When we returned from the hospital with a newborn baby, our poor pug dog felt the shift in affection and attention. He became a hairy second fiddle. On more than one occasion we completely forgot to feed him. He went without his doggy dinner because we were attentive new parents and inattentive dog owners.
He hasn’t gone without his dog food lately, not because we’ve properly balanced our child-dog affection ratio but because our daughter has taken to feeding the dog.
She’s a behavioural sponge these days and after seeing us feed the dog daily (or every second day), she mimicked the motions. It was really cute. And it kept her busy. Those are two things parents look for in an activity, especially the latter.
Allowing our toddler to feed the dog has led to a few things. She’s emptied the entire container of dog food on the kitchen floor – numerous times. She’s overfed the dog. She’s underfed the dog. She’s eaten a piece of two of kibble. Like vegetables, she doesn’t care for kibble and mainly puts it in her mouth for show before spitting it out.
Our daughter always lets our portly pug know when it’s time for dog food – by yelling his name. She yells his name until he shows up. Then she proceeds to scoop out the kibble into his bowl alternating between using the scoop and her hands. Sometimes she scoops the kibble directly onto the floor. The kibble blends into the carpet and we wind up crushing it beneath our feet. It’s like walking on a pebbly beach.
I’d like to say that feeding the dog food ends when our toddler puts the container away but it usually ends when our daughter begins throwing dog food. The kibble and the accompanying bits have migrated to other parts of the house. We have found kibble in shoes, Tupperware, the dishwasher, the bathroom, and our Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Everyone who’s ever had a baked good at our house just regretted reading that last part. Now you all know our secret ingredient.
Feeding the dog or “daw ood” in toddler-speak is now a common pastime in our household, with our daughter begging to play at all hours of the day. Our pug’s ever expanding girth may be due to these mid-day feedings. If our daughter doesn’t get to play “daw ood” or if we try to end the game early an inevitable tantrum ensues. It’s gotten to the point that we hide the dog food container to prevent tantrums.
Of course, our dog needs to eat and our daughter needs to be entertained. So the container inevitably emerges, kibble is spilt and the dog gets fed. And I quietly hope for the day that our daughter cleans the dog’s dinner off the floor like the dog cleans her dinner off the floor.