It is morning. Ruby is lying low while I get my coffee going. I can almost hear her thinking, “See? I’m being good.”
Emma takes her cue from the older dog and lies low too. They both know there’s a good chance they’ll get a treat before breakfast, just so I won’t feel so guilty about eating mine before going to feed them.
The tiny Melmac dishes have been part of our household since they belonged to our cats 40 years ago. They are the dogs’ snack dishes now.
I usually crumble half a slice of bread into each dish, add a bit of whatever tasty morsel might be around – a sprinkle of parmesan, a tiny dash of half and half, whatever is handy – and add some warm water. I walk over to the hallway with Emma and Ruby right behind me. Without being told, they each sit in their usual spots, Emma to the right, Ruby to the left. I place the dishes on the floor and as always, Emma looks up at me while Ruby stares at her dish. When I say, “Okay,” they lap up the goodies.
Afterwards, like the good girls they are, they bring me the dishes to put in the sink.
Here is Ruby with her brown dish.
And here is Emma with her cream dish. (Her pictures are often blurry because she is always in motion.)
Then, partially satisfied, they lie at my feet until I’ve had my coffee and toast, knowing that afterwards we’ll go downstairs and they’ll have a real “dog’s breakfast.”
“Manners matter,” Ruby says.
Emma says, “I’m cute.”
“That’s not enough,” the old dog warns.
“And you should follow suit.
Just lie down flat, and roll your eyes
To watch what’s going on.
Pretty soon we’ll get our snack
And breakfast won’t be long.
Sit there patiently and wait.
Never whine or jump.
If you do, we’ll miss our snack
So sit down on your rump.
When the mistress says, ‘Okay!’
We can begin to eat.
You’d better not start in too soon,
She doesn’t like a cheat.
“Oh yeah, but Ruby,” Emma says,
“You always watch your food.
I watch, adoringly, her face,
And capture her good mood.”