White Dog, Zsofia, Sachi and Nilla supervised Steve as he worked in the office. They tried to act as if they had no idea of the splendor slowing roasting in the oven, but every so often Steve would catch one of them raising their head just to inhale the aroma filling the house.
Ferguson was not so subtle. The minute Steve put the turkey into the oven to roast, our boy curled up to nap in front of the oven, basking in the warmth generated and guarding the treasure within.
With Ferg's oral melanoma, we have spent the weekend making adjustments to his diet to use nutrition and holistic health as a means to slow the disease. More protein and no sugars was Dr. Julia's suggestion. Additional research has added vitamin rich dark green veggies, a mushroom compound, turmeric (which already spices all of the White Dog Army regular meals), garlic.
Our grocery was offering a holiday sale on fresh organic whole turkeys so Steve picked up two large birds..one for our traditional meal later in the week. And one for a change of pace for the WDA...with the largest portion to be used in preparation of Ferguson's special diet. That bird was in the oven, stuffed with red cabbage and apples to keep it moist. It DID smell wonderful.
When the timer dinged, Steve was preceded by a blizzard of white that raced him to the kitchen to join Fergus. There was a pack of faces pressed against the oven window and wagging tails blocking Steve from even getting close to the oven door.
"You gotta let me check the bird," he told them but no one moved. He put on the oven mitts. "Come on, everybody, move!" Nothing. "Guys! Really! There will be no sample tastes if I can't get the roaster out of the oven." At that the Army fell behind the threshold to the kitchen door, the go-to place when we are doing stove things. Except for Ferguson; he was NOT leaving his post.
"Ferguson, I need you to move, too." Reluctantly Steve's devoted boy moved a step away. "No further Bud." Steve walked him back to the laundry room gate and shut it when he was on the other side. Ferg's look was one of disappointment. "You will get a bite, don't worry."
Finally, Steve was able to turn off the dinging timer and open the oven door. The Army started to press but Steve's "Ahhnnnttahhh" stopped them until he had lifted the pan to the stovetop and closed the door.
When he removed the roaster lid, the escaping steam filled the kitchen with a most delicious cloud. Ferguson whimpered his anticipation. Steve tested the bird. "Needs a little more time, almost there, though"
He pulled back the skin on a thigh and sliced off good sized chunk of turkey. The crowd went wild. He placed it on a plate and shooed the WDA back so that he could return their protein to the oven for finishing.
Then he sliced nine strips of the thigh meat. "Ferguson first," he said as he distributed a taste to each member of the White Dog Army. It met with unanimous approval.
He reset the timer and Ferguson resettled at his post in front of the oven. "The countdown is on," I nodded at the WDA settling around the living room where they could watch Ferguson watching the bird. "They really expect you are going to divvy it all up among them when the timer goes off next."
Steve nodded. "I know. Especially my boy."
"Imagine their joy when they realize we are going to do this AGAIN later in the week."