We’re watching Russell’s dog Betty while Russell heads down south for the wedding of some friends. Over the last few days, I’ve been responsible for serving Betty her evening and morning meals, which has caused me to pay careful attention to her dog food.
It’s no wonder that Betty wolfs down her food with voracious speed as soon as the dog bowl hits the floor of the pantry. She’s getting some pretty high-end chow here. Her cans of Pedigree state that they are made with real beef, and some include “filet mignon flavor.” And her Fromm brand food is labeled as “grain free” pate–chicken pate, to be precise. To add to the sophisticated air of the Fromm offering, the Fromm can labels include disclosures in both English and French.
In case you’re interested, Betty’s “dog food” in French is “pate de poulet nourriture pour chiens” that is “sans cereales.” It even sounds classier, doesn’t it? I’m surprised Betty doesn’t request a cloth napkin and a candlelit place setting before she sticks her head into the bowl and starts gobbling it.
We’re clearly not alone in the tony dog food department When you walk around German Village and notice deliveries on doorsteps, pet-related boxes tend to dominate, and since GV clearly is dog territory, many of the packages contain dog food. Chewy.com seems to be a popular on-line venue for dog food, and it offers a huge array of different brands that include contents like “big Texas steak,” salmon, and chicken. That’s pretty tempting stuff for Fido.
We may be living through tough times for humans, but it’s a golden age for dogs.
Dog owners make a lot of sacrifices for their beloved pooches. One of the sacrifices is grimly olfactory in nature: having to prepare dog food first thing in the morning.
Kish is on the road today, so preparation of Kaseycuisine falls to me by default. That means that, rather than having my senses gradually stimulated to full awareness after a night of blissful slumber by the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the crisp taste of orange juice, I’m assaulted by the sights, sounds, and smells of Kasey’s specially prepared chow. The special digestive care prescription diet canned food that falls into the bowl with a wet, sucking, disgusting, odiferous plop. The Beneful IncrediBites dry food (made with real chicken, according to the bag) that must be spooned out, moistened with water, and stirred into a kind of stew because Old Kase is down to about one tooth in the dental category and needs food that can be safely gummed into submission. And of course the food must be presented in fresh, clean bowls for our little princess, which means a key part of the assault on the senses is cleaning and washing the bowls from last night’s feast, which inevitably have minced food cemented to every inch of exposed surface by the epoxy-like qualities of dog saliva.
The gag-inducing food is thoughtfully prepared and tastefully presented, none of which makes a difference to Kasey when she finally decides to eat and gulps down her food with reckless, lip-smacking abandon. But after my exposure to dog food in the wee hours, I’m ready for a walk and some fresh air.
Kish and I went to dinner in Grandview last night, and as we walked to the restaurant we passed one shop that had thoughtfully placed a water dish and a huge gumball machine filled with dog food by its front door.
Kasey wasn’t with us, but she would have appreciated the gesture. And I have to say that, as a means of point of purchase advertising, a water dish and a dog food dispenser are pretty strong inducements. Anybody who cares enough about our canine friends to provide such treats is probably a pleasure to deal with, and a decent sort besides.
How do dogs maintain the same zeal for eating when they consume the same food, served in the same bowl, morning and night, day after day after day? Imagine if you were required to eat the same bowl of kibble, moistened to form a limp, fake quasi-gravy, and needed to shove your head into the wet food in order to chow it down. No rational person would tolerate, much less want, such a diet. We don’t even feed death row prisoners the same food, day after day.
And yet, our dogs act like they’ve just been seated at the highest-class five-star restaurant when you prepare their food every day. Their tails are wagging. Their eyes are blazing with feverish excitement. They move frantically back and forth, drool cascading from their mouths. And when you set the same damp shapes in front of them, they put their head in the bowl and gobble the food down with absolute gusto. And there is no doubt that, if you put more of the same slop before them, they would polish that off, too, and then turn, eyes shining and tail beating like a metronome, pathetically grateful and hoping that you give them even more.