Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pet Rescue. That Pitiful Pup might be a Princess in Disguise

Sweet little faces tug at your heartstrings; you're a sucker for those Humane Society commercials. Well-meaning friends fill your inbox with emails about precious fur-babies in need. You can't stop by the local Pet SuperStore for fish gravel without crossing a line of rescuers and their adorably hopeful charges. So, sooner or later, you find yourself succumbing to a Rescue Pet. You sign the papers, get your free I Heart Rescue T-shirt and pat yourself on the back for your Good Deed.

No matter how many fuzzy children you've had in the past, your rescue will prove to be an enigma. You might have a sketchy idea about where he or she came from, and the abuse or neglect which possibly resulted in your new friend's listing as "Adoptable." But even if you know for a fact that your Brown Dog used to live with a chef until she got evicted from the condo complex for excessive barking while the chef was at work (and the chef's wife didn't like her much, anyway...) you cannot know the true impact this will have on your life. Until you fix her dinner.

The Native Dogs are excited by the sound of kibbles in the plastic bowls. The Brown Dog looks sad, and slinks off to the sun porch. You cut her slack, since she has had a trying day.

As have you. You pop a top, and open a can of smoked almonds. The Brown Dog suddenly sidles up to you. Gentle paw on your knee. You eat an almond, she yaps. Looks shyly sideways, then at the can. What could it hurt? You hand her an almond, she crunches, again, the paw. Who can resist those pitiful brown eyes? You share almonds, and the tiniest bond.

Kibbles are again soundly rejected at breakfast. Worrying that the Brown Dog will starve, you ratchet up the offerings. A scrambled egg. OK, a bite...and that pitiful face. Maybe if you add some Parmesan cheese? Another bite. You think there might be a little Roaring Forties Blue in the back of the cheese drawer - aha! Success! Egg and cheese are history.

Roaring Forties Blue is nearly $20 a pound. And you have to drive ten miles to get it.

Off to the grocery store. 5 cans of assorted premium canned dog food. A bag of cabbage, a tomato and a red pepper for a salad. And an out-of-season, very expensive cauliflower for dinner.

Dog dinner time, day 2. Native dogs enjoy kibbles. The Brown Dog, eyes downcast, tail sagging, looks sadder than ever and slinks away again. Dissolves in a miserable heap on the sun porch.


You start preparing dinner, and retrieve the cauliflower from the fridge. You unwrap it, TBD sniffs the air. Trots, tail up, ears up, into the kitchen. Sits pretty. Yaps. Dances on her hind legs. Shakes with excitement.

You shake your head, wash the cauliflower, and toss her a floret; she devours it. You ask, "Do you like cauliflower?" She yaps again. Another chunk, and you swear she's smiling. Native dogs come in to see what is going on. You throw them florets; they look at you like you threw them rocks; but they eat them because it is clear TBD wants to take them away. Pretty soon 4 dogs are yapping for cauliflower.

You learn quickly that TBD will eat kibbles with pureed Parmesan cauliflower, stir-fried broccoli, stewed cabbage or any other cruciferous vegetable. A little artisanal (and horrendously expensive) cheese (Kraft Blue Crumbles don't count) goes a long way to increasing the palatability of ultra premium pet food. She will also eat eggs and kibbles, as long as you spray them with that truffle oil you got for Christmas. Dog biscuits, probably not...almond biscotti is OK, though.

You know, you don't know much about her history. But, maybe, her coat is better described as "gold" than brown.

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