We all have different ways of getting treats from our parents. I was lucky enough to learn at the paws of judge Foley Monster. She taught me that dogs are the superior species when measured against humans, and we should never beg them for food. Such actions give people power over us. We cannot have that. I will say I never saw Foley beg at the table. She would stand on her back legs, bark repeatedly, and turned her head back and forth. It wasn’t begging. It was demanding.
I was not born with the steel nerves that Foley was. She was fearless. When there are two pack members, and one has that trait, the other becomes a worrier, watching the daring adventures of our partner. Two courageous dogs are rare in small packs. One member of the relationship has to be grounded, and that was me.
I have strived to teach River in the manner Foley taught me, but either she is not as good a student as I am, or Foley was a better teacher. Regardless, River entered the house begging, and no manner of teaching could curb her behavior. Worse than that, my parents turn giving food to her into a game.
When my parents eat, we only get what they have if it is chicken, without any seasoning. I think it is the most fabulous tasting food I have ever eaten, and I have tasted Foley’s poop, which she swore was golden. We only get a few nibbles of chicken. The rest of the meal, we receive what we eat every other time, kibble.
I am kindly respectfully handed the kibble. My parents know this is the only way I will accept the treat. But, River will do anything for food, and my parents push the envelope to see how far she will go. They throw kibble down the hallway and watch River scamper after it. Her pursuit is immensely entertaining because my sister suffers from a touch of nose blindness. If she loses sight of her target, she tries to detect it through scent, but her smushed in the face has jammed all her sensors together, and she has more trouble picking up the smell and finding her food than the Jets offense has finding the end zone. Often, I will casually stroll over as she is desperately surging and crunch down on the kibble if I want it or not.
They also place a kibble on the arm of Daddy’s captain’s chair. When standing, the top of River’s head is at the same level as the arm. River lifts her right front leg and tries to find the kibble, which, once located, she knocks off and attempts to catch it in her mouth. She is successful half the time. My parents get quite excited when she succeeds. I guess the virus and lockdown have made everyone desperate for entertainment.
I have taken a different route, having been plagued by stomach issues my entire life. I don’t eat when I am not feeling well, and this always worries my parents because, like a person living on a fault line, they are afraid this is the Big One. That is why they feel better when I eat and worry when I don’t. I have learned to use this to my advantage.
I don’t eat the first kibble offered me. My not eating makes my parents worry that I have an upset stomach. For some reason, they think eating will cure the problem. So they begin to dip the kibble into their food: mashed potatoes, meat, soup, whatever. They offer it to me. I sniff it, and sometimes I take it, and other times I say no, so they add more. River gets just plain kibble, but I get kibble dipped in human food, without having to chase it, or swipe at it.
When it comes to getting food from our parents, patience is best.