If you’ve ever known the joys of owning a beagle, you know that the breed comes with all kinds of eccentricities and baggage that show themselves just often enough to keep you in line and remind you who’s really in charge.
When Roxie was a puppy, a friend of mine took care of her for a weekend while we were camping, and upon our return said to me, “She’s just cute enough that all of your friends will want to watch her…ONCE.” Roxie has electrocuted herself once. She has been skunked once. She has escaped from the back yard around five times (including the time she was discovered running down the middle of the golf course behind our subdivision, big ears flapping in the wind). Where our late, great Bijoux had that adorable beagle bay that everyone loves because it sounds so dang cute, Roxie was “blessed” with the annoying type of surprising, blood-curdling howl that scares the bejeezus out of anyone who is hearing it for the first time (and sometimes the second). She does that “reverse sneeze” that is common for the breed, and, well, I love her dearly but it’s embarrassing to take her anywhere.
Roxie will also do anything for food. Anything. She has stolen more food in her seven years of life than Bijoux did in her entire thirteen, I think. Roxie has eaten entire loaves of bread just like her predecessor, and chocolate (never enough to warrant a stomach-pumping, but nonetheless), and crackers, and cookies, and, well, anything she can get by standing on her hind legs and swiping off the countertops or dining room table with her paws. She has even been known to slurp up a glass of milk or soda if I accidentally leave it on the table next to the couch when I get up to get something from the kitchen. She does this without spilling a drop, leaving the glass standing proudly on its coaster as if I put it there fresh out of the dishwasher. It drives me insane. INSANE, I tell you! She will stealthily carry off an empty wrapper that one boy or the other leaves in his trashcan, and lick it for dear life, in case there might be a microscopic crumb of its former contents stuck to the inside.
Not only does she eat anything she can get into her mouth, but she doesn’t even chew. She inhales. When it’s time for her to eat what we intentionally give her (dog food) in the morning and the evening, she sucks up the little nuggets so quickly and violently that over the past couple of months she’s been choking herself. (But it doesn’t stop her from eating, oddly enough.) I worry that one day, she’s going to excitedly run over to her food dish, start her inhaling process, and die because nobody was right there to give her the Heimlich.
I think I’ve found a solution, though.
(Note that this is NOT a sponsored post in any way, shape, or form.)
I read somewhere a couple of weeks ago that you can slow down your rapid-eating dog by putting her food into a container that acts like a puzzle: she has to use her mental and creative skills to figure out how to get the food, and thus doesn’t choke herself to death from the lack of a challenge. I took her to get her nails trimmed today, and remembered to look for this amazing contraption. Lucky for me, they were in stock:
Truth be told, I love this brand. Ages ago we bought one of the smaller toys and stuffed it with dog treats: Roxie, being really smart (as beagles tend to be), learned how to pick up said toy in her teeth and flip her chin so the toy would go airborne before bouncing on the floor, the impact making the treat slot open enough for the treat pieces to pop out. As I stood there at the store today, I imagined the entertainment possibilities for something like this.
Then I saw the picture of the spokesdog, in the corner of the package. She looked very familiar…
As I inspected the package, I had a great laugh:
Contrary to what this company thinks will happen, I know that beagles are not usually truly appreciative about anything, especially something that is going to stand in between them and food. In fact, I figured that the purchase of this meal tool just might cause Roxie to hold a grudge against all four of us for longer than you would think possible, for a dog and all.
As it turns out, we all had a great time! (Mostly us, watching her.) It took her about eight minutes to eat her dinner, as opposed to the 45 seconds it usually takes, and tonight’s mealtime was silent except for the sound of that red plastic Wobbler being pushed all over our living room. It was glorious.
Now if I can just find a way to change the way she howls…