Our local animal shelter was having a fund raiser: Lunch with Your Dog. The proceeds would benefit homeless dogs and cats.
It took place at a local restaurant’s outdoor verandah. There were wrought iron tables and chairs. A slate floor with potted plants. All very al fresco. It was the perfect place to have lunch – especially with a dog.
I arrived with Penelope and was given a lunch menu. For humans there was standard fare: hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads. And for their four-legged companions, “beef stew” in a choice of small or large.
I ordered a cheeseburger for me and a small bowl of stew for Penelope. (She’s a beautiful cocker spaniel, we watch her figure. Me more than she.)
Our lunches came. Mine looked like a picture perfect cheeseburger. Penelope’s looked like a dog’s breakfast – or make that a dog’s lunch.
Penelope wolfed down her lunch in 15 seconds or less. Then her big brown eyes burned into my hand, following it to my mouth, back to my plate, back to my mouth. I felt paws on my knee. Was I really going to eat that whole burger? By myself?
A couple arrived with a golden retriever and sat down next to us. They ordered their lunches and a large bowl of stew for their dog. The golden wolfed its lunch down in 15 seconds or less.
You’ve probably heard the saying: What goes up must come down. And if you own a dog, sometimes what goes down must come up. Within 15 seconds or less, the golden woofed his cookies – or stew.
The lady asked the hostess for paper towels and cleaned everything up, in what took a lot more than 15 seconds. Then she ran to the ladies’ room to wash her hands. Her husband, in the meantime, didn’t miss a chomp. He truly was a tune-out champion. The lady came back, sat down, and began eating her chicken salad.
“Are you going to eat all of that?” the husband asked, glancing over his empty plate.
“Are you? Are you?” the golden seemed to ask as his eyes followed her hand to her mouth, back to her plate, and back to her mouth.
The lady gave up and asked for a doggie bag. They left, with the golden retriever sniffing the bag.
It was a successful day for the animals awaiting adoption. About 50 people had come for lunch. And dozens of bowls of stew – large and small – were consumed. All in 15 seconds or less.