there was a time when i would sit and eat a meal like a normal person. i’d talk to muggins, chow down, and stop when i got to the white part (muggins tells me that means i’ve reached the plate). but that was before the 12-pound boo-boo mcgee ambled into our lives, a scant 5 months ago. now, mealtimes have turned into a race and a guilt trip, all at the same time. this is because boo-boo always wants to eat more. it doesn’t matter that she has yummy Science Diet savory chicken in her puppy bowl, lovingly topped with the best feta cheese Costco offers. why bother eating drek like that that when she can have chicken breast with rosemary and balsamic vinegar? or homemade caesar salad? or french bread, toasted ever so slightly? why, indeed.
so here’s our drill. when i emerge from the kitchen, plate in hand, she jingles along after me, picking up speed as we approach the table. after i sit (trying not to meet her eyes) she takes her place right in my sightlines, at about 2 o’clock.
then she waits.
after i’ve shoveled in about 3 mouthfuls, she moves slightly, forcing me to look over involuntarily. and there are the eyes. the warm, brown, unblinking eyes of miss mcgee. she doesn’t bark, she doesn’t put her paws on my legs (that only comes later, if she absolutely must). She simply stares, focused like a dermatologist injecting botox into nicole kidman. at this point, i try to direct her back toward her food bowl with a wave of my fork. no go. she sits like a statue. so i summon up my courage and try to eat more quickly, dragging my eyes away from her and back to muggins. it’s now that she ratchets up the heat. she stands up and ever so gently takes the edge of my napkin in her mouth and tugs it off my lap, thinking that this crafty move will compel me to retrieve it, notice her, and feed her some of my spaghetti. usually i just let her take the napkin and play with it at my feet to buy me 5 more minutes of uninterrupted eating time.
she consults the boo-boo play book and discards the napkin, since it didn’t do the trick. then she sighs, and sweetly brushes back and forth past my legs so i feel her soft shih-tzu fur. by this point, i might still have half my dinner on my plate, but i am at my doggy wits’ end. i look down, and there’s the laser beam again. “i can’t take it anymore,” i say to muggins.
the next thing i know, boo-boo’s merrily tucking into some tasty swedish meatballs, corn on the cob, or pork saltimbocca. for this puppy, life is a feast.