My name is Ruby, and I’m a seven-year-old golden retriever. I live in the countryside with two and a half humans, a poodle and a cat. I’m an agility dog by trade, and my hobbies are eating, swimming, chasing squirrels, swimming, digging holes, swimming and baiting the neighbour’s dogs. However, I’ve also been observing human behaviour for several years and consider myself to be something of an expert. In my blog, I’ll be exploring a few of the more bizarre problems dogs are likely to encounter with their humans, and proposing some solutions. Please feel free to contact me if you need advice.

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Food Bowl Aggression

March 11, 2014  •  2 Comments

 

My humans were obviously not well-trained when they were young, because they’re pathologically unable to share their food. If I even think of approaching their bowls, they become extremely aggressive, and if I manage to snatch something, it’s like Armageddon. Still, I’ve always felt stealing is worth the risk because their food is so much better than the dehydrated dust nuggets they serve for us. But there was an unpleasant incident this week that nearly changed my mind.

The humans must have been especially distracted that evening, because not only was I left alone in the kitchen – something that’s never happened before – but there was also a nice bowl of grapes on the table. Needless to say, the humans had barely left the room when I was up there, gulping down fruit like a canine disposal unit. I just had time to empty the bowl before they came back. I thought I’d better cower in the corner for a while, in case they started exhibiting signs of human rage syndrome, but to my surprise they didn’t. They simply made their dinner, sat down and started chatting as though things were normal. I actually began to relax.

Then the female human spotted the empty fruit dish and went very still. “Who ate the grapes?” she said, in the hushed, serious voice that never bodes well for dogs. The male human shrugged and kept shovelling down his dinner. Suddenly, the female leaped out of her chair and began wailing. “It must have been Ruby! We have to do something!”

Next thing I know, I’m flat on my back and she’s prying open my mouth, pouring liquid down my throat. I fought her off and spat it out. She glared at me. “You have to drink it,” she said. To be honest, it didn’t taste all that bad, and since my choice seemed to be either a full-blown bout of human rage or drinking the liquid, it seemed like a no-brainer to me. I lapped the liquid obediently off the floor, and we all sat staring at one another.

“What is it?” said the male human.

“It’s peroxide. It will make her throw up,” said the female.

This was news to me. I didn’t feel sick at all, but pretended to gag for a while, just to calm her down. It obviously wasn’t enough. She grabbed the phone and called the vet.

This, I thought, is not going to be pleasant. And what an understatement that turned out to be. The human hung up the phone, snatched the salt shaker, and backed me into a corner. Once again, my mouth was pried open, and this time a large handful of salt was thrown down my throat. I didn’t even have to pretend to gag. The stuff was disgusting – dog only knows why humans put it on their food, it tastes worse than the soap they keep in the bathroom. I gagged and gagged, and eventually threw up a few grapes. A small scuffle ensued, as the human tried to grab them and I tried to eat them again. The human won. She always does.

Then she started counting and weighing the grapes.

“There were a lot more than this,” she said.

“Look,” said the male, “there are no teeth marks on them, and they’re still on the stalks. Shall I wash them and put them back in the bowl?” I think he was joking – although he might not have been, you never know with him. In any case, the female didn’t seem to think it was funny.

“I have to take Ruby to the vet,” she announced.

The vet! And I thought fruit was supposed to be good for you.

So off we went to the vet, where there was a lot of earnest conversation about intravenous drips and other tortures invented by humans for dogs. In the end, they settled on eye drops. I put up a decent struggle, but they managed to squirt some liquid into my eyes, enough, anyway, for them to let me go. We all sat staring at one another again.

“What will it do?” said my human.

“It will make her feel dizzy and throw up,” said the vet. “It always works.”

Well, it didn’t. Nothing happened – literally nothing. The human took me outside to walk around the car park for a while, and on the way back into the office I managed to grab a nice piece of rawhide from the store shelf and swallow it before the human could get at it. That’ll teach her to make such a fuss about a few grapes.

In the end they got fed up of waiting. The human handed over a bunch of money (she does that a lot) and took me home. I slept really well; it had been an exhausting evening. And in the morning, the rest of the grapes came out naturally – whole, of course, because there hadn’t been time to chew them. The humans seemed pleased to get their fruit back, and moved the bowl onto the top of the fridge.

Still, it was a worrying incident, by far their worst bout of food bowl aggression. Vomit-inducing liquid, handfuls of salt, and stuff squirted into my eyes – all for a kilo of grapes. I could understand them making a fuss about steak – but fruit? I think I’d better stay away from their bowls for a while, so as not to escalate matters, but eventually I’m going to have to tackle this issue again. They have to learn to share. I won’t tolerate aggression.

 


Comments

Jujube, Muscade et Flamme(non-registered)
Chère Ruby,

Nous sommes heureuse d'apprendre que ton expérience avec les raisins ait été sans conséquences fâcheuses....wouhou, nous connaissons ta maîtresse et malgré ses airs très calmes, elle a du être très très inquiète pour toi!!!! Si tu te promènes dans les sentiers de Guides Canins, nous te suggérons les plants de mûres. Elles sont délicieuses et non toxiques. Et la prochaine fois que tu voudras mettre tes maîtres dans tous leurs états, choisi au moins quelque chose de plus succulent; steak, poulet (poitrines désossées), filet de saumon, de truite......
Missy(non-registered)
Dear Ruby love your blog, I know exactly what you are talking about, my human is not much better, especially with the poop thing, she just can't keep her plastic bags away from my poop, it is mine is it not?
It is not too bad with the food hoarding, she always gives me the last little bit of whatever she is eating, she could give me more, but a bit is better than nothing.
BTW we do know each other, before I moved to Hamilton I went to Guides Canins just like you and we met up again at the last agility trial there. Congratulations on your fantastic runs and title. I don't think I will ever get that one as my human is a bit old and she does not run fast enough, but who knows.
Keep up your blog my Mama/human read it for me and I really enjoyed it.
Love Missy
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