(This was a May 1998 story - but once a Catholic, always a Catholic...right?)
You may know that there's a Knights of Columbus hall behind our house, facing Northwest Highway. Of course they have good ol' Catholic fish fries every Friday night. Their food service output also seems to include an awful lot of fried chicken, since it's usually chicken bones that Marley runs after in the vacant lot between us and the Hall.
Last Saturday one of our neighbors had a garage sale and since shoppers were parking in the alley all day, there was just a plethora of scents for Marley to explore. He was diving into so many clumps of grass that I stopped monitoring him closely, falsely assuming that he wouldn't hurt himself.
Next thing I knew, Marley was munching on a large object. Of course he ignored my command to "drop it" and I had to grab his collar with one hand and insert my other hand between his jaws to get the thing out. I assumed the round, hard thing with a rough surface was some kind of weird apple or nut?, I didn't really care WHAT it was but I knew it wasn't something Marley needed to eat. Since I was still holding onto Marley with one hand I just threw the apple a distance away and hauled him back to the pavement. He repaid my care and concern by immediately rooting up and trying to chew several patches of aluminum foil that have been stuck to the alley pavement for weeks. "Drop!...drop!...Marley, drop!" It really is amazing that no one ever runs out of their house to save this poor little dog from my shrewish screams.
Unbelievably, I keep forgetting the lesson I thought I'd learned when Marley was younger, "If you throw it...he will find it." All discards MUST be placed in a closed container (preferably a neighbor's trash can).
First thing Sunday morning, the nasty round thing (having aged even more overnight and presumably accumulated more bugs, vermin, or whatever) was back in Marley's mouth. This time when I tried to pry it out it seemed much softer, and broke in half. I AGAIN, STUPIDLY, threw the fallen half away (my aim is never far enough) and tried to get out the remaining piece...from Marley's mouth.
I ended up with a small amount smeared on my fingers and realized it was...Good Grief, a hush puppy. While I was staring at the cornbread goo, Marley (although still on a very short leash) instantaneously managed to go after the piece I had thrown while gulping down what was still in his mouth.
I guess on Friday morning the thing was still crisply (!) fried, but overnight on Saturday it had accumulated moisture from the grass.
Despite my usual fears, the hush puppy didn't seem to disturb Marley's digestion at all. I guess, all in all, it's a much safer thing for him to eat than chicken bones.
I guess he can't help his corn pone craving...wasn't his breed bred to assist with manly hunting/fishing expeditions? I think they call them "hush puppies" because campers would cook the corn meal and throw it to the baying huntin' dogs ("Hush, puppy!") to distract the dogs from the scent of the other food on the campfire. That's what my mother's old Betty Crocker cookbook says, anyway.
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- ▼ April (12)