What’s Gotten Into Jessie?

Besides a lot of cat food, that is.

Jessie the puppy and Joey the kitten came into the household at about the same time about thirteen years ago. We already had an older dog (Lucky) and an older cat (Oreo), and while Oreo and Joey simply tolerated each other, Lucky and Jessie were tight. Lucky became Jessie’s surrogate mom.

The Lucky Puppy was a hoot, a great dog. We got her as a rescue soon after the kids and I started doing the one-parent household thing. She was red-tagged at the pound, meaning that it was her last day if she didn’t get picked by someone. She was a big, lovable galoot of a black lab. She immediately figured out what was going on in the house and decided that she would be the kids’ protector. No one was ever going to give “her kids” any grief, even if it was me just goofing off or playing around.

The Lucky Puppy was a fool for getting into the trash and swiping food wherever she could get it. We would find her with her head in the trash, again, and she knew that she was in trouble, she knew that she shouldn’t be doing it, she just didn’t know how to stop herself.

That was never a habit Jessie picked up from Lucky. Jessie’s always been very good about staying out of the trash and not taking food off of a plate or table if it got left behind.

Mind you, Jessie will sit there and look at you while you eat with an expression that tells you that she’s at death’s door from starvation, but she just wants you to be happy eating all of that food while she watches and hopes and prays for the smallest morsel that might keep her from fainting dead away. It’s safe to say that this has worked for her only on days that end in “Y” – she might be the most spoiled dog on the planet when it comes to food, a fact that The Long-Suffering Wife is quite proud of.

In the last year or so we’ve caught Jessie eating Joey’s dry cat food a few times. We keep two types of dry food out for Joey. Jessie won’t touch one of them, but the other one she loves and will wolf it down and clean the bowl if given the chance. We try to remember to put Joey’s dish up on the table or counter if we’re leaving Jessie in the house for a while, since the cat food is much too rich for her and does nasty things to her GI tract.

Now a new behavior from Jessie has been discovered.

Joey gets her “wet” food in the evening, and she’ll normally eat a third of it or so, then eat more a couple of hours later, then nibble on it as she wants, so that by the next morning it’s about 90% gone and by noon or so the next day it’s about 99% gone. All of a sudden in the last couple of weeks, almost every morning her dish is spotless, not even a trace of fumes left in it. I (foolishly) figured that she was really liking the current kind of cat food she was getting. I should have recognized the signs, but I didn’t.

Until last night, when I heard a slurping sound that I thought was Jessie “grooming herself” ,i.e., licking her ass. That’s not unusual, but what was unusual was Joey (who was on my lap) getting very upset by the sound. I looked around to see where Jessie was, and found her at Joey’s bowl, frantically licking the bowl clean and eating the remaining 2/3 or so of Joey’s dinner. Of course, as soon as she saw me she took off with her tail between her legs to go sit at The Long-Suffering Wife’s feet. She thinks I won’t scold her there.

I kept telling her to come with me back into the other room, but she knew that she was in trouble and she wasn’t moving. When I brought the cat food bowl in to put down in front of her, she did the classic ears-back-tail-between-the-legs-belly-on-the-floor shuffle off into the corner, where she sat with her back to me because if she couldn’t see me than I couldn’t see her.

Tonight, now aware of the issue, I kept an eye on her as we watched “Jeopardy”. Sure enough, as soon as we were distracted, she quietly and discreetly started moseying toward the other room where Joey’s dish was. When I hollered at her, she came back into the living room, but only just barely, and as soon as she thought I wasn’t looking, she was headed that way again.

Again I yelled for her to stop, so this time she went off to somewhere I couldn’t see her, waiting for her chance to move again.

Do dogs get senile? She’s not being starved to death by any means and she’s never displayed this behavior before. Is this the equivalent of the 80-year-old who starts robbing banks just because he’s bored and needs attention?

What’s gotten into her?

More importantly, how do we stop it? I don’t want to be the household pet food police for the next few years.

Wacky dog!

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Dogs, Family

Please join the discussion, your comments are encouraged!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.