by M. J. Joachim
I don’t know if all beagles are like this, but Shadow lives for food! It’s not about an internal clock at feeding time. It’s about making sure he gets his share whenever food is anywhere in the vicinity.
Shadow was a rescue dog. My daughter found him at the pound and saved him from being put down a few years back. His story is one of survival. It is guessed that he wandered the streets for a year or more, before being picked up and kenneled. His chip no longer valid, no way to track down his previous owners, Shadow was facing a very drastic end.
I often wonder what it must have been like when Shadow walked those streets alone. He still reacts to sirens in a most peculiar way. Almost sympathetic, sometimes they make him let out a lone, solitary howl, as if to say he hopes no one is hurt. Other times he cowers, bothered by their high pitch.
Feeding time is always full of energy, as Shadow start dancing and prancing, going in and out of the kitchen, coming back to me as if to say, “What’s a minute early going to hurt? Please, feed me. I might not get another meal!”
He knows he will though, especially in this house, and treats too! Still, he paces until he gets fed. Never satisfied, Shadow watches Luna closely as she stares at her food, prissy eater that she is. She plays the game, tormenting him after he’s gobbled up all his kibble in record time. She eats a few bites, goes to get a drink of water, races outside to chase a cat, Shadow quickly following her lead. He saunters back in, looking at her bowl still half full of food, waiting, always waiting.
We look at Shadow and say, “Don’t you dare!” He slowly backs up and pouts, never wanting to displease us, but sometimes letting his drive for food get the best of him. Luna has gone hungry once or twice this way. She’s learning to eat at feeding time or face the consequences of us picking up her bowl or Shadow eating what’s inside it instead. Their interaction and communication during feeding time is quite the sight to see.
I’ve worked hard to get Shadow to calm down at feeding time. I tell him, “Sit like a gentleman.” He sits so I can put his bowl on the floor. Sometimes all I have to do is look at him to get him to sit. We’ve come a long way from him jumping up and knocking the bowl from my hands, scrambling to get each and every kibble piece, shyly looking up at me to see if I am mad.
It’s kind of hard to get mad at an animal who survived a year on the streets and lived from one meal to the next, so we worked things out the best we could, because Shadow lives for food!
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