The girls have many routines that have made their lives comfortable over the years – none, however, as funny to watch as the one they have for meal times! Megan, in particular, will snatch food that was dropped or left unattended quicker than Superman beating that speeding bullet…..but, at meal time, she and her sisters are all so polite!
Here’s how it goes:
Their dishes are lined up in front of the stove and cabinets, like this:
For breakfast, Katie gets her morning medicines on a little dab of peanut butter while Megan and Amy watch to be sure they don’t miss out on something. Then, Megan gets to lick the peanut butter residue off my finger. The next step is for them all to get a Synovi G3 Chew – a healthy joint supplement with MSM, chondroitin, and glucosamine. Megan and Amy wolf theirs down in one chomp and Katie takes her time…..breaking it up into smaller pieces and chewing it ever so carefully (it is maybe 1/2″ square and a soft chew, but she treats it like a big tough piece of steak). Once Katie is done savoring her chew, I fill a glass with water and roll the food container over next to the stove – all while all three follow me around and watching me closely. Then, I start to fill the dishes with their food with all three standing in a row….in order of their dishes….just behind me watching and wagging their tails and shifting their weight on their feet in a nervous dance. I scoop one cup in Katie’s dish and add some water and say, “there’s Katie’s breakfast” – no one moves. Then, I scoop one cup in Amy’s dish and add some water and say, “there’s Amy’s breakfast” – no one moves. Then, I scoop one cup in Megan’s dish and add some water and say, “there’s Megan’s breakfast” – Megan edges in a little closer to get a better look at what I’m doing. Then, I put the scoop in the bin and say, “OK, everybody eat”! and they calmly walk in a synchronized row up to their respective dishes and chow down! While they eat, I sit in the chair at the dining room table to watch…..if I don’t, then Megan will try to intimidate the others to leave their dishes so she can get more! Megan gobbles and is always done first…..licking her bowl over and over to be sure she didn’t leave any crumbs or gravy! Amy is done shortly after Megan and walks over to me so I can fuss over her and say “Amy ate all her breakfast, what a good girl you are!” while Megan licks Amy’s bowl thinking that she MUST have left something, but Amy always leaves it dishwasher clean! Katie always takes much longer to eat……she likes to taste her food and linger on the flavors bursting in her mouth……she takes her tongue and licks at the gravy and then uses it to take one or two bits of food at a time and chews them thoroughly before swallowing and going for another round. Of course, this drives Megan NUTS!!! She paces around watching her, ready to jump in the second Katie relinquishes her spot at the dish. I try to distract her with loving, but she quickly gets her pats or hugs and returns to her vigil…….I tell her to “sit and be patient” and she’ll sit down beside me in the dining room and rigidly stare at Katie……all the time Katie just goes on eating, un-phased by Megan’s intense stares! I rub her head and back and tell her what a good, patient girl she’s being and she gives me a quick glance and skootches over out of reach with that “don’t bother me, I’m busy” body language! Finally, Katie finishes and walks away from the dish. Megan creeps in slowly, making sure Katie isn’t planning on going back for more and then pounces on the dish to lick up the remnants of gravy and crumbs (Katie always leaves some traces behind that gives Megan something to be proud of herself over). They, then, go outside and play and take care of business!
Dinner time is the same ritual, without the medicines, chews, or water……they just get a cup each of dry food for dinner for their tooth health!
I have to be sure I feed them when I have the time to sit and baby sit them…..if the phone rings during their rituals, I ignore it and return the call later…..if I get distracted, Megan ends up with three meals and Katie and Amy miss out – so, I don’t allow distractions!
Dogs love their rituals……it makes them feel safe and comfortable…….break any ritual and they get very nervous and out of sorts…….mine are no exception, so I take their rituals very seriously and respect their importance. It makes for three very happy little girls! 🙂