He scanned the first aisle and saw three yellow boxes. Quick checks showed they bore the wrong numbers, and he moved to the second aisle. Here, there were a couple of dozen yellow boxes, and Carver became engrossed in checking the numbers. It took him a moment to realize he was being sniffed.
He shot a look down to his left and saw the dog. It had come up on him silently, and Carver spared a couple of seconds to mentally curse his employer; there had been no mention of a watchdog.
The dog looked up at Carver and waited expectantly. Carver took a couple of cautious steps backward and examined the dog.
The dog was a standard poodle. It stood about 17 inches tall and its black hair was neatly trimmed. Its tail, also shorn but not docked, waved back and forth in greeting.
“Well, hello there, poodle,” Carver said, and the dog’s tail wagged faster. Carver could now see a bone-shaped name tag hanging off a collar. “Miou-Miou? That’s a funny name for a dog.” But Miou-Miou herself didn’t seem to mind. Carver reached out and patted the dog’s head. “Kind of a funny watchdog, too.”
He turned back to his work, checking numbers on yellow boxes, and Miou-Miou followed at a friendly distance.
“I don’t suppose you know where a yellow box with the number KLF-00391 would be?” Carver asked Miou-Miou. The dog continued to gaze happily at him. “No, that would be above your pay grade.” He turned into the third aisle, and Miou-Miou tagged along.
A moment later, Carver had his box. “Here we go, Miou-Miou. This is what I was sent here for. Nice of you to help out.” He started up the aisle to leave. A whining sound made him stop, and he turned around.
Miou-Miou looked at him and then tilted her head up to look at something on a high shelf. Carver returned to the dog and searched for whatever had caught Miou-Miou’s attention. He soon located a box of bone-shaped dog treats. He wondered if there were a box in every aisle.
He took the box from the shelf and fished out a couple of biscuits. He bent close to the dog as he presented them.
“Here you go, Miou-Miou. A couple of treats for my favorite watchdog.”
Miou-Miou’s tail worked overtime as she took the biscuits and lay down on the spot to enjoy them. Carver chuckled and made his way to the exit. “My kind of security.”
The next morning, Miou-Miou’s trainer and caretaker came into the warehouse. The dog eagerly ran up to him.
“Good morning, Miou-Miou,” Rudham said. “How’s the terror of Warehouse B today?”
Rudham fed Miou-Miou and refilled her water bowl. As she began to eat, he slipped her collar off and went into the security office.
A USB connector popped out of the name tag. Rudham plugged it into his computer and began a triple-speed replay of its ten-hour memory. About halfway through the night’s recording, Carver made his appearance.
“Oh-oh! What do we have here?”
Rudham stopped the playback and resumed it at normal speed. He made a note of the box Carver had broken in to steal and copied a single frame of Carver’s face as the thief leaned in toward the camera to give Miou-Miou her snack.
“Didn’t see the camera in the dot over the first i, did you?” he muttered quietly. “Or the mic in the second one. None of you ever do.”
He typed a quick report to accompany the photo and sent it off to the state police. Then he pushed a couple of buttons on his phone.
“This is Rudham. Someone got into B overnight. Miou-Miou got some good footage. Yeah, I’ve sent a photo off for ID. Perfectly clear. He even told Miou-Miou what he was stealing. All the cops have to do is find him; he’s already testified against himself. Yeah, I’ll get back to you.”
Miou-Miou entered the office, having finished her meal. Rudham bent over to pet her.
“Who’s the best watchdog this company ever had?” Miou-Miou barked once at the question, as she had been taught to do. “That’s right: you are.”