I’m not saying that Jellybean is a finicky eater, what I am saying is she wants what she wants when she wants it. A quick turn of the head away from her bowl and I respond with “What’s the matter my little butter bean, that’s not what you had in mind for dinner tonight?” A sigh and a flop to the floor with those dark soulful eyes looking up at me and I just melt. “Would you like a little cheese with that? Would a few pieces of shredded chicken interest you, my spoiled little puppy?” A full blown dismissal of her food, and I follow her around like a mother trying to convince her five-year old that spinach is the best thing since Barbie dolls. It wasn’t until Jellybean transitioned to the adult formula for her daily crunchy diet that I began to notice she no longer devoured her food. As a puppy, she was so excited to eat! She dove in, head fully submerged in her little pink bowl. Lately, however, that is not what I am seeing. It seems to be the addition of the special nugget in the food, made specifically for adult dogs, and guaranteed to deliver a powerful punch of nutrition that makes her turn her nose up. Dutifully she picks out every tiny ball of hard-packed nutrition and places it on the food mat beside her bowl. Sometimes by mistake she picks up one of the special nuggets along with the rest of her crunchy food. Rest assured, it will make another appearance. Skillfully, and without breaking the rhythm of her chewing, Jellybean spits the unwanted particle of food into the air. She ends meal time with a collection of skillfully arranged little, round nuggets lined up beside her bowl. She wants nothing to do with them, unless, as if by magic, they have been coated with a light film of peanut butter and placed inside one of her special bones. Finicky? I think not. Uninterested? Perhaps. Manipulative? You got it! I’m sure you have figured out by now that the great people manipulator has met the perfect puppy pleaser.
Dogs in general love to hide things. It is a natural canine instinct that has not been lost from their days of roaming in packs. If a dog came upon something to eat, it most likely had to compete with the other dogs in the pack. In order to keep the tasty morsel safe, the dog would bury it near the den, thus saving it for later. That being said, my puppy, Jellybean, by no means needs to fight to lay claim to her food or treats. She is regularly fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. Treat jars are placed strategically around the house, in the event she turns on the charm and performs one of her many tricks. A quick “roll over” is bound to earn her one of her favorite cheese flavored o’s. A “please and a thank you” (right paw, then left) most certainly is worthy of a few bits of doggie trail mix. During the evening when I am enjoying my favorite TV programs, she has learned that sitting precariously close to the edge of the couch, straight up on her haunches; feverishly pawing the air will result in the sharing of my snack of popcorn and goldfish crackers. However, it is the once daily crunchy bone treat that is worthy of hiding and savoring at a later time. Unlike most dogs, that hide their treats under things, behind things, or actually bury them, Jellybean hides her treat in full view. She spends much time considering the perfect “hiding” place, running up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms, whimpering in excitement as her big black eyes scan the endless possibilities. Finally, a spot is chosen. She carefully nudges the tasty morsel until it has been positioned perfectly on top of a sofa cushion, in front of the soft green chair, under the dining room table to name just a few. Then the waiting game begins. She lies in wait nearby, watching as life goes on all around her, making sure that no one disturbs her precious prize of the day.
She stares down the bone relentlessly, until suddenly, the temptation can no longer be denied. She feverishly pounces on it until nothing is left but a few tiny crumbs. Even those are quickly savored. Jellybean then prances off to find a toy or a quiet, sunny spot to nap, as she knows tomorrow is another day filled with opportunities to find the perfect hiding place.
Jellybean’s daily ritual with her treat inspired me to write my second children’s picture book titled The Perfect Hiding Place. The perfect title, don’t you think? It is also the perfect read for the young crowd. The Perfect Hiding Place is available at Amazon.com .
“Dogs got PERSONALITY. Personality goes a long way.” – Quentin Tarantino
“Better than all the gold in the world, better than diamonds, better than pearls, better than any material thing is the love of a dog and the joy that it brings.” – Laura Joworski
Personality? You betcha!
Joy? Oh my gosh yes!
Dig a little deeper into the word joy and up come the synonyms: amusement, cheer, delight, frolic, hilarity and liveliness. All apply to my little Jellybean and I am always looking for a photo op to share with friends and family that captures her playfulness and expressions. As I sit here and peruse through the hundreds of pictures I have taken of Jellybean over the last three years, I have chosen some of my favorites to share with you. I think you will agree that this puppy has personality and then some!