• Ask Stanley - Food for Thought

Food for thought….

Dear Stanley,

I get fed once my folks have had their dinner at night, but they take forever to finish the meal and my tummy is always rumbling by the time my kibble is dished up. Is there any way I can hurry them up?

Billy the Bulldog

Dear Billy,

I know your problem, and I especially noticed this at Christmas. I’d heard Monica say that I was going to have my own personal festive dinner, with turkey, chipolatas, sprouts and all the trimmings, and all served up in my brand new doggie bowl that Santa had brought for me that very morning. As you can imagine, I got very excited, waddling my back end energetically at the prospect. And even when she looked down at me and said, “Good dog, Stanley, you can have your dinner as soon as we’ve finished ours” I assumed that they wouldn’t take long to polish off their festive feast. But how wrong could I be?

Now it was late afternoon, with the darkness beginning to descend on the village of Cartmel when my folks and a couple of pals settled down at the table and Colin started dishing out the slices of turkey that he’d just carved (‘slices’ might be an over exaggeration, to be truthful, as they were more like chunks, but as you may know, his manual skills are not as well developed as his so-called intellectual ones.) “Right” thought I, “estimated time of arrival of meat and two veg in my gullet, five minutes…” But, boy, was I wrong.

It took them a whole hour, yes a full sixty minutes to polish off what any self-respecting dog would wolf down in three-minutes-forty-seconds. And why did it take so long, I hear you ask? Because they never stopped talking, all the way through. Colin, who I suspect had drunk a little too much of the Christmas spirit, was prattling on about loads of things, including, I noticed “goodwill to all men”. “Well what about goodwill to all dogs?” thought I, who’d had nothing but some wrapping paper and a chew on one of Colin’s new socks since breakfast.

Anyway, when my feast was finally presented to me, I think I broke my own personal best time for devouring my dishful and was happily laid out, with a full tum, in front of the fire before they’d finished loading the dishwasher (on several occasions I have actually volunteered to personally lick all the plates clean after a meal so as to save them having to use the dishwasher, but for some reason they have repeatedly refused my generous offer).

So, anyway Billy – I did discuss your problem with my pals in the park and one suggestion was that you join in the conversation that seems to be the root cause of the slow eating rate. So, if you whine regularly while they’re prattling on over their potatoes, they’ll be inclined to shut you up by bringing forward your scheduled dish of kibble. Oh, and in between whines, rest your head on one of their knees and look up into their eyes with that ‘poor little starving doggy look’ that we’re all so good at – apparently, that works for my friend Barkley, so give it a try. And let me know how you get on.

Yours as ever,

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