Saturday, September 5, 2009

September 5, 2009 - Heff, Foodie Wannabe


Heff is a very bright boy - scary-smart sometimes - and I am captivated watching what he learns and how he puts information together. He doesn't always get it right, but you can tell he's really thinking about things in that glossy little head.

He's figured out that "all food comes from the kitchen," so of course, it's his favorite room. The problem, at the moment, is that his sense of cause and effect is still a work in progress, and he's also come to the conclusion that "if it's in the kitchen, it must be good to eat." That part of the equation isn't working so well for him.

We did grocery shopping today and I bought an onion. Just one, not a bag. (I only buy them one at a time and for reasons I'm sure it would take a psychiatric research team years to figure out, I take an unreasonable and thoroughly irrational pride in finding a really GOOD one. You'd think I had to hunt and capture it in the wild myself. Cj quit asking years ago. She just beams back at me when I proudly hold up my "catch" and put it in the cart.) One fine, fat red onion. As we put stuff away (with intense puggy supervision, of course), I put the onion in the "root" basket, where the onions and potatoes live. Heff immediately ran to the basket, grabbed the edge with his paw and pulled it off the shelf. The little head went right down into the basket. Much sniffing. I said, "Heff, it's an onion. Dogs don't like onions, and they're not really good for you anyway." If he heard me at all, I got not so much as an ear-flick in acknowledgement. He poked at the onion with his paw, rolled it around in the basket, wuffed at it. He poked at it some more, until he got it rolled around to where he could reach the little knob of paper at the top, then he grabbed it, picked it up, and started to trot off WITH MY ONION!

The weight was a little much and he dropped it. He proceeded to pounce on it, roll it around, trying to pin it down and get hold of that "handle" again. Looked like a little black soccer player with a little purple soccer ball. He nudged it, tried to grab it with his paw, bit at it. Meanwhile, I'm torn between wanting to take it away from him while it was still fit to use, and fascinated watching him work so hard on it. When he finally settled down with it between his paws and looked like he'd decided to turn it into a chew toy, I took it back. For now, the onion is living on the counter, NOT in the basket.

So, a few hours pass. I feel a little peckish and need to do up some dishes anyway, so while I'm in the kitchen, I open a bag of chips. I nibble as I get stuff together and empty the clean stuff from the dishwasher, then I open the junk drawer for a clip for the top of the chip bag. This drawer has NEVER had food in it. It was designated the Junk Drawer the day we moved in and has remained so. Still, Heff is right there to watch. I pull out a binder clip for the bag, and there is another binder clip attached and it falls to the floor. Heff is on it like white on rice. Snaps it up and trots off with it. Finally, safely out of reach of the other dogs who might steal his prize (and whom, in actuality, couldn't care less about something that made a metallic "ting" as it hit the floor and does not smell like food of any kind), he drops it and studies it carefully, trying to figure out what kind of food it is and how does one go about eating it. Fortunately, I snagged it before he reached any conclusions on consuming it.

He still runs to check every time I open any kitchen drawer or cabinet. I've tried to gently explain that not every space contains food, that the pan drawer has and forever will have skillets, not food, and the baking dish cabinet has and forever will have baking pans. He listens to me, bright-eyed, ears perked, tail wagging and I know. He understands every word...and doesn't believe a one of them.

Just another day at the Shady Rest. Y'all take care now.

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