By the way...

“Git along little doggie?” No. I must “Git along.”


If I am enjoying a good book at 4:00 p.m., forget it. My furry wonderment will bounce up her doggie stairs to check me out. She’ll plant her face an inch from mine, smile, wag her tail and march in place until I respond to her. “Git along little Mommy. Find your bookmark,” Lily is saying. “It’s time for my treat. Follow me into the kitchen.” Today The Wright Brothers (David McCullough) will have to wait.

Most pets are super-aware of the passing of time. Laptop, my cat, will let me know it’s time for her second meal of the day, but she’s less proactive than Lily. She, too, needs attention at four, but I think she somehow bribes the dog to do the work of getting me moving. SHE can’t be bothered and enjoys watching the dog make a fool of herself. But when I rise and go into the kitchen, the cat races through the house and goes to her “FEED ME” spot, giving me a glassy stare then marching in place until I feed her.

I started giving Lily a treat when I began feeding Laptop her dinner at four p.m., and felt sorry for the dog. Lily eats her main meal at noon, so years ago I began to give her a small goodie in the afternoon. It could be a few miniature healthy-baked cookies from a farmer’s market, a “Greenie,” or a doggie-style bacon strip. And sometimes, when it’s been raining all day long and her boredom is palpable, I’ll give her a special bully stick that lasts for days.

Are we slaves to our dogs? No kidding. Just walk into a pet store and check out the 100s, maybe 1,000s of items of clothing, pet toys and food. We must now review every dog item that goes into an animal’s mouth. God forbid it should come from China. Wish I were as careful with what I eat.

If you are looking for a Christmas present for your pooch, here’s something that might help. In a recent issue of The New York Times Sunday Magazine, in an article called “Take Two: A Dual Review of What’s New,” we learn we can buy a webcam object that owners of pets can use to remotely feed their pet: it’s a Doggy Treat Cam Dispenser, much like a Pez machine. No, it’s not on a timer. The owner simply presses a spot on the machine and a dog (or I guess a cat) treat releases itself onto the floor. What a gimmick! The dog’s “master” can see the animal on this machine, speak to it, take its picture, and send off a treat. Look it up on

In the same article, I learned of a furry abridgment of Pride and Prejudice. The main characters? Guinea pigs. It was called “Romance for Rodents.” ($13, Salman Rushdie commented that this might be the definitive version of P & P. He suggested War and Peace might be similarly shortened, “as a service to mankind.” Bear Grylls, the British survivalist and adventurer, commented that he’s eaten many rodents over the years, adding, “I’ve just had a desert mouse that I stewed in urine.” Too much information. On the other hand, he also said he prefers sleeping in a $700 tent to sleeping on a rancid camel carcass. Maybe he doesn’t mind if the camel carcass is not rancid.