To the small dog, I am not so much a person as I am the Food Goddess. You can see it in her eyes.
It may be the universal dynamic of canids and their people, but I only know about this dogmatic little sect. Belief carries her through her daily round, comprised as it is of a rigorous series of naps and meals. She wakes, prays, and the Food Goddess provides.
However, it's obvious that the small dog suspects that I -- fickle, fickle deity! -- am liable to abandon her in her hour of need. (What is a grocery-run to Lilly but a test of her belief that I will return? Her vehement prayers and rituals hold the entire world together.)
However full of faith and reverence, the small dog IS an opportunistic believer.
I'm okay with that. Temporary divinity is better than none, and Lilly's pantheon, to be fair, includes a string of lost Food Goddesses before me. A certain theological flexibility works in her religion: she's even welcomed a Food God into her church.
The Food God responded to her worship last summer by including special treats in her dry dog-food breakfast. Trying to speed up the morning routine, Jeff took the shortcut while I was away. Just a sprinkling of parmesan and she went from picky to piggy. And hey-ho, hey-ho it was off to work he went.
As far as Lilly is concerned, cheese is an article of faith. Her prayers have been answered: cheese! (insert sound of heavenly choir -- or better yet, Pink Martini.)
We on Mount Olympus (aka the bed, to which the small dog is forbidden access. Except in special circumstances when her small warm presence is required as organic heating pad.) struggled with the issue. To cheese or not to cheese? On the one hand, she is an oldish dog, liable to drop weight and lose appetite. On the other, she's already fairly insufferable, dog qua dog.
Her Uncle Markie, who runs a home for Wayward Canines, settled the matter. He claims to treat dogs like dogs, and his advice is unusually direct and useful. "Just put some hot water on the dry food," he suggested. "They love that."
The first day of gravy was a joyous day of thanksgiving in the world of the small dog. Her devotion was rewarded. At long last. Not since the bowl ofchicken salad fell to the floor had she experienced such proof of divine favor.
Her ladylike belch at the end of the meal sounded like the word "amen."
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