2017-10-11 / Columns


‘They’ll eat it if they get hungry enough’
Ledger Publisher

If you’re a man and your wife goes out of town with her girlfriends, how do you handle it?

For me, it helps tremendously that our daughter Abbie still lives with us.

No, she doesn’t cook supper, but she does pick up takeout.

And she takes care of the animals.

That’s a huge burden.

They have to be fed twice a day. They have to be given their medicine. They have to be ‘let out.’

Toby gets some kind of arthritis medicine and Ella gets something like Zyrtec for her allergies.

Back in the day, giving an animal any kind of pill was an exercise in futility. You had to prompt them to open their mouth, force the pill in and then clamp their muzzle shut with both hands until they swallowed, sometimes rubbing their throats to facilitate the swallow.

Now, they — ours at least — delight in taking their medicine. Some ingenious person came up with tasty treats in which to wrap the pills.

When the dogs see the box come out, they dance around with eager anticipation.

They like these things so much Abbie puts them in with their food when they won’t eat.

That only happens when they don’t get wet food mixed in with the dry.

Our dogs have been spoiled. I believe that giving the dry food is good enough.

“But they won’t eat it,” I’m told.

“They’ll eat it if they get hungry enough,” I reply.

But since the wife (and the daughter in her stead) handle the feeding, I don’t argue.

But when it’s just me home alone, they get the dry food and the dry food only.

I do, however, make sure the water bowl is full.

I think they probably get too much food anyway. Ella especially. My ‘pet’ name for her is “Elly Belly.”

And sometimes they have to be coaxed to come and get it. Sherry and Abbie both will call them with their sweetest, kindest tones.

“Want to eat? Dinner’s ready. Come on baby!”

When I’m called to dinner, they holler, “CODY, dinner’s ready!”

They treat our dogs in the same manner when trying to get them to go outside and do their business. Sometimes they even coerce them with a slice of cheese.

“Want some cheese?”

Abbie also looks out for my welfare.

For instance, Sunday afternoon when the weather turned nasty with tornado warnings all over the place, I went out on the front porch to see what I could see.

‘DAAAADY, please come back in. They said you might not be able to see or hear a tornado coming because of the heavy rain!”

I stayed out, eager to observe any funnel clouds that might appear.

She persisted. And persisted. Finally I acquiesced to her pleadings.

She’ll probably be the one to take my keys away when the time comes.

Abbie also tidies up the kitchen when Mom’s away. Sherry always fusses at me for bringing 3 or 4 coffee cups in at one time. I take a cup every morning on the way to work. Sometimes, I leave them in the back floorboard of my truck and only remember to bring them in when they start clanking around.

Monday, I brought four in and left them in the sink.

They were gone (in the dishwasher I suppose) the next morning. I was not reprimanded. I was not chastised. Not a word was said. Abbie must have heard Sherry’s last words as she headed out Sunday morning: “Don’t mess up my kitchen!”

All in all, though, I’d have to say both my girls treat me pretty good, almost like a dog!

What am I grateful for? Aside from my own great life, you mean? I’m just grateful that my wife, and daughter, and dogs are all healthy. — Richard Belzer

Cody Sossamon (cody@gaffneyledger.com) is publisher of The Gaffney Ledger.

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