Monday, June 25, 2007

Roast Beef is Not For Puppies

I'll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on Frodo. Mom and I went out to the breeder in the country, to meet "puppy", an eight week old white Bull Terrier. The breeder told us that "puppy" was in the garage. She opened the door and I stepped in first. In the middle of the garage was a giant green bag of dog food. Sticking out of the hole in the top of the bag was a small white bum and a tail whipping back and forth. He'd found the mother lode.

The second thing Frodo did, after the breeder had pulled him out of the bag and set him on the garage floor, was pee indignantly. Then he wandered off to play with "Hammer", the breeder's massive German Shepherd. Hammer jumped in the pond. Frodo stood at the edge and glared at the water. Only after realizing that he couldn't reach Hammer without getting wet, did he turn his attention to us.

In those first moments, he made his priorities clear. Food, peeing, other dogs, then people. After 11 years his pattern hasn't changed. Neither has his taste in food.

His first experience with a roast beef was nearly his last. Dad pulled the juicy cross rib roast out of the roasting pan and set it reverently on the large cutting board on the counter. For some reason, Dad left the kitchen for a few seconds. When we went back in we heard a grief-stricken scream. I ran into the kitchen and saw that Frodo had pulled the entire roast off the cutting board and onto the floor and was digging in.

Dad doesn't usually charge. He's quite big and slow so charging isn't in his repertoire. But that day, he charged. His battle cry would have shamed a Scottish Warlord. Frodo looked up in terror and dropped the roast. Dad snarled something about killing and death and maiming and dogs of questionable parentage and breaking and smashing and beating. Frodo ran and hid under Mom's desk, out of reach.

It's hard watching a parent cry, but my dad wept as he solemnly carried the mangled roast beef to the trash. Later, when Frodo dared to show his face, my father explained loudly to him that "roast beef is not for puppies!" I would have laughed out loud if Dad hadn't been so upset.

Frodo has never stolen a roast beef again. I can't imagine why.
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