Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A bowl-ed over Doodlebug

When we adopted Darby a few weeks after the death of our beloved sheltie, St. Bosco, we did what most pet owners do and repurposed as many of Bosco’s supplies as we could, including his food and water bowls. No point in buying a whole bunch of new stuff, right? The Doodlebug was small and everything he inherited was in great shape. Yes, he did try to go swimming in the water bowl…twice, if memory serves me correctly, but other than that, it was all good.

It wasn’t until a few years later that we noticed that perhaps Darby had outgrown his kibble dish. Although he grew to be almost the same size as our (supersized) sheltie, there is an obvious difference between the delicate, tapered muzzle of St. Bosco and the larger, squarer jaw line of the Doodlebug, particularly in regards to how well they navigate the inner regions of the dish in question. In the end the food is always eaten, so any discussion that maybe Doodle needed something better suited to his size seemed to vanish almost as quickly as his dinner. Until this weekend.
Darby's dirty dog dish.

As I caught sight of Darby retrieving his dinner from his dish, I called out to my husband.

“Dude, have you seen the way Darby’s eating? It’s like he can’t get his whole mouth in the bowl, so he’s using his lower jaw like a scoop while his nose hangs over the edge on the outside. I think his bowl is too small for him.”

“So,” he asked, “You want to buy him a new bowl?”

“No, I don’t think we have to buy something else. There’s got to be something here that will work. I just think he needs something that has a wider opening so he can eat more comfortably. What if we try one of the Fiestaware bowls? We’ve got bunches of those.”

And we do. Years ago, after I finally got the Fiestaware I’d been dreaming of for ages, my mother asked if there were items I was missing that she could get me for Christmas. Somehow “serving bowls” got translated to “cereal bowls” and I now have three times as many cereal bowls as I do anything else in Fiestaware-land. But I digress.

“Yeah, that should work,” he agreed. “I’ll change it out tomorrow.”

On Sunday, the spouse was as good as his word. When it came time for Darby’s afternoon kibs, he removed the old dish and served up Doodle’s meal in one of the more comfortable Fiestaware bowls.

New bowl for Doodle!

Darby walked over, looked at the bowl, smelled the food, then stepped back and looked at “Dad.”

Bowl. Dad. Bowl. Dad.

The Doodle slowly walked around the legs of the table next to his feeding area and came back to his new dish.

Bowl. Dad. Bowl. Dad.

It was during his second trip around the table that I flashed on what he was telling us.

I am not touching that bowl. Even though I know that’s my dinner in there, I.am.not.touching.it. That’s the ‘you better stay out of the people food’ bowl that keeps the food I’m not supposed to eat. Even if the food smells good and I can reach it, it’s still the ‘no-no shamey-shamey’ bowl and I don’t get to eat it. You think you’re going to trick me by putting my food in your people bowl, but even though I’m hungry I will not touch that bowl. I am not shamey-shamey-baddog.”

So complete was my surprise at my incredible miscalculation, all I could do was laugh as my husband gathered up the “new” dish and dumped Darby’s kibs into the older, smaller model.

The Doodlebug finally got his meal, and I got a little reminder that no matter how dorky he acts on the outside, the wheels are always turning on the inside.


Laurie Kessler said...

I find this interesting. I know cats are finicky when their food is changed, but I can't see a cat getting upset over the bowl design, shape, or texture. In fact, we just purchased a new stainless steel bowl with a rubber bottom so that it won't slide when our cats eat the dry food out of it. Sooo.......curious that a dog would get upset. Esp when the bowl was way to small for him. Oh well....hope his jaw doesn't get contorted after several months of eating like this. ;-/

Brian said...

Hey, I completely understand! We don't even like it if your bowls are not precisely in the right place!

Pamela said...

I love it. Although I've never had a dog who cared what we fed her in as long as we fed her. Maybe that comes from using dogs as dishwashers (at least the food scraping cycle).

Honey eats out of a food toy (Premier tug-a-jug). She likes to take it in her mouth to the foyer. She won't eat in the living room or the kitchen. She's gotta be right in front of the door.

I only eat cereal and soup with a small spoon and like to use glass plates instead of ceramic plates for salad. So I guess we're not all that different after all.

Vicky said...

Laurie, I think the issue is that we've spent so much time teaching Darby that the dishes holding the "people food" (for lack of a better term) are a big no-no, since I want to be able to turn my back on my plate every once in a while. If the bowl we picked didn't look just like the ones we've spent years telling him not to touch I'm sure it would have been fine. And no worries about his jaw, since he's been eating like this for years.

My cats have never been under the impression that there's anything in the world off-limits, so what they eat from doesn't bother them in the least. In their mind, it's all theirs, regardless.

Beyond the Dog Dish said...

Oh my... what a cute story!! Now Kodee would be just like this. Becky? Ha, if its food its going down no matter where its served!

Vicky said...

Seriously, I don't think I've ever had an animal as persnickety as Darby in regards to his food, treats and general situation. He is undoubtedly one of a kind.

Marg said...

Well Darby just liked his own bowl and thought it was really wrong that you tried to give him a new one.Maybe he likes to eat that way and he couldn't do that in the new bowl. We all have our strange ways of eating. Great story. Take care.

Random Felines said...

OMC - that is too funny.... it is strange sometimes to watch the wheels turn in their fuzzy heads - sometimes I think I would like to know what they are thinking and other times I suspect it would scare me to know... ;)

Lori @ According to Gus said...

Seriously, I think Darby and Gus are long-lost brothers. They are SO similar!

P.S. I'm still chuckling over the fact that you have a gazillion cereal bowls. ;)


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