Sneaking food and avoiding zombies

I caught myself sneaking food today.

I’m an adult and act like one (most of the time, some of the time) so I can eat whatever I damn well want!  I’m not on a diet, I don’t have health restrictions, and I don’t snack on junk food during the day.  I don’t drink sodas  (takes too much room otherwise reserved for wine), I don’t eat sweets (although an Oatmeal cookie would be REAL good right now.  I weigh exactly what I did the day I graduated from high school and I exercise regularly.

So why would I need to sneak food from my own pantry?

Yep – Kali.

Kali gets her two healthy meals a day and always gets her’s before I get mine.  In the morning I feed her as soon as we get up and during the afternoon/evening she gets her dinner well in advance of when Holly and I sit down for our meal.  She gets a healthy dose of treats on our walks and good behavior is reinforced throughout the day for following the rules, and for being so darn golden.  Yes, it’s a “dog’s life” alright!

Yet today I caught myself sneaking food.  I didn’t want Kali to see me because I feel guilty when her big brown eyes lock onto to the food I have following it all the way up and into my mouth.  Anything in a package or box will tip her off that food is in play and she comes running.  Kali is highly food motivated (understatement of the millennium ) which on one hand has made her very trainable but on the other hand can sometimes be a pain in the palate.

So today I snuck food.  I had been working in my office all afternoon and needed a quick snack.  I come down downstairs and see Kali sleeping at the foot of the stairs.

I walk by her like I’m walking through a graveyard full of sleeping zombies.

I make my way to the pantry and fridge and need to make a quick decision about what to grab for a snack.  The refrigerator door opening is like a siren that will surely wake sleeping flesh-eating zombies and I could be doomed.  Too risky!  OK then, the pantry. Perfect.  I see some almonds in handful portions right in front of me.  I love almonds even when they don’t have all the yummy salt stuff you usually get at the bar.  While high in caloric content they are also high in protein and work good to fill you up.  A healthy and calorically economical snack that can bridge the rest of the afternoon in my office to wine time on the patio a few hours later.

There’s one problem.  The almonds are packaged in little crunchy plastic bags that make a lot of noise when you open them.  I have to be very careful or the Zombies will hear the crunching of the packaging or at the least feel the vibrations rippling through the kitchen.  So with surgical-like precision I select a bag and ever so gingerly place it in my pocket.  I’m thinking that once I get back up stairs I may need to hide in my closet, open the bag there, and eat the almonds so the flesh-eating Zombie named Kali won’t be woken up from out of the sleeping dead trance induced by the long walk in the very warm sun earlier in the day.

With my strategy set, and feeling rather smug, I head out of the pantry towards the stairs.  I turn around and there’s the Zombie – looking me straight in the eye.  The big beautiful brown-eyed Zombie staring up at me with (seriously – I saw it) a thought bubble over her head that says, “You try to whistle by THIS graveyard?  Give me the Almonds or I will eat you”.  “But Kali”, I say, “these are my almonds.  You’ve had breakfast, a walk with plenty of training treats, and a biscuit or two since.  I’ve been sequestered in my office for several hours and I need some nourishment;  a little something’ – something’ to hold me over until wine time.  These are my almonds.”

So, a stand off.  Me, a pack of almonds, and a Zombie dog.  I realize if there is one Zombie in the house there may be more.  So even if I have delusions of getting past the Zombie Kali there are likely several more – maybe hundreds – upstairs hiding in my closet or worse, under the bed.  Yikes!  This situation now called for some quick thinking.

Yes, this is why humans are superior.  Because we can rationalize, theorize, and plan.  I quickly realized I have none of those qualities so I resort to another human quality: panic.  Panic can be a great motivator.

So without even a conscious thought I found myself scrambling to find a Kong.  I grab one and quickly fill it with peanut butter covered biscuits.  No time to cut up apples or carrots, just the biscuits and a slathering of peanut butter.  I prayed this would appease the Zombie leader they call The Golden Kali.  I offered her the Kong.  She looks at my pocket as though she has ex-ray vision knowing there is a bag of almonds in it.  The thought bubble reappears this time with a rather lengthy dissertation, “Do I let this human get away with his feable attempt at deception?  I should not! and will not! After all I am a Zombie and if I fight to the death the worst thing that happens to me is… well I die. But I’m a Zombie so I then immediately resurrect – pretty cool, right?  Other than the daylight thing it’s not so bad being a Zombie.  BUT, I so love peanut butter.  I really love the peanut butter,  I really do…”

Kali takes the Kong from my hand and slithers off to the foot of the stairs, drooling, and licking.  I should make her go back to the kitchen where there is no carpet so the drool is less of an issue.  I’m dumb but I’m not stupid and I’m not gonna push my luck with a Zombie.

I carefully walk by Zombie Kali, head up stairs, and hope she has somehow called off the other walking dead that are surely hidden in the closet and ceiling of my office.  I very gently open the pack of almonds, chew quietly, and thank God I have lived to fight (sneak food!!) another day.

Give me the Almonds and i may spare your life

Give me the Almonds and i may spare your life

Kong

Kali absolutely loves her Kong toy.  Or does she?

Dogs do seem to love the Kong toy but mostly I think they love the food stuff we put in the Kong.  Kali gets so excited when she sees me take her Kong out of her toy box.  She dances with delight and anticipation of what is usually a mix of apples, carrots, and maybe a couple of biscuits all smothered with doggie peanut butter.  She watches me prepare the Kong and drools like a Pavlovian Pit Bull. When I finally hand her the Kong she gingerly takes it from my hand with eyes darting to and fro looking for the ideal spot to enjoy the tightly packed feast.

She usually picks the mat in the kitchen or the foot of the stairs to begin her work.  If I’ve moved upstairs to my office she may join me after a while to show me her handy work and finish the job.  Sometimes I’ll put her outside to enjoy the treat in order to avoid saliva and peanut butter getting on the carpet.  I don’t think she really cares where she eats so long as she gets to!

I have to admit I feel a little guilty at times watching Kali feverishly exercise her tongue trying to get out the treats.  Is it heaven for her or a cruel reminder that she lacks opposable thumbs?  It’s not often that we don’t get our daily walk in but there are times when I’m too busy and instead Kali gets the Kong.  This seems a bit like a parent plopping their toddler in front of the TV with a DVD instead of engaging them in stimulating play-time.  Maybe it’s just me over thinking things….

Here is what Kong says about their product:

  • Keeps dogs occupied and mentally stimulated for hours
  • Requires skill and persistence to get to the treats
  • The unpredictable bounce has been known to cause spontaneous eruptions of playtime fun

Seems reasonable.  It does keep Kali occupied for about 30 minutes (but not hours) or longer depending on how sinister I felt when packing the treats in.  Her persistence is quite remarkable and I’m convinced that even without a skillful tongue Kali would never leave a morsel uneaten even if it was packed inside with glue instead of peanut butter.  As for the spontaneous eruption of playtime fun, well that’s just not Kali.  She is very predictable and not very spontaneous – a lot like me I guess.

So to ease my guilt I turned to the source of all wisdom and truth:  the internet.   A quick Google search on Kong Toy returned about 24,800,000 results (in 0.75 seconds!).  I passed over the sponsored ads and clicked on “How to Stuff a KONG Toy | ASPCA”  and here is what the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says about the Kong:

Why Give Your Dog a KONG (according to the ASPCA)?

“Nature made dogs to hunt, forage, scavenge and work for their food—not have it delivered for free in a bowl! One reason dogs develop behavior problems is sheer boredom, resulting from a lack of physical exercise, problem solving and outdoor exploration and investigation. To make your dog’s life more enjoyable, you can give to  fun “work” to do when he’s home alone or when you can’t play with him.  Food puzzle toys give dogs a chance to work for their food. “

(By the way, if you don’t already have an inkling of how to stuff a Kong Toy then maybe….)

So the statement by the ASPCA did help me a bit but I still wondered if Kali really enjoys quality time with her Kong. So I turned to the expert on Kali which of course is Kali herself.

Me:  Kali do you like hunting, foraging, and scavenging for food.

Kali: Woof!  Translation:  Dad, for all you know as a stray I may have spent the better part of my life hunting, foraging, and scavenging for food.  What do you think?

Me:  Oh, well I guess that makes sense.  How insensitive of me.  Ok then, how do you feel about work?  Do you like working for your food?  It’s more like play really, so you know “fun” work.

Kali:  Woof (with a slight growl on the end).  Translation:  I’m not an Australian Cattle Dog.  I’m a Golden Retriever.  I’m part of the Sporting Group of dogs.  I’m intelligent, friendly, and devoted.  Do you see anything about work in there?  Place my food in my bowl as I have trained you please and I will remain forever friendly and devoted.

So after my “scientific” research, soul-searching, and guilt-laden conclusion that I’m somehow responsible for Kali’s lack of opposable thumbs will I continue to give her a treat filled Kong toy?

Of course I will!  She absolutely loves it!

Who needs opposable thumbs?  I absolutely love this Kong toy!

Who needs opposable thumbs? I absolutely love this Kong toy!