Over the years, my family and later myself as an adult, have had a variety of dogs.
They all had their own degree of charm and some pretty quirky habits, especially when it comes to dinner.
In my childhood, the family mutt was given tinned food that looked like pink paste mixed with toenails, and it absolutely stank. When a new flavour was introduced, it was duly purchased for the dog to try, but he didn’t like it so it was back to the smelly stuff.
He had a way of looking pathetic, and every day would go up to the Post Office-cum-corner-shop where the elderly owners would take pity on him and give him a small finger of chocolate.
He was also partial to smarties, and we would give him a tube on a Saturday which he would carry home and take to his bed. You’d hear the ‘pop’ of the cardboard, and he would savour them one by one.
Nowadays, because it can be fatal to dogs, we don’t give ours chocolate in any form (even the doggy stuff) but it must have been good for him as he lived to be 17.
One of my uncles has always had at least 2 dogs at any one time. Every Sunday, they would be given a roast dinner the same as the rest of the family.
When his ten year old german shepherd was showing signs of ill-health, they decided to get another dog so as their boxer wouldn’t feel lonely when the inevitable happened. They had three dogs for almost four years, so I guess my aunt simply set another place.
I must admit Maggie has her own Christmas dinner, but without carrots or sprouts (two green eyeballs and a red mouth looked up at me from her metal bowl like some detached martian head) .
Now going back to when my parents dog died, they were without one for several years, though my Mum expected Dad to bring home a puppy practically every day.
When he eventually did, she was a little disappointed as she’d wanted a border collie and he presented her with a rough collie, but the dog was loved as all dogs had been in our house, and spoilt rotten.
Mum was told that liver was good for the coat, and so she cooked him liver at least 4 times a week. This actually had an adverse effect on his digestive system, so she tried tripe on the recommendation of a friend who cooked enough for two days every other day for her dog. (These days, apparently tripe for dogs is prepared and frozen, so no cooking is necessary. Let’s just say Maggie will never be given the chance to try it.)
Like me, Mum couldn’t stomach the smell, so it was dried food, and that seemed to be OK. However, for his lunch (!) he would have a sandwich.
Mum and Dad had to go away for the day so I was asked to check in on the dog and give him his snack in my lunch hour. I was also instructed not to forget to cut the crusts off.
I thought sod that, and presented him with a piece of crusted sandwich, to which he turned up his nose no matter how hard I tried. I gave in and cut the crusts off, and he ate the damn thing with gusto (I kid you not) .
Not only that, after their evening meal, Dad would sit in front of the TV and the dog would rest his head on his knee, every so often eyeing the side table by his chair. On it, was a tin. Inside the tin were doggy choccy drops, and every day, he was allowed 5.
That dog could count. You try to only give him four and he’d paw you to death. Offer him a sixth, and he’d walk away.
Again, it must have been good for him, as he lived to the age of 15.
Our previous border collie was raised on dried food. He liked the biscuits but not the meaty bits, so Hubby and I spent one evening removing them from the 20kg bag of mixed food we’d bought and gave them to my sister for doggy treats. Thereafter we bought food that resembled little brown polo mints, and he loved them. The thing was he was a night eater regardless of our efforts to get him to eat earlier, so we ended up leaving his food down all day and letting him eat when he wanted to.
Maggie is the other way, as she doesn’t like biscuits in her dinner. We experimented with various tinned and dried foods, ending up with dried meaty ‘chicken’ chunks which she seemed to like best, and tough luck if she gets bored. Actually this is unlikely as she has titbits from us as well. OK, there are days when she doesn’t eat very much, and days when she always seems to be snacking, but she has never bolted or scoffed her food (even with another dog in the house) so we put it down with plenty of fresh water and she’ll eat when she’s ready. As for biscuits, they always seem to taste better out of our pockets.
Unless of course they are gingernuts dunked in Hubby’s tea.