When we ran out of growlies on a recent trip to Nanaimo, I was close to crying like a hungry puppy. In case you humans don’t know—you all seem so plump and powerful, after all—it doesn’t take long for hunger to hurt. You can’t think about anything else.
Now, humans, for those K9s who have never yet observed it, are incredible hunters. They have cleverly built huge buildings where they accomplish their hunting in no time flat. Unfortunatelly K9s are not allowed in; so I’ve never been sure how the hunt is arranged. From where I usually am stationed, on a leash tied to whatever, I can see rows and rows of boxes and bins of foods that don’t run away, like spinach. The animals must be in another part. Pack Leader always emerges hugging several bags containing gift-wrapped bits of whatever she’s hunted down. She passes each package under my nose for approval. Not infrequently, she’s brought down a chicken, a cow, a pig, and a bison—all in an hour, not to mention robbing several nests for eggs.
Not this time. Pack Leader emerged empty-pawed. “Major, my love, you are one of millions of Puppies of the Corn.”
She unhooked my leash. “There are nine brands of dog food in there, and for once I read the ingredients. Do you know what the first and largest ingredient is on every one of those bags? Corn! They want a wolf like you to live on corn!”
I have been known to turn up my nose at corn on the cob, hot butter or no butter.
“It’s probably GMO corn!” Pack Leader’s blood was up. “With artificial flavor and color, no doubt—how would I know what’s in there?”
The doors of the food emporium opened next to me, I caught a whiff of the possibilities, and dashed through the door, straight for the aisle where I’d glimpsed Pack Leader. Sure enough: enough dog food to last a wolf pack several winters, in tidy piles. I began salivating enough to drown a gopher in its hole.
Pack Leader was hot on my tail. “How am I supposed to feed this fake farrago to a self-respecting wolfdog?” she cried aloud to two startled shoppers pawing over the cat food.
“A wolf!” they screamed, and backed away.
I threw them a disdainful look. You’re too old and stringy, I thought at them, and besides, I don’t eat people. Top of the food chain—mystery meat. Hmmm…maybe catfood is better?
“I checked already. It’s the same stuff.” Pack Leader poked at the best-smelling dog-food bag. “Look at that—three bucks a kilo. Why not wait till we visit the vet and buy the good stuff? At three bucks a pound!”
Suddenly I caught a meaty whiff and followed my nose. “Hey!” Pack Leader was right behind me as I screeched to a paw-burning halt at a shelf of gift-wrapped meat longer than my entire backyard at home.
“We can’t afford—” Pack Leader began, but stopped as I nosed a pack of turkey bits, ready to tear into one right there. She picked it up, just as a roly-poly human huffed and puffed up to Pack Leader aggressively.
“Is THAT your DOG?”
“No. I’m his human. And he’s hungry. But very polite.” Pack Leader signalled me to sit. Next would be the shake-a-paw thing with this silly human.
“How much of this stuff do you have? Two sixty-four a kilo! I’ll take all you’ve got.”
So I charmed everybody’s sox off and Pack Leader promised on my behalf that this would never happen again and together we dragged home the necks of a rather large flock of turkeys. Pack Leader cooked them and then cooked grains in the broth, with lots of garlic and some turmeric and cumin and kale, and just two hours later my tum-tum shut up, being very busy dealing with turkey afterlife.
“Major, you’re no longer a corn dog,” said Pack Leader with satisfaction. “From now on, it’s home-cooked fare for you!” I had caught her snitching bits of turkey neck, and tasting rather more of the rice than strictly necessary, but I forgave her. It’s darned good.
Sometimes humans need a nudge to figure out the next step. Nudge yours soon, K9s—kick the corn habit. By the way, when you infiltrate the hunting grounds, the meat is usually at the back.