The other day at Thanksgiving dinner with my family, with my dog sitting beneath the table hoping that a scrap or two would fall her way (nothing did- that's bad form at the dinner table), I got to thinking about a little dog I knew when I was very young. Okay, a little dog that should have been little, but was in fact, not.
I grew up on a lake and a short walk along the shore from us lived friends of the family who not only had dogs themselves but also had many friends who had dogs as well. We quite often found ourselves there for breakfasts, and dinners, and sometimes on hot summer nights we stayed there well past my bedtime while the adults played card games at the large dining room table, me sitting at the table with my mother or my brother watching them play until I couldn't keep my eyes open another moment. One of the friends of these friends, a person whose name is long forgotten from my memory, was an older woman. A very fat older woman with a very fat little dog.
So many meals were spent with those people and that woman (who always seemed to drop in at meal time, curiously enough). And as we passed around the bird, and the vegetables and the homemade cranberry sauce at my house this year, a very, very vivid memory of that lady's dog strapped into a baby's high chair, wearing a bib and being spoon fed at the table jumped from my brain. Whatever was being served to those of us two-legged folk back then on the pond, her black and white chihuahua was also served, cut tiny and mashed just as if it were being fed to a toddler. And don't forget dessert: pie, ice cream, pudding or cake. While the adults played poker, that dog was also seated at the table and fed whatever snacks were available: popcorn, crackers, potato chips, all made safe to eat in little, bite-sized pieces. And always served with that little spoon. After all, only a boorish neanderthal would dare to make a dog eat from a bowl on the floor without so much as a single utensil at their disposal. That would be simply monstrous, not at all unlike stuffing your morbidly obese little animal in a chair made for a human and cramming it full of piles of yet more food.
I also recalled that I never once saw that dog actually walk anywhere on its own. I remember it always being carried, like a baby, against that woman's chest or thrown over her shoulder as if it were in need of a burping (given its diet, it most likely was). This probably accounts for the fact that that dog was easily five times the weight of a normal chihuahua. After all, being constantly stuffed to the gills with food and never getting even a step of exercise would make for one very fat dog. And trust me, it was one very fat dog.
For the life of me I can't remember the dog's name any more than I can remember its idiotic owner's name. I know it had a name like "cutie-baby" or "muffin-pie", something nauseatingly sweet and ridiculously baby-ish (after all what else could a dog such as this be named?). And I know it was a boy as it always wore a baby blue bib, but the finer details escape me (probably for the better).
I hadn't thought of that explosively fat little dog in decades and for whatever reason it popped into my head this holiday it's in there now to stay. So wherever you are in doggie heaven, Fat Little Dog, I hope you're happy. Thinking about you has made me happy because my family and I took a wonderful and very odd little trip down memory lane this past Thanksgiving because of you. I hope in doggie heaven you got to leave your bib behind and finally run free.