Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Of Pigs, Wearing Beagle Suits, at the Trough: A Cautionary Tale

Since we lost our Wendy Whiner beagle girl, I've noticed a change in the eating habits of Bouie, the sweet young lab, and Rosie, the geriatric mostly-blind-and-usually-deaf shih tzu.

Supper Time used to be a closely monitored activity. There were three bowls, in three different spots in the kitchen, and the bowls for Bouie and Rosie were not set in place until Wendy had her bowl. Rosie and Bouie had to wait because, otherwise, Wendy would nudge them out of the way and glom theirs down before they had a chance even to sniff their food; but, if she was preoccupied with her own bowl, the other two stood a chance of getting to eat.

Wendy never left a morsel in her bowl. Holding it down with one paw (quite the clever and talented hound dog), she always licked the bowl down several times, even after it was empty, digging in to scrape the last tiny morsel out of the creases in the bottom with that all-powerful beagle tongue. After she gave up on finding anything else in her own bowl, she would slyly (in her own mind!) set off to check out the others' bowls, hovering near them and staring down her canine brethren much like Snoopy did when he was pretending to be a vulture, willing them to step away from the bowl. If, by chance Rosie and Bouie didn't finish the whole serving, Wendy would take care of that for them, licking their bowls doubly clean as she had her own. On more than one occasion we feared she might explode. So, we took to picking up Rosie's and Bouie's bowls when they left something in them, both to preserve what was theirs and to prevent a bursting beagle. It was time-consuming, but worth the effort in the end, even if sometimes Rosie and Bouie didn't get quite full enough.

Since Wendy has been gone, the other dogs have felt free to nosh at will, not feeling obligated to clean their bowls all at one time; knowing that what they left would still be there waiting for them later when they felt like a little snack, but still willing to let the other have a nibble or two if he or she felt the need.

I think there's an allegory in there somewhere: the Tale of the Federal Government and the Taxpayers at Supper Time, starring Wendy as the Feds (and featuring Bouie and Rosie as The Taxpayers).

We should all take heed of the tale -- sometimes The Feeder has to monitor the action and pick up the supper bowls early; sometimes the beagle explodes and everyone has to clean up the mess.

The Feeders still have a choice -- for awhile.


  1. Excellent analogy!

    I just lost a cat, Myles who could have easily filled Wendy's role in this script. I am sorry for your loss; it is hard to see a furry family member go.

    And thanks for the Peanuts cartoon. I needed that.

  2. Sorry about your Myles.

    The comparison to government just hit me in the face the other day.

    I miss getting new Peanuts strips!

  3. Just time for a quickie before heading out to a "wetting down" with a whole BUNCH o' Squids. Feeding time for my three dogs was EXACTLY the same drill, but my "eat anything that won't eat her first" dogette was a Lab-Border Collie mix. That dog had SERIOUS food issues; the only difference between your story and mine is Dogus (the bitch in question) was the last to go. Remind me to tell you of the times she scarfed an ENTIRE loaf of bread in about 17 seconds flat (she actually did this on three separate occasions). Talk about fear of exploding dogs... ;-)

  4. But, did she have aspirations to take over the world, Buck?

  5. She might have been guilty of having low expectations as far as the whole world goes but she certainly owned HER little piece of it.

    I wanna be TSMP's dog in my next life.