Monday, November 18, 2013

A Dog's Watch

When you think about it, there is nothing more hopeful, more you-never-know than a dog. Perhaps this is why so many writers have dogs; you think it’s about the walking -- and it is -- but it is also about persistence and longing and the possibility that THIS TIME, the dream will come true. 
There are two dogs and two cats in our household. They each own a watch, set to their particular animal time:
7 am
5 pm
Yes, there is a noon in our house. Our younger dog needs a lot of food to fuel her high energy level but she can’t handle a big breakfast.
Because in our house, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Since 2002, when my parents’ dog was pooping blood and the vet put her on a bland diet of cooked ground beef and rice, I’ve fed my dogs a home-cooked meal for breakfast: meat, fruit or vegetable, a banana, rice or potato, a poached egg, a powdered supplement and a dollop of probiotic yogurt to keep the canine gas under control.
Truly, it is an act of love to devote 20 minutes of every morning to preparing the dogs’ breakfast. At least I get to drink my first cup of coffee.
Stella’s obsession with food is entirely undiminished by her advanced age of ten and three-quarters. And at her age, routine is very important. 
So she and I perform the same ritual every morning. She is fed first then I begin to assemble Abby’s breakfast. Stella stands RIGHT THERE.
“You’ve already had yours, Stella,” I say. Every day. “You’re not getting another breakfast. Go lie down.”
And she goes. Backing up the entire way out of the kitchen. In case I change my mind. In case this is the day I decide to put that bowl down in front of her, again. It could happen. You never know. That’s why the ritual happens, that’s why she never gives up. Every day there is the chance that a miracle could happen.

Is it time for a meal yet? 

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