Buckaroo’s Guide to Holiday Dining for Dogs
We are quickly approaching my favorite time of the year: the howlidays, also known as Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Counter, and a few weeks later Santa Paws.
In my pack, we are all experienced in the canine art of persuasion and food-sneaking during the howlidays. Wookie is especially agile in the quick-grab-it-and-run technique. This year the youngest member of the pack, Keen, who is one year old, is now able to participate. We have been reviewing our tactics with him and of course my advice on all things human.
Mission: Acquire Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Counter
One genius Aussie’s steps for planning and execution:
- The smells in the kitchen will drive any dog to a kind of sensory-overload intoxication.
- It’s important not to blow your cover, act normal, mosey around the humans, remind them of how wonderful you are, while you plot the heist.
- Although I’ve heard tell that a lone black labrador retriever can single-handedly abscond with a 20 pound fully cooked* bird, in my pack everyone has specific assignments.
- Identify the most susceptible human in the house. In our house that is Peter. The first prong of our efficient operation is to hone in on him. This falls to me, the schmoozer, gazing up at him with adoring eyes as he fusses over the stove. I can add the I-am-so-hungry-I-may-die expression if need be. Inevitably he will respond with some sort of food offering: a dollop of mashed potatoes, a spoon of corn pudding, a sliver of Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Counter.
- In this stage of the operation, it’s important that I don’t leave Peter alone. I pick a spot near the sink to lie down and watch him. In this way, he has to maneuver around me, as I am 70 pounds of dog, and my sheer body can be a distraction in size and scope.
- When the humans have carved the Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Counter, and retreated to the dining table, then the other pack members slowly slink into the kitchen, nonchalant, nothing that would alert the humans.
- We hear the yum-yum noises the humans make when they are eating. Crockett stands guard between the dining room table and the counter, watching the humans, gauging how long it will take them to finish their meal. He gives us the signal.
- That’s when we know…it’s time to bring in the stealth dog for the heist.
- That would be Wookie. She cages the joint, measures speed and distance of Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Counter, does her calculations.
In one agile and almost soundless execution, she stands up, puts her paws on the counter, and reaches for the bird. It is important to get the whole bird, not just a slice because, well, we are a pack. One for all, and all for one.
- We have yet to figure out how to get the bird without also dragging the platter it sits on, so as the bird and platter come to the edge of the counter it falls on Thunderbear, the tallest one, to knock the bird and platter to the floor.
- This part is really important: you have to be fast, I mean lightning fast, to eat as much as you can (and avoid the bones!) because the humans are running towards you yelling, “Leave it! Leave it!”
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned Kemosabe, the elder statesman of the pack. He does not participate in our thefts. He has a different tactic. He plays the good dog, lying in the doorway of the kitchen, just waiting. You see his technique is to lick the plates, which are offered to him by the humans for being “such a good boy.” The rest of us, however, have already been sent outside post-heist, and now Kemosabe can stroll through the kitchen without us, and enjoy cleaning the floor of the myriad Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Floor remnants.
Humans during the howlidays:
Humans are perhaps the easiest mammal to manipulate. Cats of course are the hardest. Humans are the most susceptible to canine persuasion around the howlidays.
*I am starving: Works only if you don’t have Nurse Ratched in the house. In that case, it doesn’t work at all. However, pretending to lie listlessly on the floor generally elicits a quick human response and sometimes a piece of turkey.
* Seek out the little humans: The ones that are two feet high and have gooey fingers you can lick. They will share their food with you, especially when they are not looking.
*I worship the ground you walk on: Includes eyes looking up at the human, tail wagging, butt wiggling, and an adoring countenance. It is important not to drool, or fart, and don’t be distracted by the smirking cat. The adoring countenance is a sure way to get a food reward and puts the human in a pleasant mood if you should decide to investigate the contents of the kitchen garbage can.
*Stay clean: A good roll in fresh manure or aged carcass is a wonderful tonic, but not around the howlidays. Humans can get pretty testy and on edge about rank odors, particularly as they get ready to serve the feast. Cruising into the kitchen bathed in Eau de Dead Animal will not get you a serving of Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Counter, or some of the sweet potato pie. Ask me how I know.
Sharing is an important ethos of Thanksgiving. So remember, when you sneak a morsel of Fat-Cooked-Bird-On-Counter or nibble a bit of pumpkin pie, be thankful to your human for providing the feast. And then worship the ground they walk on for good measure.
*Dogs should not consume cooked poultry bones.
For tips about what Thanksgiving foods that dogs CAN share, click here!