I want you all to get to know my dog, Wiley, better. He is a fawn-colored Puggle, who is one and one-half feet in height and coincidentally one and one-half feet in length. He weighs thirty-three pounds. Sometimes I call him my ” Chunk-A-Lunk” and other times, I refer to him as my “Big Chunk of Chocolate.”
He is quite the character, and a “Rock Star” in our neighborhood. That is the name our dog-sitter coined for him because the first time she took him on his daily mile walk, all the kids in the neighborhood came running out of their houses yelling, “Wiley! Wiley! Wiley!” as if he could give them all his autograph. The only thing he would give them, however, would be lots of slobbery kisses, which the kids enjoyed and obliged Wiley the thrill.
Anyway, Wiley, the “Rock Star,” is not so popular in the kitchen. Reading this story will explain why. I hope you enjoy it.
The Case of the Starving Dog
One day I asked my vet if dogs could have a disease that caused them to never be satiated. She said she didn’t think so.
“Why do you ask?” she said.
“Because he eats his food and treats, then acts as if he’s never been fed,” I said.
She thought it was common dog behavior for his breed, and thought we should put him on a diet.
“We’ll give it a try,” I said.
From the time Wiley was a puppy, he licked the floor as soon as something dropped on it. There were other signs of this behavior, too. The first time I experienced it was when I had made breakfast one morning. I baked some bran muffins and just taken them out of the oven. I put one on a paper plate with my pills and set it on the dining room table.
Walking into the kitchen to fetch something, I heard a noise, and then ran back to see what was the matter. Wiley was on the floor with as empty paper plate in his mouth. Not only had he eaten my muffin, but the cooking paper that surrounded it and all my pills.
On another occasion I learned the hard way not to set a beautiful table at the holidays. One Christmas I adorned my table with a seasonal centerpiece, my Waterford crystal and good china. I could see the table from my kitchen sink. It looked as beautiful as our tree. But then I heard that funny noise again. I saw the tablecloth and everything on it starting to move left. It was Wiley pulling the material at one corner of the six foot long table. Did he think he could do his magic trick of pulling the tablecloth off leaving all the dishes in place without me knowing it? I made it in time to scold him and save all of the table setting.
From that day on, if we put a plate or placemat too close to the edge of the table, it would off in a flash. Forget saving any food, if something was on it, it would be gone down his intestinal tract before we could rescue it.
I can’t remember when he started this routine but it has happened as long as I can remember. Wiley found out how to open my kitchen cabinet doors. If scratching them didn’t get my attention, he had no trouble standing on his hind legs, putting his left paw on the left knob and flicking the right knob with his right paw until the door stayed open. Next he would poke his nose inside to sniff and rummage around for anything that smelled like food or treats. I’d finally have to intervene, close the door and tell him, “No!” This still happens on a daily basis, even after he has eaten his meal.
Last Sunday we had a pizza party. After eating his dinner and getting his after-meal treat, Wiley thought he would be able to get some banana cream pie just like our guests. We never feed him people food and have tried since he was one year old to control his weight. It’s been a constant struggle to get his weight down to the number the vet advised, even though he walks two miles every day with my husband.
Half of our guests were sitting outside around the outdoor fireplace eating their dessert off a low cocktail table. One of the men got up to get himself a drink, and while he was gone, Wiley saw his chance, made a quick grab, and stole the last half of the man’s pie.
I went inside to get our guest another piece, and put my half-eaten pie in the middle of our dining room table thinking Wiley couldn’t get it. I heard screams of laughter.
I found the culprit in the dining room. Half of my pie was on the floor, and Wiley was eating it. Our guests had seen the whole thing. They told me Wiley jumped three times before he succeeded. On the third try his hind legs were a foot off the ground. He had grabbed the end of the paper plate, flipped it over, and continued his feast of a second helping. He looked like Santa with a beard of cream.
He had never done that before. Now we can’t trust him with anything on the table no matter how close it is to the edge. One us has to keep guard.