Turning up nose at pricey food is dog's new trick

December 04, 2006|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Columnist

This is another story about the old dog who lives in my house and clings to life for the sole purpose of driving me crazy.

Here's the new thing the dog is doing now: faking an eating disorder.

It began a few months ago, when the dog didn't seem to have his usual appetite and my wife became concerned.

"Maybe his teeth are bothering him," she said. "He is 14 years old."

There's nothing wrong with the dog's teeth, I told her. This is all an act. Don't fall for this. This is exactly what he wants.

But she took him to the vet for a checkup anyway. (KA-CHING! Sixty-five bucks out the window.)

And the vet said: "Sure, maybe it's his teeth, try giving him wet dog food instead of dry food, see if that works, I'm late for my tee time, pay the receptionist on your way out."

Great.

Here the dog had eaten dry food for 14 years with absolutely no problem.

But now my wife was buying him "variety pouches" of chunky turkey and bacon dinners, beef and liver dinners, and beef, noodles and vegetable casseroles.

The stuff wasn't cheap, either.

But the dog must have thought he died and went to heaven.

For a month or so, everything was fine.

Then the dog's natural inclination to be a pain resurfaced.

Because, suddenly, he wasn't eating as much again.

In fact, now there were times when you'd feed the dog, say, a beef stew dinner, and he'd turn up his nose. Like he was thinking: You call this beef stew?

"Maybe he just needs better dog food," my wife said.

Will you stop? I said. The dog is fine. He's playing you like a violin. This is just another con job.

OK, that went over well.

Two minutes later, my wife grabbed her car keys and headed off to Mars.

From then on, she started buying the dog this top-of-the-line wet dog food.

Now the dog was eating -- I'm not kidding here -- braised chicken with garden vegetables, chicken and veal in meaty juices, and pork tenderloin nuggets.

The dog was eating better than anyone else in the house.

I'd come home at night and there would be nothing in the refrigerator, and I'd end up having a tuna sandwich and a Diet Coke.

And I'd look over at the dog, and the dog would be chowing down on porterhouse steak-flavored chunks.

I'm surprised he didn't break out a nice cabernet sauvignon to go with it.

This stuff, the braised chicken with garden vegetables and all that, didn't come in pouches, either.

It came in little tins -- like fine caviar or something.

It probably made the dog feel like a big shot. He loves that, too.

So now the dog was on top of the world again.

Now he was eating like a longshoreman.

Braised chicken, steak, veal -- it was like a doggie Ruth's Chris Steak House for every meal.

Then a few days ago, the dog decided to start being a pain again.

Suddenly, he didn't seem as enthusiastic about eating.

You'd put the food in his bowl and instead of attacking it, he'd just stare at it.

Then he'd look up at you, as if he was thinking: Top sirloin-flavored nuggets, top sirloin-flavored nuggets ... don't they make anything else these days?

So now my wife is worried about the dog again.

"Maybe he's just bored with his food," she said.

Bored?! I said. How could he be bored?!

This is the best dog food you can buy! You can't do better! The next step would be to hire a private chef to cook for the dog.

Anyway, as of today, the dog was still faking whatever it is that he's faking.

I say he's faking an eating disorder because that's his style.

This morning, I fed him a nice beef-and-liver combo thing.

He stared at it for a few seconds and then sauntered out of the kitchen.

Maybe he's holding out for the private chef, I don't know.

But if that's the case, he's in for a long wait.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

To hear podcasts featuring Kevin Cowherd, go to baltimoresun.com/cowherd

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