So Bosco’s not exactly a connoisseur. For his whole life, his fine dining experience has been:
Morning: kibble in a bowl.
Evening: kibble in a bowl.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat……
Not that I have a problem with that. I learned the hard way that if you give a certain food to a dog once, he assumes that he will always get to eat that food. For nine years, my beagle and I shared tomatoes, strawberries, carrots, green beans, apples, jalapeños, etc. etc. etc.
It’s rather strange to have the opposite experience with Bosco. Just last night I was having a classy dinner of chipotle cod with shredded Brussels sprouts and caramelized onions. In front of the teevee. With Bosco sitting next to me. See, classy. I got up to refill my drink, and left my plate on the arm of the sofa. When I came back…..
There was my plate, on the arm of the sofa, with my food still on it. I know this is a very wonderful thing, but seriously – what dog does that?
I know that breed differences play into this – breed books describe beagles as “food motivated” – which really means “95% of the dog is stomach, and the other 5% is a big voice so he can yell that he wants something to eat.” At 29 pounds, I could not wrestle unauthorized food away from him. I figured Bosco’s 76 pounds would present an even greater challenge.
Shortly after he moved in, we were taking our regular walk and happened upon a pancake on the sidewalk. You are going to be dumbstruck and get caught up in wondering why there was a pancake on the sidewalk. I urge you to let it go – it’s one of life’s unsolved mysteries.
So Bosco found the pancake and picked it up. Out of habit, I firmly said “leave it,” but didn’t expect him to respond (we were still working on sit, heel, etc. at this time). But someone at BARC must have taught him that. He stood with the pancake hanging from his mouth, then gently placed it back exactly where he found it.
When I adopted Bosco, I had a list of questions for BARC, so that I could keep his basic care consistent. It seems that I misinterpreted the feeding instructions. After a few months, Bosco’s doctor let me know that he was 14 pounds too cuddly, and I needed to cut back on his food.
Up until that moment, he was still cautious about eating. He wouldn’t eat when I was watching, and often left food in his bowl (duh!). Starting a diet changed that – he went to town on his kibble the second I set it down, and was very aware that there were fewer of them. And he was not happy about it. I tried to make up the volume by adding green beans to his meals. That would have been nirvana to a beagle. The first time I did it to Bosco, he stood and stared at the bowl, as if saying “What.The. F%#*.” He did not eat that meal.
The second time I did it, he tried to remedy the situation. Using his blunt snout, he shoveled the green beans out of his dish, so he could just eat kibble. But things went terribly wrong, and he stood wide-eyed and frozen in place – the same look and stance as when he feels threatened.
There were still beans. And they were too close. They were
The horror. The horror.
But not every new food is a bad thing. One foolish day, I’d decided to take Bosco to get his nails trimmed, and then to meet some people at work. In the middle of a thunderstorm. I know now that this is Bosco’s Bermuda Triangle. He got so upset that he had diarrhea. For FIVE straight days.
Doggie kaopectate costs $110.
I would pay much more.
The other part of the prescription was for a bland diet. And Bosco went from “oh poor me, I don’t feel good, please rub me while I lay on the sofa,” to “I like chicken and rice. When’s supper time?”
I know that he will soon discover that I make lots of good food. And that he’s really tall and that no surface is out of his reach. And that no matter what he does, he will always be an adored member of this household. When he figures that out, it’s back to high food security.
But not tonight. I burned dinner. There’s smoke and swearing. He’s glad I didn’t wreck his kibble.