Last night on the front porch…



by cheri

After an almost life-ending battle with bloat in May, our Labrador retriever Dinah is now on a low-fat gastrointestinal veterinary dog food, the price of which will remain between me and me. She has lost 12 pounds and as happens when one loses old-age weight, she has become more energetic and resourceful.

But let me be clear: she has lost one of her favorite daily activities– freedom to wander our property, all five acres, looking for tasty morsels of whatever. I use the catch-all term whatever because Dinah’s culinary tastes have always been eclectic and, truthfully, disgusting with a capital D. When she was retching her guts out in May, she heaved enough aluminum foil to cover a Thanksgiving turkey.

His Honor, in all his wisdom, asked from his easy chair, ” Where would she have gotten foil? ” Duh.
“Some idiot walking or driving the road must have thrown it over our fence, Your Holiness.”

So it goes.

In her youth, she ate part of a squirrel that had fallen out of a tree and half a rat which our cat, now in Feline Hell, had killed. I’ve written about these escapades in the past and should you want to gross out a grandchild or an annoying wife or husband, you can search my blog.

But for now.

Each morning and night Dinah is escorted in chains out of the house to “do her business” on a leash attached to an arm of a woman in a robe.

Her canine olfactory radar always on high alert, she senses owl pellets, turkey poop, or some other mystery meat from a mile away. Straining at the leash, she hopes the woman in the robe will trip, releasing her to make a beeline for said nightly snack.

By day, Dinah is now confined to a lovely patio where, through her wrought-iron prison, she can only hope and dream of her former freedoms, much like the prisoners at Folsom Prison did when Johnny Cash rolled out the line, “…I bet there’s rich folks eating from a fancy dining car…”

Dinah no longer jumps the creek and trots into the olive orchard to scavenge for tidbits or olive pits.

Last night, Dinah plunged to a new low.

“Your honor, the woman in the robe thought,  last night, after watching the newest episode of the Great British Baking Show, Dinah nosed your hand and licked it.”

I was going to suggest that you wash that hand, but alas, I didn’t want to hear a repeat of your chorus of you, yourself, and ya’ll  in an excoriating bad-mouthing of my dog.

Last night, when the lady in the robe took the starving prisoner out for her nightly constitution, something happened so fast that truthfully, your honor I have no idea whatsoever what occurred or did not occur or maybe never occurred.

I opened the door, it was dark, stepped out with Dinah, and in the time it takes a Venus Fly Trap to suck in a fly, Dinah surged toward  a post holding up our portico and ate something the size of small frog that was sitting at the base of the post.

“OMG,” I said to her outside. ” What in the hell was THAT?”

As with most incarcerated beings, she took the Fifth.

About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
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11 Responses to Last night on the front porch…

  1. I understand. I commiserate. Charlie and I do the midnight ramble at any time between midnight and 4:30 a.m. sans robe. He looks for critters rather than tidbits, and is hard to convince to leave them be. Especially if I detect the scent of a skunk. Why do we put ourselves through this disruption? I can’t remember a full night’s sleep.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Shimon, It certainly was difficult to see Dinah ill but this little post was supposed to make one smile. She has always been ravenous even before her bloat. This is the problem with this breed, IMHO. They are begging constantly and will eat anything that has food on it, not because their stomachs are empty. She reminds me of a goat.

      • ShimonZ says:

        One of my sons had a labrador a few years back, and I know just how lovable they are. But it used to make me unhappy to see him always on a diet. Still, he had a good life.

        • Cheri says:

          They are the best dogs ever but it is certainly a curiosity to see how hungry they always appear to be. I’ve had Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds and Rottweilers and none of them were in a constant state of hunger. I suppose that is why so many of them are grossly overweight. Dinah’s life couldn’t be better. We love and adore her. She has a big puffy bed and occasionally when the granddaughters visit from Portland, she has little people to play with. Have a good day, Shimon!

  2. Pat Leidigh says:

    Hi Cheri,
    How hard this must be for you, as well,
    since you are the one keeping her in safe hands! 12 pounds is a lot of weight! Great accomplishment !!!
    She will be forever grateful even though
    she’s not getting any extra goodies….
    Good luck and hugs to you all,
    Pat and Jim

    • Cheri says:

      Well, great to hear from you my friend! It was tough to see Dinah ill but you should see her trim little waistline. No goodies anymore. Hope all is well with you and Jim up there where the heat had to be oppressive this weekend! Love to you both.

  3. shoreacres says:

    I know how strong the bonds can be between canine and their owners, but goodness, me. You certainly do have to be dedicated to keep those four-legged appetites under control. I listen to an AM radio hunting and fishing show on a regular basis, and listening to those guides talk about their dogs is amazing. A lot of them have Labs, and their stories of training — and RE-training — them as needed are remarkable.

    As for that whatever at the bottom of the post? It’s probably better you don’t know.

  4. Cheri says:

    Absolutely. My husband wonders, and truly does not understand, how such bonds are formed. To him, the “concept” of a dog ( sleeping peacefully at your feet) is rarely achieved. The shedding, destruction of property, veterinary bills all trump any positives in the dog “concept.

    And yes, I do not want to know about what she ate “this time.”

  5. Lue Perrine says:

    Awe…I love her 💛
    What a dog and your words express her so well! 😆

    • Cheri says:

      She’s been a good ol girl and is starting to slow down (like her master). She has provided us with some really gross situations when it comes to her epicurean choices. LOL

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