we hit the 30 minute mark, Blue figures he’s no longer on my radar and he moves with his bone from the rug to one of the beds in the office.  Mumma’s rule is that they don’t take the bones on the beds, but I pretend not to see Blue when he does this.  I figure at 70ish human years, he’s earned the right to a little comfort.

Shortly after that Bettina arrives on the scene having ravaged her marrow bone.  She begins her campaign of intimidation immediately.  She lies down on the rug making sure that some part of her is touching the bed that Blue has chosen.  Blue will counter this maneuver by turning himself on the bed so as not to be able to see her.  Bettina may move to the other bed and stare at him from there or, if possible, reposition herself so Blue
Bettina and Blue doing the marrow bone dance
Soooooo close.   I will try using The Force.
is facing her again. 

Blue takes his sweet time with his bone.  He enjoys gnawing on it slowly.  But he’s not very thorough.  Usually when he’s done, he’s left some bits on the inside and outside.  Bettina knows this and she makes sure to be his shadow until he leaves the bone.  Blue will chew on the bone for awhile as she stares him down.  Then he tucks the bone in between his front legs and lays down for a nap. 

This makes Bettina insane.  She won’t risk invading his space to the extent it would require to get in close enough to get that bone.  She stares at him for the next hour or so hoping to make him move with the power of her mind.  Blue takes a nice long nap at which point he may resume gnawing on his bone. 

Blue and Bettina-I can't see you
I don't see you.
Eventually he loses interest and gets up to do something else at which point Bettina, who has been coiled like a spring since she came back in the office, swoops in and grabs Blue’s abandoned bone.  There are days she’ll bring her bone back to the office and then also get Blue’s bone.  She’ll lay on her bed with both bones between her front legs and do her best to chew them both simultaneously while in a prone position. 

I have seen Bettina stay focused on Blue’s bone for more than an hour while Blue alternately gnawed and napped.  She eventually wears him down though and he moves out to the living room to avoid the everlasting hairy eyeball.  If, by chance, Bettina doesn’t bring her bone back to the office when she comes, Blue will appropriate it.  His heart isn’t in it though and he generally gives it a few pathetic gnaws and leaves it where he found it. 

By mid-day a détente has been reached.  Blue doesn’t touch either bone again and Bettina will occasionally throughout the week give one bone or the other a love chomp.  Come the next Thursday, new battle lines are drawn and negotiations begin anew.


  1. My boys paint a similar scene at my house! Their marrow bones are delivered to the backyard, also frozen. Both are quite content to mind their own business for the first 30 minutes or so, but then Jimmy gets to eyeing what Wilson has. And of course it always looks better....So he starts barking his fool head off right next to Wilson's ears, hoping to drive him off. It never works. To stop all the annoying noise, I referee for a while. Eventually, Wilson tires of the whole concept and walks away. Jimmy swoops in and grabs what's left, brings it over to where his is, and gloats :-)

  2. Sounds like they have quite the intricate system worked out. I have some frozen marrow bones. Will have to see how it plays out at my house.

  3. Hilarious! I don't feed any good bones. I need to change that because I know Freedom, Casper and Nikki would love to have a good marrow bone or turkey neck.

  4. Rocco likes to collect all the bones in a heap and protect them, thus no bones most of the time. Sad doggies!

  5. that is very cute! Barbie isn't very interested in bones, I don't think she can gnaw hard enough !

  6. We don't feed marrow bones here, but I'd like to start. Now you have me rethinking it just a tad. Bettina is still the hound I most want to meet someday!

  7. If my guys get bones it's one in the front yard and one in the back yard. Beryl doesn't 'do' bones. Too much hard work for a Princess!! But she does tend to think what is Frankie's is also hers ... even if she doesn't want it. Blue and Bettina have a very civilised method of dealing with boney delights!

  8. I love your description! Our beloved greyhound recently died, and my two little rat terriers perform similar antics with their chew bones. Your hounds are gorgeous. Bettina looks a bit like Matilda.

    -Terry from MatildasJourney.com


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