Share and share alike.

When Zozo was a puppy, James and I agreed- we made a pact!- that we wouldn’t give him food from the table.  There’s too much that’s not good for his stomach, we said.  We don’t want to encourage bad habits.

Athena was already spoiled by nibbles of corn chips and burnt french fry bits from Five Guys.  We had a second, temporary rescue cat that would snatch whole cheeseburgers from plates and try to make off with scrambled eggs.

So with Zo, no meant no.  Except for maybe just a corner of a pancake (“He asked if he could taste it!”).  Or a bite of pizza crust (“No, see, it fell on the floor and he got it before I could pick it up!”).  Or baby carrots and green beans (“There are vegetables in his dry food.  See, there’s a picture on the back by the ingredients of what I think are veggies.”).  Or inches of apples.  You see where this is headed.

When MJ came home, we redoubled our efforts.  No people food.  None.  She wasn’t interested in food anyway, so fine.  She was, however, interested in smelling it.  We’d make dinner and she’d pad around the kitchen, snout in the air.

“What are you choppin’?”

“What’s that you pulled out of the fridge?”

“Is somethin’ bakin’ in the oven?”

“Can I smell the soap?”

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Snout up, snout down, snout where it doesn’t belong.

Zo would hang out under the breakfast bar, waiting.

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Because he knew. He could sense it.  It was in the air, like the warming naan or the baking chicken or the dishwasher detergent.  Mama’s weakness.

If there is something plain, unseasoned and ok for furbabies, Mama will share.  That’s the number one household rule:  Mama always shares.

Our dogs don’t beg.  They don’t whimper or whine if we’re eating and they’re not.  But they line up, bums on the floor in a perfect sit, and accept an offering like communion.  And then they scoot away.  If there’s nothing for them, they get a treat and then retire to their beds.  It’s now routine.

I’m a failure.  Terrible, terrible failure.

Is there anything, dear readers, you promised you wouldn’t allow as a furparent that’s completely gone out the window?  Am I alone?

I could eat.

July 2011

On a particularly lazy Sunday, we huddle in the house waiting out a summer storm. James makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich, and he’s been begged into submission and is shuffling around the kitchen making our lunch. Pans clang, burners ignite.  Out comes the bread loaf, cheese slices and butter.  The commotion draws Doodle’s attention, and he becomes the instant helper by standing right behind James while he works.

Helper= trip hazard

MJ snores on the couch, indifferent to the activity in the next room.

mj is not interested.

mj is not interested.

James peels open the Kraft American Cheese Singles slice.  MJ bolts into the kitchen. There’s something about that plastic noise that has her unsettled.

“Hey Miss, what’s up?  We’re making lunch,” James chats.

Zo shifts his settled position into the middle of the kitchen, and MJ begins duckling-stalking behind James as he moves from counter to cook-top.  She steps on/over Doodle.  Ears pert, eyes open, sniffing the air.

Without thinking about it, James takes a small corner of cheese and offers it to Zo.  MJ erupts in her Brontosaurus whine.  How dare she be overlooked and unoffered.  She screams for her fair share.

“Ok, Miss.  Hold on.”  He tears a piece of cheese.  “Sit.”

From the other room, I can hear her butt hit hard on the floor.  She slurps the cheese down.

“Good girl!  Stay.”  James walks a few steps away.  She’s twitchy but working very hard to stay put.  “COME!”

From the couch, I hear the jingles of the furbaby stampede.  “Sit.”  Two dog rumps thwap the ground.

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Ladies and Gentlemen: we have a winner.

This Girl will do anything for Kraft singles.  It’s her Klondike bar; her holy grail.  Within a week, she’s mastering her cues for a tiny nibble of cheese.

We replenish our stock, but this time with the white singles slices (which I prefer).  MJ won’t take them.  She turns her snoot up and sulks away.  Back to the store we go.

Only the yellow slices for this princess.

 

Unmotivated

June 2011

If there’s one phrase you hear in our household on a daily basis, it’s “I could eat.”

It’s 4:30, any chance you’re ready for dinner?  I could eat.

Wanna meet friends for second lunch? I could eat.

Let’s try the new fro-yo place around the corner. ICE.

Zozo embraced this homespun practice, never begging but enthusiastically accepting meals, treats and nibbles.  His favorites?  Turkey & Giblets cat food (much to Athena’s chagrin), carrots, apple chunks, peanut butter, Cheerios, pancakes, pizza crust, burnt french fries, ice cubes… you get it.  He’s not picky.

The Little Girl, on the other paw, is not interested in food.  There have been too many mornings when James and I switch off getting ready for work, with sitting on the floor feeding MJ her breakfast– by hand– one kibble at a time.

We’re big believers in treat-training and rewarding her good behavior (successful potty trips, a tush touchdown of “sit,” etc.).  The problem is, she just doesn’t care.  We break out the highest of high-value treats: boiled chicken rolled in bacon grease, hot dogs, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch.  Food?  Whatever.

     “MJ, sit.”

     “No thanks, Mama.  I’m gonna goat this grass and ignore you.” (NOTE: if you can imagine hearing GWTW’s Scarlett or Steel Magnolias‘ Shelby, you’ve got MJ’s voice. Yes, I’m serious.)

-or-

     “Come!… Noooooo, come!” James calls.

     “Oh look, fox poo!  Let’s roll in it, Doodle!”

     “I’ve got hot dogs and belly rubs, Miss!”

     “I’m busy, daddy!”

Our training progress with MJ is, predictably, slow.  Zozo, however, is putting on some padding because he responds to our training cues like a champ.  Because, like his parents, he could eat.

Internet chat boards aren’t much help.  The vet is convinced MJ will come around.  Or not.  “She might just be one of those dogs.”

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And so, dear readers, how have you enticed a puppy who is utterly indifferent to yummies?