Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Dog is a Fruit Addict

It started the way these things usually do. Standing in the kitchen having The Talk.

"Sweetie, I know you think that you want some of this pineapple but you aren't going to like it."

Ears remain up, every movement of the pineapple chunks being watched like they were particularly active and tasty-looking rodents.

"Seriously, sweetie, you aren't going to like it."

Head cocks to the side, tail begins to wag gently.

'Dad' comes into the kitchen and has pity. One pineapple chunk is tossed in the air and snapped up by eager jaws.

'Mom' smirks. "Didn't like that, didya?"

Ears prick forward, tail wags harder, and all 70 pounds of him begins to wriggle in on my personal space. This is not typically a wriggly dog. Two more chunks of pineapple go down with ever-increasing enthusiasm. 'Well,' we think, 'if he likes pineapple what else might he like?' We all share a fresh orange and a banana.

That was the day we realized that maybe our dog Herger was a bit of a freak. We knew that some dogs liked fruit, but it seemed that maybe he liked fruit Too Much. Today made that all very, very clear.

I was up first this morning and decided to be sweet and peel an orange for my Doggy-Daddy. As soon as I pierced the skin of the orange, Herger was dancing attendance under my feet. We hadn't had fresh oranges for awhile so I tossed him a slice of orange to see if that would chill him out. Uh, no. I took the bowl of orange slices into the bedroom and Herger followed closely behind, jumping up on the bed. This normally well-behaved and/or at least very shy dog nearly intercepted the first orange slice on the way to Doggy-Daddy's mouth! We had a Correction Moment which, shy boy that he is, requires only one Serious Talking To that lasts all of about 2 seconds after which he sat back and sighed, watching us eating the orange with rapt but mournful attention. We saved the last sections to share with the dogs back in the kitchen where they are supposed to get food near their bowls. His sister shares in the bounty out of fairness, although she really doesn't get the whole fruit thing. She just wants what he has. Since he was so mournful about not getting more of the morning orange I gave him almost a whole one, a section at a time, after I got back from work. He also got some baby greens because, well, he also likes that. This was all in addition to his daily kibble. Basically the dog has a healthier diet, and diet tendencies, than we do.

Now, just the "almost taking orange out of Daddy's mouth" incident would have been noteworthy. But tonight, after having all that orange and a salad, too, he was still on the lookout for a drive-by fruiting. I was grabbing a snack and had a banana along with a lot of other stuff to carry, and dropped the banana. He grabbed it and ran!! It was hard to summon up a good "Drop!" command when I was howling with laughter so he managed to get all the way to the den and behind the futon before I caught up with him. It's important in this story to note that all of our pets are trained to the "drop!"command, including the cats (handy when one caught a bird and then complied to spit it out within a half second). It's an important command because you never know when a pet might try to ingest something hazardous to their health, therefore the "drop!' command is non-negotiable and always strictly enforced. I know Herger knows "drop!" but he was NOT going to drop that banana! I chased him around the futon, the drop command becoming more commanding as it became clear that he was on his own plan. He finally dropped it in the hallway after he had managed to get half of it down. It landed right in front of his sister who had the "please don't tell me I have to eat this" look on her face. She, apparently, had far exceeded her daily fruit allowance.

As for Herger? Well, when I finally got my own banana snack he sat wriggling at my feet, obviously contemplating a coup. We've been saying for awhile that he would like for us to move to the tropics where he can eat tasty fruits off the beach every day. Now I'm thinking I need to check his bed for plane tickets. He doesn't seem like he will wait much longer.

If you would like to get Herger some fruit feel free to give his Doggy-Mommy the order and donate funds here. He swears we don't get him nearly enough of it.

Getting out the Evil Camera Contraption makes the ears go down but doesn't shift his Mommy-Has-A-Banana focus.

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