Monday, June 18, 2007

The Potato Eaters

I've been thinking about rewriting the classic and calling it Poo Eaters, but I'd have to re-read the story to make sure that there is some parallel other than the alliteration in the title.

Yaz and Stan's humans feed them a regular diet of very healthy dog food--no cheap fake foods there, no sirree... these puppies are the babies of this family... they are my borrow puppies and I am their borrow mommy... they are our favorite people.

But they eat poo.

Yaz especially snatches it and then hides it in her mouth until she thinks I'm not watching her--then she chews and swallows. She's like a kid stealing a piece of candy from the bulk candy section in the grocery store. The first few times she wasn't so discrete, and I tried to wrangle it from her mouth--without touching--but it's futile.

And dangerously disgusting.

It's bad enough I have to pick up her poo, leave alone risk touching some cat's shit.

For a while I was doing a really good job of keeping her from it. I developed this elaborate scheme of tucking my foot under her chin whenever she started thoroughly investigating the dirt or the grass, then I'd gently lift her little face up and away and we'd keep walking. I also have grown to recognize the differences in her posture when she walks--there's the "I'm hunting for squirrels/cats/birds" posture, which must be met with "no, no, you know better than that, no barking" and a preparation to hold on tight and pull. Then there's the "I'm checking out this place to see if it's good enough for me to poo" posture, which involves making little circles in the area. When she does this dance Stan and I are very polite and look away, having our own little conversation while Yaz takes care of business. (After which she has the nerve to pull on the leash because she wants to avoid the smell of her own shit, which, as I've mentioned, I have to pick up. This uppity behavior from a dog who eats cat shit.)

Stan on the other hand loves to run into the tall grasses--the fancy multicolored brown and tan or green bladed grasses that the people with gardens around here plant in lieu of flowers or trees. He's like a kid in a department store diving headfirst into the rack of clothing, as if Narnia just might be on the other side. The only thing that sets kids apart from him is that they usually play hide-and-seek in there, but he lifts his leg and pees. Sometimes he tries to act all dignified by holding his well-groomed Airedale head up high while he scrapes back his paws to cover his tracks. It's hard to buy his dignified act though, because afterward he rushes to catch up to Yaz and inevitably crashes into my legs or hers. Plus, sometimes while he's peeing he loses his balance, and has to scamper to avoid falling. I want to support his masculine pride, his attempts at machismo, but it's laughable.

He too eats poo, after all.

But today at the Garden a woman who knows an extraordinary amount about animals--she's even friends with a dog communicator--told me that dogs eat cat poo so that they can get more protein and that it's really better to feed them fresh raw meat than store-bought dog food--even the expensive kind. Like give them chicken. And blended fresh steamed vegetables--her dog won't eat them if they're raw. "You can add a little kibble," she said, but Kiibbles 'n Bits alone definitely wouldn't cut it in her household. She says the dogs' need for protein is natural and cat-shit eating is their instinctive way of reaching their dietary needs.

She read it somewhere.

I can't quite picture wolves eating lion and tiger shit, but maybe wolves get enough protein from the carcasses they consume.

I know this woman is probably right, yet I just can't see my way clear to actually carrying out her instructions. I'm the kind of woman who would feed a baby, well, baby food. The kind you buy in a jar. Now I'm contemplating the probability of people who are so busy that they pay me to feed and walk their dogs (yay us!) actually cooking for their dogs. We're talking about people who don't even cook much for themselves. We're talking about very good, very kind, very busy people. Understand that as I type this blog I am eating leftover spinach tortellini that took 7-9 minutes to cook after the water came to a boil. I poured the marinara sauce on it from a bottle. I am having "real" dinner only because I made it for lunch on Saturday (part of the cheese-panic-shopping food still available at mom and dad's house), otherwise, I'd be eating more cheese and crackers. Understand that a woman who is a CEO and in law school and I, the wife of a medical student, have discussed (while the puppies ate) the fact that we have scientifically proven we can live on pizza, burritos, peanut butter cups and mochas alone for at least one if not two weeks.

People like me--these are the people who are supposed to cook for the dogs?

I suppose if we maybe cooked the chicken and didn't puree the vegetables we could eat home-cooked food too... but who's going to go to the grocery store?

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