White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army love one thing about Opera Season...dinner is served in the late afternoon before we head up to Santa Fe...nearly FOUR hours earlier than usual. But the early meal is also a signal that soon Steve and I will dress, close the blinds, make sure the water bowls are all full...and then depart.
So there is a bit of stalling and game playing that normally does not take place at mealtime on any other night.
This afternoon it was Pearl and White Dog who tried to keep us home longer by complicating mealtime. White Dog can be a picky eater and uses her eating as a means of subtle protest. Changes to schedules. New foods. Weather. These all can have a role in whether or not her highness dines. We have learned over time to let her make that choice since she self-corrects at the next meal. Today, she ate the chicken garnish but left the rest of the meal. Steve figured we could reoffer it to her when we returned while the others were having post-opera treats.
When Pearl walked away after sniffing her bowl. We were a bit more concerned. Pearl NEVER walks away from her bowl. "Are you feeling all right?" Steve asked her. She gave him a sad look. "Oh-oh." he said, "I hope we will not come home to her having sickies."
I watched her. She went out to the kitchen where the others were eating and watched. She jumped up and sniffed where WD's bowl had been. She certainly seemed interested in eating. Steve tried again but she turned her head from her bowl. Inspiration struck.
"Has Benson finished?" I asked Steve. "Yes, he ate every bite." "OK White Dog always covets his meal...so put HER meal in his bowl. And put Pearl's meal in WD's bowl," I told him. "let's see what happens."
After making the switches, he called Pearl up on the couch where WD usually dines and placed the White Dog's bowl (containing Pearl's meal) in front of her. She bent her head...and did not lift it until the bowl gleamed clean.
At the same time, WD was offered Benson's bowl that held HER meal). Same result. In no time all of the WDA had finished eating dinner and no one would go hungry.
We continued our getting ready routine and I reminded the WDA that when we returned they would enjoy the trout skins and flakes that remained from trout salad prep AND that there was a piece of schnitzel along with white dog-sized plum dumpling. "But remember, my loves, this is a long opera so it will be VERY late. Nap lots."