Introduction: How to Get Your Owners to Feed You
Hi! I'm Molly, a pure-bred beagle. I belong to finton and his wife.
You wouldn't know it from looking at me*, but sometimes I have difficulty explaining that it is dinnertime and I'd like to be fed. Over the last 13 years I've developed some step-by-step techniques to achieve this end that I'd like to share with you**.
*Hey my weight's a medical condition alright?! Probably hypothyroidism or Cushing's syndrome, or something scientific like that. Certainly not lack of sleep...
**Yes, yes, obviously I can't type: finton is kindly doing this for me. I'm a dog, duh.
Step 1: Be Subtle to Start With.
Heaven knows that even my best friends would not call me a mooch* ... oh wait, yes they do ... forget that.
A subtle approach is sitting in the lounge, on the carpet where it's comfy on one's bum, gazing non-moochingly into the kitchen in the direction of one's food bowl. This may take awhile as one's owners cannot see you here while they're selfishly glued to that black window-like thing.
No worries: early days yet. Just stare them in the eye whenever they finally move to feed their own faces.
* Mooch as in "to beg"
Step 2: Be More Obvious.
Move nearer to the kitchen. If this does not work immediately, one should try looking towards one's owners' direction in case they sneak past on the way to the toilet or something.
Notice the fallen cardboard box: this was an early, unsuccessful, attempt at Step 5.
Step 3: Be Even More Obvious.
One may have to get in their way and break a cardinal finton rule - no dogs in the kitchen. Note the three stages here:
1 An alert pose showing that one is expecting results and is on the lookout.
2 A passive-aggressive "OK. I've officially died of hunger".
3 "I am so cute". This rarely fails to get a yummy tummy rub, and in combination with one's position and blatant rule breaking should be clear indication of the "need for feed". Sure, you're being a hussy, but what's more important: food or pride?
Of course, all this is pointless if one's owners are still glued to that mindless thing they stare at for so long.
Step 4: Make Your Presence Known.
If subtlety is not one's owners' strong suit (Mrs finton can confirm this on finton's behalf), try making a stronger point by lying on the couch while pretending to be only looking in their direction by chance*. If this fails, one should move over and rest one's head on a handy thigh. Drool is useful here as it escalates the point.
Do not whine at this point! One may get a clip around the ear.
*This is a variation on the "non-mooch" approach to begging for tidbits.
Step 5: Be Annoying.
Time to escalate things! There are two main options, either used separately or together:
1 Dig at things. In this case I am "digging" at one of my bone-eating-towels*.
2 Nudge things, preferably so they fall off. In the photo I am messing with the firewood. Also see Step 2 for the stack of cardboard option.
This will earn one a growling, but like all bad behaviour will certainly get attention.
*See here in the Comments and Step 4 regarding the towel.
Step 6: Success! But Rub It In...
FINALLY! They got the hint*.
Don't dive in straight away. You got what you wanted but they have to learn their lesson.
Start with a woe-begone pause as if waiting for them to give you approval for the privilege of eating. Then dive in and scarf down the food as if it will be the last meal one'll get for days - which it probably will be, given how much they pay attention to one's needs.
If they are still watching, give another soulful look when you're finished just to push home the point.
Wash it all down with a good drink. If you drink enough, you'll be able to regurgitate it later, preferably on the carpet.
*Or, indeed, the fint. Ho, ho.
Step 7: Insist on the After-meal Treat You've Trained Them to Give You.
This may be a chew-stick or a bone.
This is when you whine. Sit in front of the black box thing so they can't miss you, and make REALLY ANNOYING noises. They'll do it just to shut you up so they can continue staring without interruption.
Of course, you can always mess with their minds by moving the bloody bone closer to the edge of the bone-eating-towel until they fear for their carpet and get off their bums to shift you back (hee, hee :] ).
Step 8: Take a Well-earned Break.
The routine has been completed, one is replete, there is nothing further to mooch for: curl up and be a good little doggy.
Step 9: Addendum: a Variation for Other Situations.
A useful technique if one's owner is on the computer, again, is this:
Go upstairs into the office and lie patiently on the floor. Get up and go downstairs. Go in and out of the dog door a few times. Go upstairs and stare. Go downstairs and go in and out of the dog door a few times again. Go upstairs and stare in the direction of the route to the food bowl. Repeat until fed.
Step 10: A Sad Update
Next Thursday 19th March 2015 is Molly's 15th birthday. This is quite old for a beagle. We got her in 2000 when she was only three months old. She was the cutest puppy in the WORLD.
Getting a dog changes everything: You have to fence your yard and ensure gates are always closed; you have to be back each day, preferably within cooee of feeding time; you cannot just leave on holiday whenever you want; dog hair gets EVERYWHERE; you have to, or should, go for walks even when you don't want to; you leave food within reach at your peril; and so on.
In return you get a companion who is always glad to see you; quickly forgets when you were mad at her for some reason she can't fathom and loves you again anyway; and snuggles up with you as if it is the one thing in life she desires. You become part of life's wonderful dog owners' club.
Molly had a small operation two weekends ago to have another cancerous growth removed from her leg. Shortly after that, she started vomiting everything she ate, stopped eating and then stopped drinking. The blood tests showed pancreatitis. A young dog could get over that but Molly was not young.
One week before her birthday, on Thursday 12th March at 11.30 the vet came and we had to say goodbye to our little girl. Oh God. (tears) She died peacefully within seconds, on a beautiful day, on the deck she knew, and held by us.
We buried her under the big puriri tree in the back yard.