When Red Dog came to live with us last year he was a seventy five pound, nine month old eating machine and my first thought was "how much does a small indoor pony eat", especially since I have never kept livestock indoors. Being an indoor dog was not in my initial plans but I had forgotten to consult my wife as to what "my plans" should be. I voted he stay outside and she voted for inside. Apparently the election system in the Howard house works much like it does in Russia only I was given a second chance to cast my vote correctly. Indoor Red Dog won by a landslide. It was thrilling to watch our household political machine in action. He now lives a life of air conditioning, heating, and large white porcelain drinking fountains that fit him perfectly. Now that the indoor/outdoor issue was settled my thoughts shifted back to the food question and here is what I found out rather quickly. Red Dog will eat anything.
It was a beautiful spring evening around 5:00 pm which is supper time at our house and my hungry tummy was reminding me that we had left over pork ribs from my favorite BBQ restaurant "Smokey Bros". Large meaty, juicy, smoked pork ribs with homemade BBQ sauce. I could hear the "I want my baby back baby back" ribs song playing in my head and couldn't wait to heat them up. As the ribs started to warm up the aroma in the kitchen became intoxicating. I think my feet left the ground a few times when I took a deep breath. Oh it smelt so good and the timer on the microwave seemed to be moving at a snails pace. I could hardly wait. (My wife says I'm way too passionate about BBQ and I told her that if they could bottle the smell of smoked ribs and brisket into a perfume we would make the Duggars look like beginners. She doesn't see the humor in that statement). Suddenly I heard the "Bing" of the microwave and I danced my way to the kitchen. When I walked in, there sat Red Dog looking upward as though manna was preparing to fall from heaven and he was right. His tail was wagging so fast you could see grout drifting across the tiles on the kitchen floor. He was definitely ready for some ribs but so was I. Red Dog was forgetting that he eats out of the shiny chrome bowl and I eat off the nice china with the floral print. (Oh my Lord, I just said china with a floral print. What's next, a discussion about shabby chic. I better get back to the ribs). When I plated the ribs they smelled and looked W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L.!!!! I grabbed a large glass of ice tea at the end of the cabinet and started toward my favorite chair as though I was carrying the crown jewels. The Texas Rangers were playing on the big screen and I could hear Tim Allen doing the man grunt..AR AR AR AR AR AR..in my head. Suddenly my hospital phone rang. While still in my rib intoxicated state, I put the plate on the arm of my chair and ran to answer my phone. I returned in a matter of two minutes and found my plate exactly where I had left it but there were no pork ribs in sight. I stared at the empty plate with amazement. It looked as clean as a new car on the show room floor. There wasn't even a drop of rib juice left. Oh no, where in the world did the ribs go? Then it hit me, "WE" now have a "indoor dog". I scanned the room looking for Red Dog. There he was sitting about ten feet from my chair, tail still wagging with a smile on his face and a small drop of BBQ sauce on his lower lip. His chest was sticking out as though he was just named valedictorian of his graduating class at obedience school. I don't think I have ever seen a happier dog. He was plenty proud of himself and didn't have any problem showing it. I looked for something. A bone, a piece of bone, even a bone with some rib meat left on it. There was nothing and I mean nothing. This mutt had inhaled those ribs like Bluto inhaled green jello in the movie "Animal House". Not only was I shocked, I was heartbroken. The aroma was still lingering in the air as I sat down in disbelief.
Not long after that, as a welcome to the family gift for Red Dog, my wife bought him a big fluffy doggie mattress to sleep on. She thought this would make his new life with us more comfortable after sleeping outside when he lived on the ranch. One night we heard him growling and snarling at the foot of the bed. This wasn't much of a surprise since we had heard him doing this before and figured he was battling lions in his dreams. But this time it was a little different. There was some additional noise echoing in the darkness, so I got and turned on the light to see what was going on. There was Red Dog standing over his new sleeping mat jumping up and down on it with his from paws tearing the stuffing out it. Turning on the light did not slow him down one bit (or bite you might say), he kept on ripping away. He was either sleep walking/sleep killing or very fond of the taste of that particular fabric? To this day I'm still not sure which it was but he looked pretty funny making a mess on the bed room floor. So Red Dog no longer has a comfortable bed to sleep on because of his taste for cheap fabric. I might also add he did the same thing to all the cushions on the lawn furniture as well. That darn dog.
If pork ribs and cheap fabric are Red Dogs favorite things to eat then a carry out foam box could be his next favorite. A few weeks later I was cleaning leftovers out of the fridge and threw it all into one of those white foam carry out boxes used at most cafes. Red Dog was playing in the back yard so I took him the leftovers as a little afternoon snack. Well I couldn't find his plastic food dish anywhere. He had probably carried it off to one of his quiet places in the yard to chew it apart. So without thinking, I put the foam box down on the patio for him to eat when he finished goofing off. About an hour later I happened to look out the back door to see white debris all over the yard. Red Dog ate the leftovers then apparently started in on the carryout box for dessert. All I could see was a big mess I needed to clean up before my wife got home from shopping and I couldn't see Red Dog anywhere. I stepped outside and whistled for him just to make sure he wasn't somewhere on place choking to death from a foam box. As I was waited on him to come running I caught a glimpse something out of the corner of my eye. It was big, it was red, and it was all wet. It seems Red Dog needed an after lunch swim in my wife's twenty foot fish pond she built in the back yard. (I was hoping he had waited one hour before jumping in because neither one of us wanted to be in trouble with the boss). I wasn't sure how much of that foam box he had ate but it appears he was not having any trouble keeping his head above water. I swear he had on a pair of sunglasses, floating on his back, sipping ice tea through a straw with a little umbrella in it, and letting his worries just drift away while relaxing in his own private spa. At least that's how I was picturing it in my mind. Red Dog appeared to be enjoying himself quit sufficiently living the good life.
I guess the biggest things I learned about Red Dog since he has came to live with us are... 1) Pork ribs make him very happy. 2) Doggie mattresses taste good. 3) A foam box helps him swim better. 4) He will eat anything that I don't eat first. Until the next adventure, God bless you all.