All the experts say so; dogs should not be fed table scraps. Maybe, but try convincing my dog, Toby. He insists on table scraps. And why not? Those leftovers were once human food after all. I've tried feeding him nutritious, perfectly balanced-for-all-your-dog's-needs kibble.
While placing the bowl before his nose I enthuse. "Mmmm, yummy Toby. Look, new improved flavor!"
"And how would you know that?" he asks with his doubting Tobias look. Then he'll take a whiff, wrinkle his nose and look at me with disgust.
"What's this dog's dinner?" his expression asks. "You call this dog fare? Where are the veggies, the sweet potatoes, and the skin of baked salmon cut into little squares just the way I like it?" Some mutt's looks can speak volumes. He'll then sniff the air and exit, stiff-legged. He'd rather starve than stoop to eat plain dog food.
I fret, of course, but try to hide my concern from the family.
"Don't worry, mom. He'll eat when he's hungry," my thirteen-year-old counsels.
"Yeah, mom, you spoil him," adds her older sister.
From his basket beside the refrigerator, Toby, with sunken eyes, looks at me reproachfully.
He's starting to emaciate already. I panic and rush to the pantry in search of a can of tuna. Casually I drain the oil over his biscuits.
"Whatcha doin, mom?"
"Oh just making tomorrow's lunch pack," I lie.
"Tuna again? Can't we have peanut butter and jam, this time?"
I think, sure you could, but I wouldn't want to be caught smearing peanut butter on kibble.
I replace Toby's bowl under his nose. He inspects it with displeasure. He too is sick of tuna. He'd rather go hungry.
"To hell with you then!" I sneer leaving him to waste away.
He sighs as I turn out the kitchen light.
Later that evening, as I prepare to take Toby out for his evening walk, I notice his biscuits slightly swollen from the tuna drippings but otherwise untouched. Too weak to leave his basket he watches me.
"Oh, all right then!" I concede knowing everyone has gone to bed and I won't get caught rooting through the fridge. Pulling out leftovers from that evening's meal, I take a wooden spoon and lovingly mix the mutt's biscuits with potatoes, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower au gratin. As I place his special china bowl on the floor, Toby, reconsidering his hunger strike and summing his last vestiges of strength, leaps from basket to bowl in one mighty bound.
Delicately, my canine gourmet munches while I look on relieved.I'll sleep well tonight. At that precise moment my husband arrives in the kitchen. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he glances at our cur, then me and pronounces, "Sucker!"