“Now then, Piglet, let’s go home.”
“But, Pooh,” cried Piglet, all excited “do you know the way?”
“No,” said Pooh. “But there are twelve pots of honey in my cupboard and they’ve been calling to me for hours. I couldn’t hear them properly before, because Rabbit would talk, but if nobody says anything except those twelve pots, I think, Piglet, I shall know where they’re calling from. Come on.”A.A. Milne, In Which Tigger Comes Unbounced
Food can mean so many things: sustenance, comfort, love, tradition, to name a few. And, as Winnie the Pooh so eloquently explains, food calls to us.
Why then, are we surprised that food also calls to the dogs in our family?
My facebook feed has been full of people bemoaning the family dogs who are expecting dinner earlier and earlier.
Pettigrew, ever the insightful communicator, has shared that what with one member of the family or the other in the kitchen much of the time, the cues are all mixed up. The click of a cupboard opening and closing, the rattle of the silverware drawer, the whistle of the kettle, the sizzle and pop of eggs frying in butter, not to mention the accompanying aromas–all clear signs that it’s meal time.
What’s a dog to do?
Pettigrew has taken to hopefully following me in whenever I spend time in the kitchen. Just to check . . . and maybe to plead his case too.
One would think that this would serve as a break on my own, too frequent quests for snacks. Alas, no.
Rather, I have entered whole heartedly into Pettigrew’s justification that instead of thinking of it as an early dinner, perhaps it should be reframed as a first dinner (the implication, of course, being that there will be a second one following the first), or, maybe this mid-afternoon repast should more accurately be called a second lunch.
After all Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, notes that Hobbits have a second breakfast, in fact they eat six meals a day when they can get them.
Pettigrew and I are ALL about SIX meals a day! Maybe there’s some Hobbit in our family tree.
For Pettigrew, I try to get by with breaking his allotted food into smaller portions, so we can share more meals together. Sometimes this works. Sometimes not.
Sometimes his system tolerates the extra food, sometimes not. No one in my family blinks twice when they see newspaper strategically covering portions of the living room floor. An ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure. Or, in our case, prevention/protection is worth a bottle of stain remover.
I find it is easier to satisfy Pettigrew than it is to pace myself. I have yet been able to split my lunch so that there is some left when I find myself back in the kitchen, hand opening the refrigerator.
Sustenance, comfort, love, tradition, I need it all.