For the third day in a row I was perplexed to discover that Rex hadn't been eating all of the food in his dish. I normally fed him once in the morning and once at night. He would snack on his Meow Mix throughout the day until it was finished and he was ready for me to pour some more food in his dish again.
"Why isn't he eating?" I wondered, concerned. Enough of the food was missing that I wasn't worried he had lost his appetite for some reason and was slowly going to starve to death, but it was weird. He hadn't been bothering me for his breakfast or dinner at the usual times, either. I decided I would keep an eye on him to see if he started losing a lot of weight or seemed sick before I freaked out. He seemed perfectly healthy, and at 17 lbs., it wouldn't kill him to shave off an inch from his cuddly waistline. Still, it was weird. Aidan had been eating the same as usual, although I noticed his food was disappearing faster. This made me happy. My mother-in-law had given Davey a bag of Pedigree with smaller kibbles for Aidan, who has weak teeth and a small mouth unsuited for the giant nuggets he had been eating. I was glad to see that the smaller dog food was easier for him.
When I got home from work that night, I sat down on the couch to have nice snuggle with the pets. It had been a disappointing day, and I needed some cheering up. Aidan was into relaxing with me but Rex seemed miffed that I hadn't greeted him warmly enough. He stayed on the floor, despite my urgings otherwise. For once, Aidan considerately sat a modest distance from me so that Rex wouldn't feel too jealous to come join us.
"Eh, he's happy where he is," I said after a few minutes, reaching out invitingly to the pug. He promptly draped himself across my thigh with a wag of his tail.
Rex stood up disinterestedly and wandered over to where Aidan's food bowl and water dish were. They were good about sharing their water, I mused, looking down at Aidan. I distractedly played with his ear as I tried not to think about my day. Suddenly, I was snapped out of my reverie by a crunching sound. I looked up at Rex.
"What the hell are you doing?" I said, even though I knew full well.
"Eating," he mumbled through a bite of Pedigree.
"What are you thinking eating dog food?" I demanded.
He ignored me.
He took another dainty bite out of the bowl.
"Rex!" I snapped.
He continued on with his meal. I thought about getting up to stop him, but realized it was pointless. He would always be able to get at Aidan's food, no matter where we put it.
"What do you think of that, Aidan?" I asked, looking down at the dog. He looked up at me.
"I don't know," he said. "I think it tastes good, too."
"Fair point," I said, leaning back on the couch to watch Rex eat some more dog food.
"Rex," I called out. "After all the dog food you've had access to in your silly little life, why start eating it now?"
"These ones are small enough to fit in my mouth," he mumbled, his face buried in the bowl. I blinked. Of course. Those smaller kibbles were the perfect size, not only for a royal pug king, like Aidan, but also for a cultured gentleman cat with an interest in fine dining, like Rex.
What a dork.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
"Hold on," I said, shutting the door, and heading back into the living room.
Aidan pranced to keep up with me, making circles around my legs as he tried to gaze anxiously into my face while having cataracts and trying to walk at the same time. He knew he had one more chance to get me to take him with him before I was gone forever.
"P.S." he said, frantically, sticking with the pen pals theme. "I love you!"
"Chill, buddy," I said, leaning over the arm chair and rummaging through Aidan's storage drawer for his leash. It wasn't there. Aidan watched me, wordlessly, for fear that too bold a move on his part would ruin his tentative chances of coming with. I was looking in his drawer, yes, but there was no telling what I was looking for in there. For all he knew, I was going to cheapen the depth of his love for me by feeding him a treat before making my final departure from his life, as if food was all he needed to forget that, for one short moment, he'd had a mother. I pursed my lips, shoving the bag of treats aside. Where the heck was that leash? I looked at Aidan, my hands on my hips. He tilted his head appealingly.
"What's up?" he ventured.
I grumbled, shutting the drawer and heading back to the front door. "I want to go for a walk with my brothers," I explained. "I'm feeling fat."
Aidan chased after me.
"Don't go!" he wailed plaintively. "I think you look thin! I'm the fat one! I need to go for a walk! I'll go with you! Please! Please don't leave me!"
I stopped and looked down at him, my hand on the door knob.
"I was already going to bring you with me," I said. "Silly!" I picked him up and put him under my arm.
"I thought you weren't," he said, legs poised stiffly in the air. "Because where's my leash?"
"I couldn't find it. We'll borrow Lucy's," I said, sliding into the car and shutting the door before releasing Aidan. He parked his butt on my lap and craned around to look into my eyes.
"Who's Lucy?" he asked.
"You'll remember when you see her."
Lucy is my family's dog. She has a pretty face, and dark ashy fur with darker spots. Every time she and Aidan see each other they act awkward and skittish, because they are both shy.
(Poor Lucy right after her accident. That's why her face fur is buzzed and you can see her scar.)
"She's old," Aidan whispered, goggle-eyed, when I brought him into the house. I set him down.
"Have fun," I said.
They advanced tentatively towards on another and commenced smelling each other's butts before trying, awkwardly and skittishly, to play. Their rate of success was severely limited. After a few minutes, Aidan ran over to me. "I don't think I'm having a lot of fun," he said. "Oh, are those cookies?"
"Cookies?" asked Lucy, making her way over to the table where I was, indeed, eating Russian tea cakes.
The dogs eyed each other. I bit a cookie in half and passed them each a piece.
"Oh, my. These are delicious," crowed Aidan, delighted.
"I'm not allowed to have people food anymore," whispered Lucy, sneaking under the table where my Mom couldn't see her. She put her head on my knee. "But one more won't hurt me." She looked at me angelically. She had cataracts to match Aidan's, although hers were from age and his are from being a pug. I slipped her another cookie.
"That's not fair! That's not fair! She got two!" protested Aidan. I handed him another fraction of a tea cake and then raised my empty hands in the air.
"That's it, guys," I said. "No more Russian tea cakes for any of us."
Lucy sighed in a long suffering way, still hidden away under the table. "They're gone?" she asked.
"No!" said Aidan. "They're not gone. I can see them. There's a whole plate of them up there, and I will never give up until I have eaten them all!" He looked at me reproachfully. How dare I deny him such a delicacy!
"There's more?" asked Lucy.
"Yes," said Aidan. "And I will be the one to eat them, because I am King Aidan!" He thought for a moment. "You may have a few."
"Thank you," said Lucy, politely.
"Don't get ahead of yourselves, you nut jobs," I interrupted. "I told you both, no more cookies."
Lucy gave me an appealing look. "I'm sorry to say I'm going to die soon," she said.
"Gah!" I spat, my sympathies won. I handed over the coveted sweet. I tried to be sly so Aidan wouldn't see and become offended, but I was not stealthy enough. He gasped, wounded.
"You... you gave her one... but not me?" he whimpered, blinking at me through the walnut of his sad, sad face.
"Jesus," I muttered, giving him another half a tea cake. "But seriously guys, no more. Just because they're on the table doesn't mean we get to keep shoving them down our throats like we're never going to eat again."
"Give me another cookie!" Aidan suggested, bracing himself against my chair. I patted him on the head.
"Sorry, buddy," I cooed. "If you eat too much sugar you'll get diabetes and they'll have to cut your little feetsies off."
"I don't care!" he complained. "I want a cookie more than feet!"
"I'm already old," said Lucy. "What's one more infirmity to me?"
"Stop it!" I said.
They both turned their puppy dog eyes on me full blast. I covered my face with my hands, but it was still too much. I grabbed a tea cake and held it out for Lucy to eat.
"Don't give Lucy tea cakes," my Mom said, finally noticing. "She's got organ problems."
"Drat," said Lucy. Her jig was up.
"It's not fair to give you snacks when Lucy can't have any," I said to Aidan.
"Drat," he said, foiled by etiquette.
"I wont have any more, either," I said, pushing the plate away. I was relieved the whole ordeal was over.