Friday, October 5, 2018

The Frosty Paws 12-Step

So, the dog.

Lola is a six-pound Cuban silk dog, otherwise known as a Havanese, and a not-too distant relative of the poodle. This makes her a perfect fit for the house full of OCD, germaphobic asthmatics that is our family. No dander means easy breathing; no shedding means no mess. The allergies are problematic since we truly are a dog-loving people. Unfortunately, more than five minutes around the wrong breed means two days of popping antihistamines, wheezy breathing and dull sinus headaches.

I don't know many, if any, Cubans, though I romantically choose to believe Lola must represent the culture well. Small, but feisty, with a determination and stubbornness inordinately disproportionate to her size, Lola manages a charming disobedient gruffness that melts most people who meet her. The fact she doesn't mind being handled like an old rag doll doesn't hurt. Perhaps "doesn't mind" isn't the correct assessment. When you're slightly larger than a guinea pig, and much better smelling, you really don't have much choice in the matter. People pick you up.

Being of a diminutive breed, and even runt-size for a Havanese, Lola's stomach can be a temperamental thing, like a supreme court nominee during a hearing except with a strong possibility of puking. (Well, actually, then exactly like a supreme court nominee during a hearing.) It took some trial and error to find just the right brand and size of kibble so we wouldn't revisit breakfast and dinner each day. We also avoid giving her table scraps as a general rule. Cheese is an exception, since she can stomach it, it's a great way to get her to take pills when necessary, and it keeps her distracted for at least five minutes when melted into her kong. She has also discovered an intense fascination with turkey due largely to the one Thanksgiving when, unbeknownst to us, turkey grease overflowed the cutting board and dripped from the counter. Lola happily lapped it off the floor while a steady stream struck her squarely on the head, ruining her coat. She looked like a rescue animal from the Exxon Valdese oil spill for several weeks.

Recently, to celebrate her fifth birthday and our daughter's twenty-first birthday, we bought her a frozen treat called Frosty Paws. To be clear, the dog got the Frosty Paws, not our daughter. We had to choose from two flavors -- original and peanut butter. I suggested peanut butter might be best, only because I wasn't exactly sure what the "original" flavor of a knock-off ice cream dog treat might be. Dog anus? Dead squirrel? Regurgitated breakfast kibble? The prospects seemed endless and potentially horrifying to consider once I started thinking about all the things I've witnessed dogs sniffing, licking or eating during my fifty years on this planet.

After devouring an entire cup of peanut butter Frosty Paws, it quickly became apparent a few spoonfuls might have made for a sufficient treat. Lola's eyes glazed over, she became lethargic and took on the countenance of a college freshman who has imbibed too much beer on his first outing. She limply passed the next hour or two being shuffled like a potentially explosively vomitous hot potato from one family member to another until eventually recovering to something slightly closer to her normal self than a bloated narcoleptic with crusty peanut butter face. Upon waking the following morning, the spring was back in Lola's step and we, though possibly not she, decided Frosty Paws might be the hard stuff our tender little puppy was not built to tolerate.

2018 Mark Feggeler