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The Truth about Dog Food
by Frank F. Baugh

The truth about dog food is that the only creatures that like it are people. Think about it; have you ever seen dogs really eat dog food because they like it? We people, dog's best friends, like it because we can shovel out a bunch into a bowl, set it on the floor for pooch and walk away feeling satisfied that we have avoided animal cruelty for the day. Pooch looks at the offending concoction, turns up the little wet nose and proclaims a hunger strike. Then, if you happen to have taken on cats as pets as well, pooch will go supplement its diet with buried treasures from the kitty-litter box.

I noticed lately that our "foo-foo" dog, a fluffy cocker spaniel with a heart as black as her coat, has taken on this piteous gaze. As a matter of fact, she starts begging whenever any human food is present. That is because she wants scraps, of course. (Some will blame that on her owners' encouragement of the behavior.)

Anyway, at my house with two growing boys (and myself) the scraps wouldn't support the tiniest mouse -- probably why we don't have any. I began to feel sorry for the "foo-foo" dog and decided to supplement her diet with dog food. The next time I went to the grocery there was "dog food" on the list. You know, dog food is expensive! Well, at least the brands with the happy, healthy, smiling dogs pictured on the bag are expensive.

I said to myself, "Ah ha! Those are the bad brands because they have to charge higher for the extra advertising they must spend to move their crummy product." I considered that pretty astute reasoning on my part. When I saw a plain, one color, giant bag of dog food, one-fourth the price of a one-fourth size bag of the frilly stuff, I said to myself, "There's the good stuff," and bought it.

When I got it home I made a huge production of the event for the "foo-foo" dog. "Look, Satan, I've brought dog food!" The "foo-foo" looked excited. I poured up a bowl and set it down. She approached it, sniffed it, and then looked up with what I thought were grateful eyes. I smiled and walked from the kitchen to the den, listening over my shoulder for the ravenous munching of the sumptuous canine repast.

Sure enough, I had hardly reached my child- and animal-battered recliner when I heard the stirring and digging sound of a "foo-foo" dog a-feasting. I turned about to take in the glorious sight, and the bowl was there, and the feasting sounds were there, but there was no "foo-foo" dog in sight. I walked back and there was no "foo-foo" dog in the kitchen. I traced the feasting sounds to their source and found the "foo-foo" dog grazing contentedly in the kitty-litter box.

The dog food proved useless as dog food. I really couldn't find much use for it, either. In a blaze of what I thought brilliance, I tried it out as cat litter. The dog really stopped eating and the cats started going in the bathtub. Then I had a real brainstorm and found that if you spread it around the boxwoods and shrubs, the neighborhood dogs will not come near them. The dog food repels them, as well as cats, possums, skunks and kids! Stick that in your recipe box, Martha Stewart!

The next time I went to the store, I had seen the error of my ways -- and logic -- and resolved to buy better stuff. I still couldn't bring myself to buy the high-end priced dog food. After all, we're talking about food for a creature that will first roll on, then eat a dead goldfish, for Pete's sake. How finicky can dogs be?

I bought some of the mid-priced stuff, a brand that had been around a long time, a brand that makes its own gravy when you pour water on it. When I returned home, after dodging several fleeing dogs that had gotten too close to my shrubbery, I presented it to the "foo-foo" dog and baptized it as directed. The dog sniffed it and looked up with that look again. The look I had mistakenly thought was gratitude I now realized was total, disbelieving contempt. She turned her back and went outside to continue her escape tunnel to freedom and the Qwik Mart up the street. There's always lovely garbage in that parking lot.

I continued the experiment, feeling she hadn't given the stuff a decent chance. I resolved to let hunger force her to at least try it. I think the kids slipped and fed her when I wasn't around because she didn't die or even lose weight, and all my several bowls of effort just dried up, becoming like concrete.

After a month of so, I gave up. I was defeated. As for dog food, it seems to me to be a total waste as dog food. It is packaged for people, and we foolishly bite something a dog won't.

But dog food isn't a total waste: My shrubs are flourishing and I have nice new walk of lovely bowl-shaped paving stones.


Frank Baugh writes: I was born in Nashville in 1956 and grew up in Franklin, Tennessee. I am a graduate of Battle Ground Academy and the University of Mississippi. I have worked all my life in Real Estate and Finance. Currently I still call Franklin, Tennessee, my home, and I work for the State of Tennessee. I am married and have two children. Readers may e-mail me at ffbaugh@yahoo.com

For more great stories, visit Frank at www.ffbaugh.com

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