Wanted to share some recent correspondence with the Oregon Humane Society, just in case anyone else shares a home with a malcontent dog.
TO: Humane Society Dog Psychic Hotline Coordinator
RE: Complaint received from our family pet, Serena
This is in response to your recent letter expressing concern about the reported "starvation" of our dog. As you can imagine, I was more than a little surprised to learn that the Humane Society operates a Dog Psychic Hotline.
However, this is Oregon. Guess I should have seen this bit of woo-woo coming. (Except, I'm not psychic.)
At first I was deeply skeptical that your hotline could be picking up messages from our dog. But after reading the intimate details contained in your letter about my, um, bathroom habits, I became a believer.
From now on, Serena is going to be kept on the other side of a closed bathroom door. In retrospect, I should have been suspicious when she suddenly started to follow me around everywhere I went in the morning.
Regarding her ESP-conveyed complaints of food deprivation, please keep in mind that, despite her pleasant appearance, this can be a darn devious dog. Underneath her laid-back half-Lab personality is a semi-sinister German Shepherd alter ego.
I have attached a report from Serena's vet that says she could benefit from losing three or four pounds. Our recent efforts in that direction likely have led to the baseless claims of imminent starvation received by your hotline.
Here is my response to Serena's most egregious statements:
(1) "Forced to forage for my own food every morning." Give me a break. She voluntarily goes out with me to get the newspaper. Sometimes she sees a squirrel and runs after it. That must be what her malevolent dog brain is communicating to your psychic, who, in my opinion, is excessively gullible.
When we come in, I immediately go to her treat drawer and prepare her pre-breakfast. Currently this consists of five small dog biscuits (three different kinds – each completely natural, costing more per pound than our own food).
I carefully arrange these on a small towel, to minimize crumb dispersal, and lay it out on a corner of the living room rug. Upon calling "Serena, your pre-breakfast is ready!," she slowly walks over to the biscuits. (Perhaps these ten or fifteen steps also are what she means by "foraging.")
A bit later, my wife feeds Serena her regular breakfast, a mixture of dry and canned food. Believe me, this dog isn't being starved.
(2) "Often given grass for dinner." Absurd. She must be talking about the broccoli that I chop up and sprinkle over her evening meal. Which consists of the same cup of dry food and numerous spoonfuls of canned food that she got in the morning.
Our seriously spoiled pet probably is pissed about the reduction from 1 ¼ cups after we got the weight loss advice from the vet. I never would have guessed that she was keeping track of how much went into her bowl. But after reading about what she told you about my bathroom habits, clearly not much escapes her.
I note that Serena failed to mention what happens after she finishes her dinner. Allow me to fill in the gaps in her tale of gustatory woe.
Within a few microseconds of licking her bowl clean, our dog rushes over to me, tail wagging like crazy. We've got a little ritual going on here.
I walk over to the bowl, stare into its empty recesses, and intone, "Oh, my, what a good dog to finish all of your dinner. You deserve a treat!" I open the chewstick container and pull out a hunk of dried cow, anathema to my vegetarian soul.
Doing my best not to think about the karmic consequences, I make Serena sit and shake a paw, neither of which she does very convincingly. When the psychic transcribed, "Made to suffer horrible indignities in exchange for morsels of food," this must have been what our ingrate pet was referring to.
(3) "Always go to sleep hungry." Be aware that Serena really means "hungry for more." Before being put to bed in her own room, Serena jumps up onto a futon. My wife then croons dog baby talk while feeding her two large dog biscuits as a sleep-time snack.
I hope this puts to rest the starvation complaints you have received from our pet. I'd be interested to know what percentage of hotline messages received by your dog psychic turn out to be well-founded. In this case, for sure, you've been taken by a sneaky canine.