Yesterday I was reading an article about 10 Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog or Cat Really Should Not Eat and it brought back memories of Bear and Mesach, two of my former animal companions, who would have strenuously disagreed.
The first dog that I adopted after leaving home was three year-old collie/shepherd mix I called Bear. I adopted her at a very dark time in my life when I truly needed her protection and support, and I came to love her dearly.
However Bear had a few vices, one of which was food. I made sure to keep temptation out of her way at home, but that became more difficult when visiting my family at the holidays.
One year, while we were out of the house, Bear distinguished herself by eating two 1 lb. boxes of chocolates—wrappers and all. I watched her carefully for a while afterward—thankfully she appeared to have a cast iron digestive system. In hindsight I am very grateful that Bear suffered no ill effects from her major over-indulgence as I am now much more aware of how seriously life-threatening even a small amount of chocolate can be for many dogs.
Over time Bear developed quite the reputation among my family members. One day, as I walked past the wooden bowls that always graced the living room side tables at the holidays, my father asked me in all seriousness if we should put them away before we left. I looked at the mounds of assorted whole nuts flanked by handy nutcracker and thought he had lost his mind—and told him so. After all what self-respecting dog would crack walnuts, macadamias, almonds, and Brazil nuts with their teeth?
Yep. When we returned the bowls were on the floor and shells were strewn everywhere. Judging by the mess I calculated that Bear had not only eaten the contents, but also some of the shells. And she had somehow managed to do it without cutting her gums or tearing up her digestive system. And—as I just learned from the article—walnuts and macadamia nuts can cause other serious issues.
After that Bear was affectionately referred to as “hog dog,” and all nuts (and other potential food items) were stored way out of her reach.
His full name was Mithrael Mesach Akeley the III—Mesach for short—and he was a handful from the moment I first laid eyes on him at the pet store. At the time he was very busy plotting how to get out of the cage—it was clear that there was a very bright and active mind behind his cute tabby face.
I was living in Massachusetts, and that summer I decided to try my hand at growing pumpkins. The garden spot was not ideal, but to my great joy I managed to grow one sugar pumpkin to ripeness and decided to celebrate by making a pumpkin pie completely from scratch for the first time.
I followed the recipe through a series of very labor-intensive steps: cleaning the pumpkin (I even roasted the seeds), cutting it up, cooking it, squeezing excess liquid from it with cheesecloth, mashing it, then finally combining it with fresh cream, ground spices and other yummy ingredients. By the time I put the pie in the oven I had a whole new appreciation of how labor-intensive making a pumpkin pie would have been for bakers of old.
But, as I inhaled the tantalizing aroma of the pie as it was baking, I felt a glow of accomplishment. And when I removed it from the oven and gazed upon its perfection I was very proud of myself, and that pumpkin.
I placed the finished pie carefully upon the stove top to cool for a bit before cutting the first slice, and went outside to do something else.
When I returned I found Mesach on top of the stove with his face buried in the pie. I let out a screech that sent him flying (he was no fool), and to my utter and complete disappointment I saw that he had eaten the hot pumpkin filling right out of the pie shell—all that remained was about a tablespoonful. So determined was I to experience at least a taste of this special pie I ate the last tablespoonful—ignoring any thoughts of cat spit. It was DEE-liscious, and I could totally understand why Mesach could not resist the temptation.
I am happy to report that he suffered no ill effects from his indulgence (other than my glaring at him for a while). However, I have not made a pumpkin pie from scratch since.
I recently discovered the world’s best old-fashioned pumpkin pie recipe, which I make with organic canned pumpkin. It is almost as good as that long-ago scratch pie…
Bear and Mesach are now in spirit, but they will always be a part of my holiday memories. And Mesach, you owe me a purrfect pumpkin pie!
May you, your human and animal family have a happy, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving!
Gratitude and blessings,
Rose De Dan, Cougar, Sand and Manitou
A WILD WAY TO HEAL
In private practice since 1996, Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic practitioner, author and artist. As an animal shaman she views her mission as one of building bridges between people and animals through healing sessions, classes, ceremonies and events such as A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.
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