Chicken Soup for the Soul
My two dogs love to eat (I know, don’t all dogs? But read on…) Wishbone is quite a fussy chap, and is also a bit of a drama queen. He prefers high end dog food of the highest quality – and price – and has a particular gentlemanly way about him. He likes routine, and he prefers his bowl to always be in the same spot in the kitchen, although when the weather is nice he doesn’t mind dining ‘al fresco’. Wishbone won’t take a treat from you unless you ask him to sit first. He likes to demonstrate how well behaved he is. For him, the chance to show off is as much of a treat as any dog snack could ever be. A few months ago, Wishbone went off cubes. He would eat of all of his dinner; the round, crunchy beef flavoured bits, the odd-shaped, green vegetable bits, but he wouldn’t touch the cubes. Not only that, but he would pick them up through gritted teeth, one tiny cube at a time, and place them in a neat, symmetrical row alongside his bowl for everyone to see. Almost like a military line up of kibble. He’d eaten cubes for six years previously, but now, for some reason, they were off limits.
His brother Nibbles, (or ‘Nobs’ as he’s been nicknamed) is not quite as fussy. In fact, he’s not fussy at all. Nobs has developed a particular liking for carrots recently, but his snack selection hasn’t always been so healthy.
The first few months of Nob’s life coincided with a period that became commonly known in our household as ‘the great disappearance’. It began with the first big food shop. I was certain I had bought a packet of fresh salmon. In fact, I was certain that I had taken it out of the shopping bag and placed it on the side, but when I turned to get it to put in the fridge, it had gone. Where had it gone? Straight to Nob’s belly. Wishbone on the other hand, was once offered fresh prawns but turned his nose up. I guess they weren’t organic or something. He has very high standards.
Over the next few weeks the salmon was joined by an entire loaf of bread – which poor Nobs couldn’t hide very well, as it swelled up inside him like a big, yeasty balloon. He didn’t keep it down for very long. Shortly after Nobs stole a cream cheese stuffed jalapeno from the BBQ. That too didn’t stay down – until then, I had never seen a dog physically cry. Wishbone simply looked at his gluttonous brother in disgust. How could he be so uncouth?
This was just the tip of the iceberg though. These were all ‘food stuffs’ at least. During the first year their lives, Wishbone snacked on dog food, dog treats and the occasional tin of sardines. All things that he was supposed to have, and that were perfectly acceptable. Nobs meanwhile, ate his way through shoes, socks, hats, before slowly progressing to more expensive items such as mobile phones, television remotes and the chargers for both, DVDs, books and even a computer mouse. Then he began to tackle bigger items – kitchen cupboards, the sofa, my bed, the guest bed, his own bed even. He ate inconvenient things. Like my passport. And money. He ate messy things, including a blue biro, which he chomped while sat on my crisp white bed sheets (where he was not allowed to be I hasten to add). Then he got more adventurous, and injected some danger into things by snacking on a serrated bread knife, some kitchen scissors and a lighter.
The ultimate in his culinary expedition though, was the venomous green snake that I caught him sampling when I came home one day. He wasn’t sure what to do with it at first. Should he eat it? Should he play with it? What he should have done was leave it alone, but there was no telling him that! There was a good ten minutes of Nobs throwing the snake up in the air while it swung at him viciously and I frantically tried to call him away from it before he was bitten. In the end, the snake didn’t make it, but not before poor Nobs got a nip on the tongue, causing him to spend two days under close observation, receiving medication to counter the effects of the bite. He was given lots of treats during this time though, so it wasn’t all bad.
Wishbone and Nobs are middle aged now. They are coming up to their seventh birthday and if anything, Wishbone has gotten even fussier. Cubes are back on the menu this week, but anything chicken flavoured is off. He does love chocolate breath though, and he happily licks the air inches from your face whenever you eat it. It’s a risky game, and one that has resulted in various people suffering the effects of a big, wet, sloppy dog kiss.
As for Nobs, he still eats anything. Including cubes.