It was New Year’s Eve at Almost Heaven Ranch, and the house felt empty. It was still full of our dogs, but our children, along with their families and pets, had left. So Teresa and I tried to blunt the loneliness by cleaning up their rooms and the house. Part of that effort was cleaning out all of the holiday leftovers from the refrigerator.
We decided to help ring in the New Year for our pets by giving them skinless pieces of chicken breast, some green beans, and naan bread.
One of our dogs, Shakira, is a beloved Golden Retriever, 15-years-old, blind, and almost completely deaf. I’m always very careful when feeding Shakira, especially when it’s something that has an ambrosial smell and tantalizing taste, like chicken. I do so coming up from underneath her muzzle with the food in a cupped hand. All was going great, dogs were tail-wagging, slurping, excited, and I felt great giving them this special holiday feast. That’s when the shoe dropped. Actually, that’s when something dropped on my house slipper.
That something was a thick piece of naan bread, and it landed on my left foot, exactly like I was holding the edge of a Frisbee with the toe end of my slipper. Her eyesight may be gone and hearing fading, she still has a wicked sense of smell. Her head dropped straight down to the olfactory target, and she started wolfing down the naan. That would have been okay, but my foot was also in her mouth!
Shakira must have thought that naan was as tough as shoe leather, because she was really sinking her teeth in as she chomped the slipper sandwich so rapidly I couldn’t get my foot out. I yelled out as loud as I could, “GET YOUR TENNIS BALL!”, and she released my foot and took off trying to find her ball.
One of her canine teeth went right through the leather on the upper part of my shoe and my foot was throbbing, but nothing was broken. With tears in my eyes from about 6-out-of-10 pain, I went inside to tell Teresa what happened. She laughed and laughed, actually cried laughing.
Here’s the lesson: Be extra careful when feeding a blind dog that has a hearty appetite. And don’t expect sympathy from anyone when you aren’t.