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Vegetables – Gone To The Dogs

by Mary Jo Shannon

Last week my husband Harry and I enjoyed a surprise visit with my brother Frank and his wife Delores who live in Statesboro, Georgia. They called us Monday evening from Dixie Caverns where they stopped overnight on their trip to New England in their mobile home. We arranged to meet for lunch the following day near the Hollins’ exit. The four of us enjoyed catching up on family news while enjoying a pleasant lunch; their two dogs, Mandy, a German shepherd and Rhoda, a dachshund, waited patiently in their mobile home. Frank said they chose to travel via a mobile home so they could take the dogs with them.

When their beloved German shepherd  Ruth died at age twelve, they adopted Mandy, an untrained three-year-old who seemed to shy away from men, suggesting that she may have been abused. Training her at age three was a real challenge, Delores said, but Mandy responded well and has overcome her fear of men.

The vet encouraged them to feed the dogs more vegetables, and suggested they give them carrots to chew on. No way would they accept a carrot! And this bit of information prompted them to tell tales of Ruth and her dietary peculiarities.

The core and stem of a green pepper mysteriously appeared in their yard. Then one day they chanced to notice Ruth  walking along the row of peppers in the garden, passing by the small ones, and selecting the largest one available. She snapped it off the vine with precision, carried it back to her favorite place in the yard, and proceeded to devour it – all except the core and stem.

After that, Frank said, he saw that she received a pepper each day throughout the year. She learned to go to the refrigerator, tap the door several times to indicate she was ready for her treat. However, she never asked for more than one a day. Delores said that once she had purchased, at an enormous price, two peppers for a recipe. She discovered Frank had fed one of them to the dog!

This tale of canine vegetarian cravings reminded me that my son John’s dog, Buddy, a lovable yellow lab, had a taste for zucchini. They would save the largest ones for him and he would enjoy every morsel. He also visited the garden seeking another treat – tomatoes. Bypassing all the green ones, he would choose a ripe, red, juicy one to satisfy his taste buds.

Perhaps  Mandy and Rhoda will eventually learn to like cooked vegetables. If not, the internet lists vegetable products that dog lovers can try to see that their pets benefit from the vitamins vegetables provide. But true K-9 vegetarians prefer a fresh pepper, zucchini or ripe tomato!

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