This suggestion caused me to ponder....which caused me, of course, to have a psychic revelation...
I am so used to the way I write this blog, it is a kind of ritual, so to speak. And it made me think of how much we, and other animals, are creatures of habit.
I brush my teeth the exact same way, every time. I have a specific way i wash my face, put on my various creams and hair products, put on my make-up, and if I try to do these things in a different order, I inevitably forget one of the items, like blush, or the eyeliner on one of my eyes, and I wind up looking a bit...odd.
If Steve and I go to Half Moon Bay, one of our favorite places in this area, we always go to the same place and do relatively the same thing. One day Steve suggested going to a different beach, and i immediately felt agitated. "But...but...that's not what we DO!!"
Our puppy Tuco, is, we realized recently, even more of a creature of habit than we are.
On the weekdays, Steve gets up around 6am, takes Tuco out for a pee, and gives him his breakfast. Then he puts Tuco back in his crate and leaves for work.
What Tuco doesn't understand is the concept of a weekend. So even though Steve doesn't need to wake up at 6am on Saturday and Sunday, right around that time, Saturday and Sunday, there goes Tuco, barking away to the sound of his interior alarm clock, telling us it's time to give him his breakfast and take him out. Because that is what we normally do every day.
The same goes for the ritual around actually eating his food. As soon as Tuco hears the sound of a Tupperware container being opened, or the sound of his metal bowl on the counter, he comes running into the kitchen, where he lies on the floor and waits for his meal.
Once we have finished preparing the food, we have him go into his crate and lie down, then we say "OK!" and he runs out, and either sits on his mat or goes right to the place-mat, depending on where we have put his food.
Then he eats, and when he has finished, we give him an extra lick of food off the spoon, and out of the measuring cup. Then mealtime is over.
The other night, Steve was already asleep, and I started to prepare Tuco's lunch for the next day, thinking it would be fine since he'd already had his dinner. Boy, was I wrong.
The second he heard that Tupperware open, there he was, by my side, staring up at me with those eyes. I tried to ignore him, figuring he would remember he'd already eaten and go back to snoozing in his bed.
I finished preparing his food, put everything away, put Tuco in his crate, and tried to get in bed.
Tuco went berserk. I was violating every part of the ritual...this is not how we do things!!! What was I doing??!!
OK, I thought, I'll give him one of his little frozen treats in his crate, and after he eats that, he'll go to sleep. Wrong again. As soon as he finished that treat, the barking started again.
And that was when I realized it wasn't about the act of eating; it was about all of the rituals we do surrounding the eating. Those were what he needed to do.
So that's what we did. I let him out of his crate, and then I had him go back in. Then I said "ok" and he ran out, and I gave him the tiniest bite of food, let him lick the spoon, and put him back in his crate. Where, perfectly contented, he went to sleep, ritual completed.
The final one I'll mention is our trips to Peet's coffee. There is a Peet's a couple of blocks from our house, and almost every day we walk Tuco there, sit outside with him and enjoy a drink. He loves going there. He skips ahead as we get closer, head up, and beelines straight for an outside table.
The problem comes when we try to walk him on a different route, or indeed, try to take him somewhere other than Peet's. He knows the different routes to get there, and if he senses we are not going that way, he will lie down and refuse to move. Be it in the middle of the sidewalk, or the middle of an intersection, he will lie down and not budge, so your options are to pick him up, drag him across the pavement like a sack of potatoes, tempt him with irresistable treats, or turn around and walk toward Peet's.
I have tried them all, with varying degrees of success. I have run ahead of him with an open can of baby food, which is effective but messy; and I have pulled him, but people look at you strangely when you walk around dragging a limp dog behind you, and I have tried to pick him up, but often he just lies down luxuriantly and waits to have his belly rubbed, which is very cute to the passing motorists who laugh at me stuck there in the middle of the road with my prone pup, but a bit frustrating for me.
So often, he wins, and we head over to Peet's. It is, after all, what we do.
the Alexander Valley, CA.
A relatively new winery, the 2005 was their inaugural vintage, and is a Bordeaux blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with small amounts of Malbec and Petit Verdot.
This wine is ripe and fruity, but not overly so, with beautiful black and red fruits along with earth and spice. What is so nice about this wine is its round plush mouthfeel and balance. Neither alcohol, acid nor tannins shout out to be heard. Instead they all work together.
A while back, at the restaurant, we had a delicious venison dish, with a dried cherry sauce. I think it was cherry, there may have been some other berries in there too. But the sauce was kind of sweet and fruity, and that is what I would want to eat while drinking this wine.
However, since i can count on no hands the number of times I have had venison with cherry sauce in my own home, I would also just drink this wine by itself. With Steve.
It's kind of what we do.