Thursday, November 13, 2008

Designated Eating Spot

Richard advises choosing a place in your home and always eating there. The thought is that you will be more in control of your portions and actions if you control your environment. It seems like a good idea to me, but for myself, I prefer - unless I have company - to eat while pursuing other activities. I may not be focused on what I'm eating, but I measure my portions onto my plate before I carry it to wherever I want to be. The computer. The desk. The TV.

My dogs, on the other hand, are creatures of habit, and they have specific locations in which they like to consume. At meal times, Cosmos eats in the hallway and Sunny eats in the kitchen. For snacks, though, they gladly accept their treats in the pantry and then head down the hall to their preferred spots. Cosmos in the studio corner almost behind the loom. Sunny in the bedroom. Separated by choice.

Last night, Eric was over and we went out to the movies. "W" to be exact, and it's worth seeing. But I digress.

Cosmos has been having some tummy issues as of late. Couple that with newly clean carpet along with Vennie's imminent arrival and it's a recipe for disaster. So before we left, I put the doggie barrier up in the hallway, preventing accessess to the carpeted portion of the condo. Then we all went into the kitchen for biscuits.

The boys grabbed their treats and headed off to eat them, but were confused when they were thwarted. Eric & I watched their antics with amusement. I figured that they would eventually eat in the living room and then settle down for a nice evening's nap. Not.

Upon our arrival home, the first thing I noticed was a grating sound behind the front door when I opened it. Cosmos's biscuits. Both of them located in his choice sleeping spot, still warm from guarding his treats. Eric laughed when I informed him that I guess Cosmos didn't want to eat in the living room. But we laughed harder when we found Sunny's two biscuits side by side in the hallway. He didn't want to eat out-of-position either.

We greeted the dogs, put them outside for a couple of minutes, and while they were gone, I removed the barrier. They came in and immediately checked out the hallway. Access no longer impeded, Cosmos ran for one of his biscuits, grabbed it, and carried it into the studio. "What's he doing?" Eric asked.

"Taking his biscuit someplace private to eat."

"But he only took one of them."

"He'll be back." And he was. About 5 seconds later. He returned for his second biscuit before eating the first.

In the meantime, Sunny was standing with us, looking to be pet. He's not quite as food oriented as Cosmos, and Eric commented that he hadn't carried his biscuits off. "Give him a minute," I advised him. And sure enough, as soon as Cosmos's frenzy died down, Sunny grabbed them (both at the same time), and quietly took them to the bedroom.

About 10 minutes later, both dogs came back to the front. I knew that, when I went into the bedroom, I better not walk barefoot for the crumbs. I also knew that, if Richard had seen them, he would have been proud.

* * *

The kindness of strangers does not allude me. I belong to Freecycle, a grass roots internet based organization dedicated to passing unwanted treasures from one household into another that could use them. You sign up, then offers come via e-mail. Respond, and if you're lucky, you're the chosen one to receive. Or extend an offer, and you get to meet the person who benefits from your generosity. I've done both.

Last night when we got back from W-, I scanned my e-mail. Many offers from Freecycle, but only one that caught my attention. Carpeted dog stairs with storage. So your dog has easy access into bed.

Both of my boys are old now. As a result, they suffer from a variety of medical issues, and neither of them are capable of jumping into bed on their own. I'm able to lift Cosmos up and down (he's far smaller), but Sunny is just too big for me to help. I know that he misses coming in with us. I can see him looking at us longingly when we retire for the night. Occasionally he will attempt the leap, but he's rarely successful.

Anyway, I saw the offer and sent an e-mail back immediately. "Oh my! Both of my dogs are really old (and large) and I have to lift them into bed. I would be very grateful if you might steer these in my direction!"

I didn't say anything about my own medical issues which, if you are a regular reader or a friend, you know are very severe. I regretted it, knowing that sometimes a good story might help the transaction turn out favorably. But the e-mail had already been sent and it was in the hands of the gods.

This morning I awoke to find an e-mail from "Jason," letting me know that if we were to arrange a mutually agreeable time for pick-up, the stairs now belonged to my boys! I went there this afternoon and they are installed in my bedroom.

Jason was delightful. His furry girl passed at age 15; she was a rescue just as mine are. Apparently he had received quite a few responses to his offer, and was flumoxed by how sad the stories were. He had only one set of stairs to donate. Since my e-mail came back first, I was the chosen one. I promised him that when we no longer had use for them, I would send them out again for other dogs and their humans to use. Freecycle. Gotta love it.

So far, both dogs have sniffed the stairs, and Sunny has even put both of his front feet on the bottom level. Better than I had hoped for on the first day. The boys are quite suspicious, and I figured they would circle around the subject for a few.

I'm not at all worried. I think that they will be running up and down them in a couple of days. I know, though, that long after the dogs are used to what is a scary novelty to them now, I will remember where the stairs came from and will be eternally grateful.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 13.


Anonymous said...

Give the boys a hug for me..All of them.

Hugs and love

LI Laura said...

So happy the boys will be able to easily achieve sleep nirvana.

Claudia said...

I didn't have doggy stairs for Mac. He was very athletic and made the jump 100 times a day. I'm not sure they had them when Mac was alive.

Rigby loves his doggy stairs. He runs up and down with great speed and glee.

Love to you and the boys from me and Cousin Rigby.


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