The first four months of my live I lived in a shelter in Athens, Greece. Me and my brothers and sisters were brought there by a caring human, she had found us newborn and left alone. We struggled to survive and my brother and I succeeded – we were the thoughest of our litter. After four months my brother and I went to Holland, where we both got adopted.
In the shelter I lived in the puppy quarters. A fun place, you can imagine that! We played together for hours. We also played with the grown up dogs, I had some great friends there too. A lot of these older dogs had been stray dogs. They thought me some valuable lessons about living on the streets. When you live on the streets there is only one thing on your mind: survival. In orde to survive you need food and a safe place to sleep. Some of the former strays I met were masters in getting plenty of food. They taught me how it works. There are two rules: 1 – be polite, always and 2 – chase away any canine that comes close to you and your potential source of food.
Both lessons I incorporated, so they come natural to me now. I thought they might be handy, even though I never became a stray dog. I enhanced the first lesson: I am polite, which means I look eager but not too pushy and I keep my distance. It is important to find the right distance: not too close, but not too far away either. You need to be able to catch the food that is thrown to you:
I made some subtle improvements to the second lesson, too. I chase away competitors and I am very good at that:
Over time I developed new ways of getting yummy food. Like this:
Can you see my tactics? I studied a long time on this one, to get it just right. I look longingly at the human, although what I really want lies in front of me. By not looking at this delicious piece of meat I tell the human: “You are the best human in the world! Do you love me as much as I love you? Please give me the meat!” It takes a lot of self control to do this, I can tell you. But it always works, the human I look so lovingly at will give me the delicious food as a reward.
Mind you: one can only use this specific method with humans one knows very well. Otherwise it will be counter productive, because it is a little bit intrusive.
It is almost christmas, M tells me. Great! I love christmas! Because of the love and peace and warm feelings we all have towards each other…. ha! Just kidding! I mainly love christmas because it means food, plenty of yummy delicious food! It is a time where I can sit in the kitchen for hours, smelling the wonderful smells of good food and anticipating the moment I will get it.
Or a big juicy bone!
My mouth is watering, even when I am writing this. Because I will get things like this, you know. I will eat the herring the Dutch way:
And gnaw on that juicy bone:
Maybe I will even have pizza, for desert. This is my famous pizza pic:
It was so delicious I ate it before I could take a picture. Sorry about that.
Did I mention we are in Italy? That means we are in pizza country! My favorite dish! M and P understand my appetite for pizza and bought me some. It smelled delicious.
I closed my eyes to savour the smell even more, in anticipation of what was coming.
Then I ate it. All of it.
M has been reading a lot of food blogs recently. I know this because when she is looking at this luminous device she calls a computer I doze beside her. So I can read what is on the screen. First I found it interesting to see she is reading these blogs – one never knows what inspiration she gets from them, especially about things I find yummy too. Like recipes for grilled squid or slow cooked beef.
But, first to my surprise and than to my horror (because she explained it to me): there were no pics of animals on these blogs. Instead there were pics of veggies, loads of them, of fruit and seeds. They turned out to be blogs about a special kind of food: vegan food. My canine readers who are ignorant about this will ask me what vegan food is. My more world wise canine readers will roll over now, moaning. Vegan means: no animal products. No meat, no fish, no cheese, no butter, no yoghurt. Not even one tiny little shrimp. Not even honey! (Oh, all right, I don’t care about that).
After I had recovered from the shock, M started explaining to me that she is interested in food, on the whole. Which means she likes learning about food, vegan food as well. She won’t turn into a vegan herself, she assured me, but sometimes maybe she will eat food in this style. But I do not have to worry, because she will feed me meat still. Even when she is having a wonderfully tasty pizza, she won’t give me any of that.
I love pizza! Vegans have pizza too, it turns out! And little white rolls. Mmmmm. Maybe it is not so bad as I thought. Maybe I will join M and eat vegan too. A little, of course. The other day I would like to have squid. Or slow cooked beef.
I love seafood. It has a delicious taste, a gorgeous smell and sometimes it is just lying there, on our beach! Whenever I go on holiday I try to taste new seafood – I am happy to say that so far I tasted shrimps, squid, shells and all kinds of fish.
However, not all seafood is good. Like this. I tasted it once and it was absolutely horrible. Maybe this was because the thing had been dead for some time, but anyway I decided to move it from my bucket list. Only labradors eat horrible stuff like this.
I really like the taste of squid, but I prefer crabs above all things from the sea. Not the big ones, they are too crunchy.
I like the little ones, they are young and tender.
There is nothing like it! What is your favorite seafood?
I can be a very polite dog. Very polite. Priorities, right? We dogs are good in immediately sorting out our priorities. I personally like to go on an Adventure, to go hiking for instance. That is a priority. Snoozing in the sun is another one. But my top priority is food.
So when P is eating a juicy sandwich, I wait politely for him to share it with me. Of course, he always does. Who can resist my hungry look? No one can!
I think I would have been a very successful stray dog, if I had stayed in Athens. I would seduce all these tourists to share their food with me. I am glad I didn’t stay, though. I like it here. Besides, Dutch sandwiches are the best.
My humans are great coffee lovers. I like coffee myself, being a Greek dog I prefer it hot and with some texture to grind between my teeth. P prefers Italian coffee like espresso, preferably made from fair trade beans roasted by small artisanal coffee makers. M likes that too, but in a creamy latte. Yes, my humans make a great fuss about food and drinks. I totally understand, food is my top priority, too! Although I do not mind who made it, as long as I get it.
So this is what happens (a lot) when we go for a walk. We walk and I run and we walk and then we sit down to have a nice drink and sometimes some food, too. This time I was alone with P. Usually I have to scan the surroundings to make sure we are safe. The beach was deserted, as you can see, so I had plenty of time to look cute for the picture.
My humans are beginning to understand what real food is. This is what they brought into the house: a big bone, with lots of meat on it!
They sliced parts of the juicy meat to eat themselves and then they left a good deal to me! First P helped me out a bit. This isn’t necessary, of course. I know perfectly well how to eat a big bone like this. But he likes to help me, so I let him.
Then I finished the bone myself. Do you ever wonder when a dog is really happy? Well, this is it.
As I explained in my very important post about food, rule nr. 6: rest after a good meal. So that’s what I did.
Now the bone is totally gnawed, there is no flesh left. It is time my humans get a new one.
Did I mention I like watching kitchen? It is like watching television, but much, much nicer. There are wonderful smells and the anticipation of something delicious that might me mine. P was very busy in the kitchen and I sat watching him – from a polite distance of course. I wouldn’t dare to come too close! I could be expelled from the kitchen if I did.
He was making pizza. My favorite dish! When it was fi-na-lly done, it looked like this:
Delicious! Some of it was for me, you know. Actually, a big part of it. Yessss. I am a happy dog.
I am still a bit sad, because M is not back home. But P is taking good care of me. He gave me yoghurt! I am a great lover of yoghurt – of Greek yogurt, that is. Of course, I come from Greece!
It is thick and creamy. M and P like it themselves and when they have eaten to their full, they give me the carton. It is a good thing my nose is very long, so I can reach the bottom of the carton and eat all the yoghurt that is left inside.
This usually means that after I finish the yoghurt in the carton, there is still a considerable amount of it left on my nose. It is nice to get all of that into my belly as well, so I use my long tongue.
Sometimes I envy humans because their bodies are so differently build than ours, which enables them to do fab things. Like whistling. I tried to whistle too, believe me, but it was very hard. In fact, I couldn’t do it. But then there are things we dogs can do and humans cannot. Like emptying a narrow carton full of yoghurt right down to the bottom, with our tongue. Humans must envy us because of that.