Saturday, December 3, 2016

Buying a dog's favor

For some reason, my son's dog Gaspode and I don't quite get along. I think I'm a likable guy. But as dogs can often sense things about people which people can't sense, perhaps I should tread lightly there. I think, though, that I have found the chink in Gaspode's armor. We each share an affinity for potato chips.

I discovered this during Thanksgiving weekend. My son's family were in town and brought Gaspode along. On Wednesday night, as I munched on wavy potato chips, I offered the dog one. He took it, tentatively, and crunched it down. I offered him another. He took that one less tentatively. Still, he wouldn't quite let me pat his head.

The next day I upped the ante. I bought a bag of sour cream and onion chips. Gaspode walked with uncertainty to our kitchen when he heard me open the bag. He stood in the doorway, staring at me plaintively. "Rule one, dog,' I began, asserting that I was the alpha male, 'I get the first chip'. I ate one. Then I offered him one. He took it gratefully, and waited patiently for another. I had a second before giving him his second. We alternated a few more chips each before I put them away. Gaspode, though, was still slow to let me pet him.

By Friday morning, every time I walked into the pantry he would follow at a safe distance, obviously hoping that I would give him some chips. Yet even when I'd give him a couple or three he remained unwilling to let me touch him, although he had reached the point that I could pet him. He wouldn't wag his tail though. It was getting to where I was almost insulted: sure, I can feed you, but I can't pet you and not get a bit of adoration in return? And geez, I'm supposed to be avoiding potato chips, on doctor's orders, and here I am eating more of them than I have in months trying to curry a dog's favor? I'm risking my health for you, Gaspode.

I'll have his loyalty next time though. Yes, I will. I'm going to go nuclear on him, and he will become my friend. When he visits for Christmas, I'm having honey barbeque potato chips. I defy him to not wag his tail at that.

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