Edison won't eat his dog food, even though it has fresh meat and veggies in it. He'll eat any people food that might come his way just as long as it isn't mixed in any way with dog food, either by direct hand-feeding him (a no no with little dogs who only have limited tummy space for actual meals even though it's hard to resist that teeny face asking for a treat) or when a tasty tidbit is accidentally dropped by someone in the house (a frequent occurrence when one lives with pigs who possess highly suspect table manners). Either way, Edison won't eat what is served just for him. We tend to go through spells of anorexia every now and again, and when they happen I get nervous. At first I'm fine with it as it's normal for dogs to occasionally not eat much and toy breeds are known for their persnickety eating habits, but when it continues for more than a couple of days the neurotic inner me lunges out and begins to fret about whether he's ill, losing weight or what, if anything, is wrong with my little darling and how serious it might be and of course how to cure it. And the more I think about it, the more tweaked I get. And then I can't eat.
So last night after a longish walk (what was exhausting to a seven inch tall, six pound dog at any rate) and then endless play indoors, he should have been starving, but he wasn't and again turned up his nose at what amounted to the fifth or sixth bowl of food that had gone untouched in the last couple of days. So being my usual retarded and naturally relentlessly nervous self, I refused to go to bed until he ate something. At midnight I decided to get down on the floor and pretend to eat from Edison's latest bowl of fresh food in the hopes that he'd want what I had, which usually works. And sure enough it did. All the yummy noises I was making as I was "nibbling" his food had him rushing over to the bowl, his teensy face jammed into the bowl next to mine to see what was so delicious it had me in virtual paroxysms of joy. If you're going to fake your dog out by pretending to eat its food, there really is no such thing as overacting. The award for Best Dramatic Performance goes to the one who gets the dog to finally eat. And the more fun you appear to be having and the more satisfaction you appear to be getting from his food, the better. But when he realized that it was people food and dog food, he turned up his nose and went back into his little bed a few feet away, but continued to watch my every move.
So I took it to the next level of fake eating: pulling delectable bits from the bowl, "nibbling" them by hand and then off-handedly offering them to Edison to share with me. And this was what worked. Twenty minutes later, one hand slathered in wet dog food and bits of sauteed chicken stuck to rice and dry dog kibble, he had eaten half the bowl and that was enough for me. I know many people in my life think I spoil my dog far too much, what with the enormous wardrobe, the multiple comfy dog beds throughout the house, the thousands of toys (and new ones arriving all the time), and the two sets of colorful porcelain dog dishes in just the right size for a little chihuahua, but when he won't eat, I will do what I have to to ensure that he's getting the nutrients he needs to stay healthy and happy. My mother asked me today if next I'll be putting him in a high chair and a bib and spoon feeding him at the table, and while I don't foresee myself going to that extreme (though it would be cute as shit, however dysfunctional it may be), I will do what I need to do to see that he eats. And if that means getting down on all fours and pantomiming enjoying a bowl of yummy dog food a couple of times a day, every day, then that's what I'll do. Sad, but true. I only wish the food smelled a little better than it does. My nose would certainly appreciate it.