My dog, Goblin, is what dog trainers like to call "food-motivated." She will do anything for a morsel of something good and always tries out her most plaintive puppy dog eyes on every friend who comes to visit for dinner. It's kind of pathetic — especially because begging for food off our plates has never, ever worked. But the endearing-slash-annoying thing about dogs that every dog lover knows is that they never stop hoping.
If I could listen in on Goblin's most misguided inner monologue, I think it would sound a little something like this.
1. You're taking the peanut butter out just for me, aren't you?
Wow, thanks. Wow. Look at that almost-full jar of peanut butter. Usually you wait and give me the jar when there's just a little bit at the bottom, so this is great. And unexpected! A whole jar, almost! Do you see what's going on with my tail? I don't even know what I'll do with that much peanut butter.
... Oh, okay. You're putting some on your toast first. Sure, sure. I get it. I don't mind waiting. Just going to sit here. Staring. Until you — wait, where are you taking it? Back in the fridge? There's been some terrible mistake. I'm going to stand by the fridge and stare at you until you realize — wait, where are you going now?
2. I'm pretty sure my chicken allergy is gone, so I should probably eat some chicken.
You claim that I have an allergy to chicken and that terrible things happen to my digestive system when I eat it, but I have yet to see any scientific proof.
You say that the proof was the terrible mess you had to clean up in the living room that time several months ago when you accidentally gave me treats with chicken in them, but I'll be honest: I don't really remember what happened yesterday, so I'm having a tough time recalling this alleged incident.
You swear I am not getting even a single taste of the chicken you are roasting right now, so I should just get out of your way and stop sniffing the air expectantly. But I really feel like my allergy is gone. Mind over matter! I've been meditating. Why not give me a big piece of that chicken right now and we can settle it once and for all?
Why are you laughing?
3. No one will notice if I keep my nose right next to your plate.
Hey, what's up? I know you're a visitor and we just met, like, an hour ago, but if it's cool with you, I'm just going to keep my nose propped up here on the table, sniffing your dinner while you eat. Don't tell my owners; they won't understand. Probably you shouldn't even look at me, just to be safe. Okay, perfect, thanks. This is great. (Sniiiiiiff.)
Oh, crap. They saw me. Tell them it's okay with you! You don't care! I'm getting sent to bed again. Maybe slip me some cheese later, if you can?
4. Everyone is counting on me to eat this old burrito in the gutter.
When I go outside on walks, I have three main jobs which I take very seriously. First, I protect my family by barking at all friendly strangers who dare greet them or compliment my looks, so I'm basically saving lives daily. Second, I hard-stare any shifty-looking squirrels in the neighborhood, and really let them know who is boss. Third, when there is old, disgusting food that someone has dropped on the ground, it is my job to stealthily eat as much of it as possible before anyone notices. It is a very important job and one that must be done quickly, as I have only seconds before someone realizes that I am not sniffing the gutter, but actually snarfing down giant bites of an old burrito someone has dropped there.
It's not easy and the rewards are few, but if I don't do it, who will?
5. You covered this baby in sweet potato purée as a special treat for me.
Oh, now I get it! I've been wondering for months why you're letting this loud, unpredictable, small person stay over for so long, but now, after seeing how you sat him down and let him dip his face in sweet potato, I understand: His purpose is to give me treats. I'm so sorry I didn't get it before. I'll stop ignoring him and leaving the room whenever he is around. I think I love him! He's dropping so much food on the floor and you're letting me eat it because you're too exhausted to stop me. And he thinks it's funny when I lick his face that tastes like apples. I heard you say you're going to try giving him meat next week — this thing can stay forever!
6. Without constant vigilance, the cat will eat my kibble.
I know you don't believe me, but I'm telling you the cat has plans. Evil plans. He wants to eat my dry dog food, which is why I can never let my guard down. Listen to me! I have to keep an eye on him or he will make his move. And you won't let me eat his food, so if he eats my food, I'll starve. I think that's his plan. He wants me to starve to death, so things can go back to how they used to be when he was the only pet. He's crafty, I'm telling you. Why aren't you listening to me? Can't you see the look in his eyes? I'm doomed!
What do you think your dog is thinking?