Saturday, April 16, 2011

Look Into My Eyes and Give Me Your Food

I’m always bemused at tales of faithful dogs who ride in the back seat next to a pizza and don’t eat it, box and all, before they arrive home. Come to think of it, I know several people who couldn’t be trusted to show such restraint.

My munchkins are very food motivated. All of our basenji children have been enthusiastic about food. Little Leo, our sweet golden oldie was too polite to actually steal food, but he thought mealtimes were really wonderful.

Reno, our first-born basenji was quite fond of treats. He knew I kept a supply in my jeans pocket, to be tapped into throughout the day. I remember a time when Reno and I were doing yard work and my struggles with a stubborn sapling resulted in a tumble backwards. As I lay flat on my back, Reno trotted briskly over and I thought, “How sweet, my baby has come to see if I’m OK.” Instead, as he nosed and pawed at my pocket, I realized he had quickly deduced this prone position meant the treat pocket was now within his reach.

Dasa is even more willing to steal food from my hand than Ivan. My dainty little girl would happily take all of a sandwich in nearly one gulp, leaving only the smallest bit held between my thumb and forefinger. Dasa would also cheerfully steal food during its journey from fork to mouth. Ivan can reach parts of the counter that make it difficult to maintain a safe Ivan Free Zone. Neither of them would feel the slightest hesitation before stealing food off the table if they had the opportunity.

Crumbs are crucial sources of nourishment. Ivan recently decided there must be a toast crumb on the table, and he was determined to get it. When I left a chair pushed away from the table, he found his chance. So, of course, being the rigid parent that I am, I stopped to take photos before I made him get off the table. After a certain period of time as a basenji parent, I think my brain processes information differently. No matter what mischief they’re perpetuating, I’ve been conditioned by the basenji mind-meld, the cute tail wag, the baroo, and the beautiful and mesmerizing almond-shaped eyes to marvel at my smart, cute, clever, and amazing munchkins, and to give them lots of treats. My eyelids are getting heavy. On the count of three, I’ll hand over the treat jar and make sandwiches for them.

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