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Dogs and Chinese

Published March 06. 2010 09:00AM

I had a very interesting long weekend in Florida.

Our daughter and her family decided to go on a skiing trip to North Carolina. She asked me if I would watch their two dogs and their house in Oviedo while they were gone. My husband had an umpire test in South Carolina, so he couldn't dog-sit with me.

Did I think even a moment about the request? Of course, I did. Spending the weekend with Kita and Leo would probably be exasperating. Kita is a sweet terrier/German Shepherd mix. Leo is a huge dog - part Great Dane and part something else (perhaps horse?). Each time I dog-sit for them, I arrive back home with black and blue marks on my legs. They almost love me to death.

Of course, I said 'yes,' to the house/dog-sitting job because I had the time and wanted to help any way I could. After all, that's what parents do. Plus, my granddaughter Kiele gave me three books to read - a series about an alchemist, a magician and a sorceress. I had truly enjoyed all of the Harry Potter books, so I figured I'd like these, too.

The night before my family left on vacation, the 6 of us humans had Chinese food - fried rice, lo mien, chicken and broccoli, crab Rangoon, egg rolls. Naturally, there was a lot of food left over- except the crab Rangoon (which is Conor's favorite). I envisioned a meal or two of leftovers while I was alone. All of the Chinese remnants were packed up in plastic containers.

After our daughter and her family left for NC, I assessed the food available to me. There were 5 containers of Chinese food, so I figured it would last me for the entire weekend. I am not a fussy eater. I can eat the same thing for four days in a row with no trouble at all.

At dinnertime, the two big dogs watched me as I spooned some food on a dish and placed it in the microwave. Their eyes never left my plate as I carried it into the dining room and began to eat. They sat right beside me and watched every bite I took.

My daughter has always warned me not to feed her dogs any 'people food.' They are dry dog food critters and if they eat unusual items on their menu, they have a tendency to get stomach distress. And - stomach distress in a dog almost always translates into gastric problems. And - gastric problems lead to…. Well, you get the idea. I didn't want to spend the weekend holding my nose.

I DID NOT feed the dogs any of the Chinese food. They sat and stared at me while I ate my dinner. I cleaned my plate, washed it off, put it in the dishwasher, gave them each a biscuit as a reward, and figured the first night had gone well.

The second night was about the same - except that Kita decided that she desperately wanted to smell what was on my plate. I waved her away enough times, took my plate into the kitchen and ate at the table (to put more distance between the dog and the plate) and finally had to put both dogs outside. Leo had not been as aggressive toward my plate, but he was salivating also.

Right outside the kitchen window is a rack of planted spices underneath an arbor of Confederate Jasmine. Kita jumped up on the rack and began to yip at me through the window. She could see that I was eating and it bothered her that her nose wasn't close enough to my plate. Leo was lying peacefully on the ground, ignoring her yapping.

I finished my dinner, washed the plate, put it in the dishwasher, and then let the dogs into the house. Leo went right away to his pillow and chilled out. Kita roamed the kitchen, searching for whatever smells she could find. She was especially centered on the door of the dishwasher. I turned off the lights in the kitchen and went into the living room to read.

Dejectedly, Kita finally joined us in the living room. I said, "You wouldn't like Chinese food anyway." Doubt that she believed me.

For the next nights, I ate the rest of the Chinese food. During the day, I read all three books. I did laundry, sewing, and cleaning. I also had to scoop out a dead fish and flush it down the toilet. Kita, Leo, the alchemist, magician, sorceress and I had a fine time. The fish did not.


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