DINING WITH THE SHIH TZUS
As I write this I’m being watched very carefully for the odd unconscious gesture that in Shitzu-speak means “time to eat.” We usually feed the beloved pair once a day, usually at noon. But given their unerring sense of time the imploring begins exactly one-hour earlier. Now I would give in to this and feed them one-hour earlier - at 11:00 am - (I mean what’s an hour?) - if I didn’t know that tomorrow the sad eyes, tentative tail wags, and occasional whimpers will begin at 10:00 am. sharp.
After all, it was not that long ago that feeding time was at five in the afternoon and now we’ve all arrived at noon. If this goes on they’ll be eating at two in the morning and the last time I fed anyone or anything at two in the morning was when my son was an infant in arms.
So, we wait until noon and then the real drama begins. Jasmine, you see, is obsessed with eating and has been since she was a well-loved puppy. She would rather eat then go for a walk or run or swim or chase chickens or chipmunks. Her appetite is voracious and bottomless. Diego, on the other hand, is slow, random and wanders around his bowl in a long day’s journey to conclusion. His eating is like his peeing and pooping: endless circling combined with a near-infinite number of tentative starts before the perfect few inches of ground are finally discovered and the job can begin.
All of this means that Jasmine is finished with her bowl at the same time that Diego has just begin and then the stalking begins. Slung low to the ground, she creeps closer and closer until he notices and with a warning bark sends her back a few feet. He’s a couple of years younger and more fierce if need be and not to be trifled with.
But then he forgets the threat and wanders off for a bit to check what’s going on in the next room - always nothing - and that’s where I come in. I’m the patient referee among the kids. I keep her back until he returns and eats a bit more until the next wander and the next return. And on it goes until he’s finally finished and makes his welcome exit and she gets to lick his bowl almost down to the exterior paint job.
The drama is over. Next instalment tomorrow.
Next Blog: Make your own dog food, It’s usually better.