35: His Just Desserts

35: His Just Desserts

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

His Just Desserts

Fun fact: Humans have five million scent receptors in their noses, but dogs have more than 200 million scent receptors in their noses and the roofs of their mouths.

It was dog-treat baking day — time to create those homemade treats that my pups love so much. Somehow, they always know when I’m about to start cooking. Two seconds after I pull out the cookie sheets and grab the bone-shaped cookie cutter, the dogs appear. I suddenly become the most popular person in my house.

Sadie, our Lab-Shepherd mix, and Coco and Pixel, the Maltese pups, waste no time dashing into the kitchen. They jockey for position, extending their moist noses, anxious to see what I’m doing. I usually have quite a bit of help with my baking project.

This day was no different from any other. With pups underfoot, I assembled the ingredients. I mixed and measured flour and cheese, adding in some bits of bacon as I stirred and kneaded the concoction. Beautiful smells filled the air, tantalizing their senses. The puppies gathered under my feet, bouncing into my legs and demanding my attention. They whimpered and whined, begging for some small scrap to come their way as I loaded the cookie sheets with rows of tiny treats. A modest pile of cheese and bacon pieces was left on the kitchen counter. Feeling generous, I knocked the mound to the floor. Three wet tongues scurried along, slurping up the tiny scraps. Keeping them occupied allowed me to pop the treats into the oven without their help.

I mused that baking time must be sheer agony for the dogs. Delicious smells wafted from the oven. The puppies never stray too far from the kitchen during the baking process, so, as usual, they lay down and stared at the oven door. When the oven timer went off, it was almost like someone had rung the doorbell. (We all know what a frenzy that drives our dogs into!)

Buzz… buzz… buzz. The howling and barking began. In dog speak, the buzzing must mean “hot treats are done — you can eat them now.” I quickly scooped out both cookie sheets, turning off the pesky timer in the process. Foolishly, I thought the absence of noise would make the dogs calm down. No way. As soon as I put both of the cookie sheets on the stovetop to cool, another chorus of howls greeted me. I’m pretty sure they were saying they wanted their treats — right now. How was I going to explain that none of the delectable goodies was intended for immediate consumption? I didn’t even try. I just made a general announcement to the universe that the treats needed to cool. I also added that any puppies in the kitchen needed to vacate the area. For the next fifteen minutes, three dogs sat very still on the kitchen floor, gazing up at the stovetop. They looked as though they expected the treats to come to life and jump into their mouths. Occasionally, they’d look forlornly at one another, whimpering and barking quietly.

I never suspected that they were hatching a plan — that can be the only explanation for what happened next. I can still see it happening as though in slow motion. I grabbed the cookie trays, one in each hand, moving them to the kitchen counter. I was silly enough to think that I’d be able to load up their treat jar with the freshly baked goodies.

That’s when it happened.

Simultaneously, three dogs sprang to their feet, charging toward me. Three dogs under two unsuspecting feet doesn’t end well. I tripped, twisting and turning in several directions at once. Meanwhile, the dog treats were slipping and sliding precariously on the baking sheets.

Down I went along with both cookie sheets. The puppy treats scattered like dry leaves in a hurricane. They slid in several directions across the slick tile floor. Sadie dashed off in one direction, scooping up treats as fast as she could. Coco scampered off in another direction, munching and chomping on the warm goodies along the way.

And there sat Pixel. At his feet was a perfectly formed dog treat. Untouched. I was eye-to-eye with him at this point, after my not-so-graceful landing on my rear end. He stared at me, just waiting. With a whole floor covered in dog treats, he wouldn’t eat a bite.

Finally, I reached over and picked up the treat, snapping it into two pieces. I placed one piece back on the floor at his feet. The other piece went into his open mouth. Pixel looked at me as if he was smiling before he wolfed it down. You see, that’s the only way Pixel will eat his treats. One piece must be placed gingerly into his mouth with the other piece placed at his feet. Even when the whole floor is covered in his favorite thing to eat.

You tell me — is he spoiled, or what?

~Debby Johnson

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