Let us start from the beginning.
Once, it was just me and Chloe. Any food to be had was mine and mine alone. Chloe’s food was Chloe’s food. It was served with love out of a bowl on the floor. She didn’t beg, or if she did, it was nice begging. The kind where she sits patiently and waits for her scrap without jumping, lunging, snatching or biting. Then my mom introduced her to popcorn. Though I wanted to keep Chloe on a healthy dog-food diet, my mom is of the variety that thinks dogs should eat anything that she’s eating (I love you mom!). Though she knew I protested to giving Chloe table scraps, she would disguise her charity as an accident by saying, “oops!” and throwing (not dropping) several pieces of popcorn at Chloe’s feet like petals before royalty (and Chloe is royalty, by the way). This became such a routine that to this day, Chloe will wake from a dead sleep and run full-force to the kitchen if she hears popcorn popping in the microwave. That was the corruption of Chloe.
Then came Paco. When I brought Paco home, he was uninterested by food. Dinnertime was simply something else to do. He didn’t want treats and showed no interest in what was on my plate. In other words, when it was time to eat, Paco was perfect. At mealtimes, he continued doing whatever he was doing (unlike Chloe who would stop her activity, sit at your feet and put on her cute eyes and ears) and life was good. So where did things go wrong, you ask? Let’s just say that when I met Paco’s dad, things took a turn for the worse.
Jerritt is of the same variety as my mom. Before we met, his Rottie, Misha, ate little pieces of food that he saved on the side of his plate especially for her (that is not to say that since we met, he does not still do this). Just to give you a taste of her gourmet palate: Misha will run to the kitchen at the sound of hard-boiled eggs cracking, a fried chicken box opening (though it seems unfeasible, she does know the difference between a fried chicken box and any other food box) or the crinkle of a cheese wrapper. Once Paco finally got a taste of people food (at Jerritt’s hand), I imagine it was like the world was opened to him: Hallelujah playing in the background, flowers blossoming, doves taking flight in the air, rainbows exploding from technicolored clouds, you know…
Paco now follows so closely behind a plate of food that you would think his diabolical scheme is to trip you, take pleasure in watching you fall and then revel in his sneaky mastery as he scarfs down all the morsels at his feet. Though this has yet to happen, he has snatched tastes from the dinnerware of distracted parents: a hot dog here, hot chocolate there, pizza and chips in between.
Now you’re wondering about the corruption of Tetsy. His story is much shorter: he does whatever Paco does.
Every night Jerritt and I fight for our food. First, in the kitchen as it’s being prepared. There is lots of “out of the kitchen -insert dog name here-,” “I mean it, out of the kitchen,” “Jerritt/Megan, can you come get -insert dog name here- out of the kitchen?” Then, as the funny parents try to balance plates and cups and silverware in four hands as they are being transported to their final dinner destination, dogs up butts and in between feet. Finally, as parents sit on the floor (we don’t have a dining table, funny as it sounds), surrounded by dogs. This is an annoying, albeit comical scene where Paco sneaks closer and closer until his nose is hovering over a plate; Tetsy is crowding Paco, sometimes pushing him into plates, people and furniture; Chloe has staked her spot closest to the parent she thinks is most likely to drop food (Jerritt) and she defends this spot as a mother Bluejay would her nest, darting and snapping at the vulnerable spots of much larger competitors; and Misha is usually the furthest back, being pretty well behaved, unless there is present one of the aforementioned food items that she cannot be denied (in which case she will be with the rest of the pack, mouth agape, tongue at the ready, eyes on the food and nothing but the food, so help me God).
Thankfully, this epic battle between man and dog is limited to the evening meal. Though Jerritt and I mostly emerge victorious from dinner with our tummies full and all twenty fingers still attached, we must admit defeat the remainder of the day when we are bullied by the kids to eat standing in the kitchen, hunched over the sink like Gollum nurturing our precious, precious food.
Here is a list of the most common human foods unsafe for dog consumption:
(This list gets longer every year and is hard to keep up with. It is best to limit people food to only the occasional small scrap if your dog must share your meal. And, as always, keep your local emergency vet number handy.)
-Xylitol (found in gum and candy)
-Large amounts of onions and garlic (small amounts of garlic are used in manufactured dog foods and treats and are unlikely harmful)