Tonight’s the big night. Time to pour out the candy, put on a funny mask and most of all, tie down my dogs like steers in a roping contest.
Again we are reminded that fate is really rather contrary. It equipped pooches with amazing sensory equipment but then denies those who went the domesticated route much opportunity to use it. My pups can hear the trick-or-treaters coming for a mile and they know these are their favorite kind of people — those under 16.
Upon smelling those friendly, high-energy, roll-in-the-mud kind of humans, what should they think but that they’ve come especially to play with them? Instead, no sooner do they get a decent sniff of the visitor, than the child departs. It is an evening of repeated disappointments for my goofy pooches.
Now add insult to injury. When those potential playmates approach, the dogs can smell that each possesses large bags full of sweet stuff. Canines may be technically carnivorous, but my two show all the taste and willpower of an omnivorous 4-year-old. If it’s sweet, they want it, especially if it’s chocolate.
I know. I know. Any good veterinarian will warn you that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and they are no doubt right. However, if there is a vet student out there looking for a thesis topic, he needs to give me a ring. My German shorthaired pointer is a quandary on four paws. In the five years since we plucked her from the pound, she has scoffed heartily at that consumer warning. Along with the very healthy diet we scrupulously provide her of quality dry dog food and the occasional bone, she has devoured an entire chocolate birthday cake topped with chocolate cookies just an hour before the party. She unwrapped and ate 30 miniature peanut butter cups from the Valentine cards to which they were taped.
She knocked an entire container of my expensive, chocolate calcium chews off my sink and cleaned it out. She has polished off a dozen chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter. She even ate a small container of rat poison a couple of years ago. None even gave her indigestion.
Don’t dial the SPCA. I am not disputing the wise doctors and I assure you, we go out of our way to keep chocolate and all other inappropriate consumables out of her reach. Playing cleverly on human frailty and absent-mindedness, she regularly scores them anyway. I rather wonder if we couldn’t go on the road or perhaps to Vegas with The Incredible Chocolate-Eating Dog.
It’s a pity chocolate isn’t contraband. She would have a cushy career as a customs service surveillance dog. Maybe she could hire out to those impatient souls who want to seek out hidden Christmas treats. There might be a role for her with Overeaters Anonymous or at one of those weight-loss camps for children, searching out hidden caches.
I actually could have used her when the kids were little to determine who ate the last morsel from the See’s candy box, but it probably would have been her. We may be forced to hand out dog biscuits this year.
Jean Gillette is the Community News editor for The Coast News Group. As a journalist, she primarily worked in San Clemente and Los Angeles. She has been with the Coast News for 20 years and lives in La Costa.