Saturday, June 16, 2007

Feast Days of Summmer

Early summer and the smell of honeysuckle and the first roses in the air—and chicken bones everywhere in the city. Odd ones on the sidewalk and a plethora of crisp little bones everywhere in the park. This morning I found one near those two trees that have huge families of squirrels all year round. My owner begged and pleaded, and called my name in all kinds of voices ranging from baby talk to stern. Doesn’t she know the chicken bone rule? No dog is going to turn his back on chicken.

The first time I found a bone we were on some dreary sidewalk with very few smells. Suddenly my nose found this delicious little scent. Not like the sterile huge things I am given at home, bones that take months to chew. No this bone was tasty, still had some meat and gristle on it, and was very chewable. I had never tasted anything like it. It even had a light flavor of barbeque sauce. I will never forget that first time. And while I savored that bone, right there on the sidewalk, my owner did something she had never done before. This previously kind and loving person reached down and put her fingers in my mouth. She actually stole the bone. I was in shock. I was sniffing every crack in that sidewalk, trying to find that bone, when I looked up and saw her throw it into a tree where it stayed like a stubborn squirrel.

Those days are gone. I am not a mean dog. I am not a violent dog. But if I have a chicken bone in my mouth I will defend it. I will growl and snarl and even pretend to bite if I have to. Now I have trained my owner to leave me alone when I find some scrap of food. It’s true I am a little ADD and can be easily distracted. If I’ve put something down for a second and someone throws a ball or hints of a treat, I may look away long enough to have my found snack taken. But I am working on that.

As the days get warmer the park is like a buffet. All winter, with all that snow, I was lucky to find frozen goose poop and a jerky wrapper. Last week, on one short walk, I found some orange crackers under a bench, a hamburger wrapper, French fries with ketchup, and a chicken bone. The feast days of summer.

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