It is common practice in our house to let Chuck lick our food plates once we are finished with our meals. He likes to pretend that he doesn’t notice that I’m preparing dinner, will come up next to my legs and slowly press his body into my shins while I’m standing at the stove as if to say, “Excuse me, but did you realize that I’m not even paying attention to the fact that there is a pound of ground beef cooking in its own fat a foot above my head? Look how calmly I am ignoring it.”
We use mealtimes as a way for him to practice his patience as well, because he’s not allowed to lick a single drop of leftover food until he has performed a series of tasks, usually a “sit,” a “roll-over,” and a very long, exaggerated “wait.” A few months ago I posted a video of Chuck trying to roll-over before being rewarded with the pot I use to cook spaghetti sauce, and since that video he has become so anxious about the reward that he will automatically and uncontrollably start rolling over — and over and over — when I reach up into the cabinet and pull out a plate, like a furry, floppy-eared steamroller.
Last week I got a pretty disgusted email concerning this when I mentioned that Jon put his clogs in the dishwasher, and that I thought it was gross:
You let your dog LICK THE LEFTOVERS OFF YOUR PLATES AND POTS AND PANS. EEEEUUUUUWWWWWW!!!!!!! As evidenced by video!! The same dog you openly share who has eaten your childâ€™s shit off the floor. I can only hope and THEN assume that you then also run said dishes through the dishwasher. That is far more disgusting then [sic] Jon washing his clogs in the dishwasher.
My first response to this email is: somewhere a sad document is crying because this person’s email stole all its exclamation points. My second response is: after Chuck has eaten shit you can THEN assume that he’s not allowed to lick our plates because I’m busy using his tongue to floss between my teeth. Give me some credit.
And can I just take a moment to say how thankful I am that most of my readers are supportive and non-moronic? That when I posted about Jon washing his clogs in the dishwasher, most of the email I got was moderate and thoughtful in its use of punctuation, that only a handful of them accused me of being an opportunistic whore for complaining about a stupid little sore on my arm when so many other people are going through much bigger and more meaningful problems. My only response to those emails is: do you really have nothing better to do in your life than write a complete stranger to tell her that her cancer isn’t serious enough? Really? Because my toilet needs to be cleaned, and I volunteer you.
Thank you, majority of my readers, for letting me have my moment of freak-out last week.
Recently Chuck has been licking our plates across the floor, often from one room into another. I once gave him my plate after I had eaten a burrito, and when the melted cheese wouldn’t come off he licked the plate from the dining room through the kitchen, around the corner into the hallway all the way under the door into our bedroom. Jon stubbed his toe on the plate that night as we were getting ready for bed, and when he asked why there was a dinner plate on the floor in our bedroom I said, “YOU try licking hardened melted cheese off a surface without using your hands and see which room you end up in.”
The other night we had a frozen lasagna, and afterward we let Chuck lick the cardboard tray it was cooked in. He was so determined to eat the cooked sauce that was stuck to its sides that he licked the tray underneath the dining room table, through the legs of a chair, underneath the piano bench, and then back through the legs of another chair. The dog is serious about his crumbs.