The black licorice incident
Most humans (myself included) and dogs LOVE food, but Reggie REALLY REALLY REALY loved food. (Perhaps it bordered on the obsessive.) Part breed characteristic of being a French Bulldog, intense love of food and ravenous eating habits marked a big aspect of Reggie and our fun times together. From early puppy through adult, Reggie was extremely interested in all food and ate anything he could get in his mouth. So, as his human, I had to be quite mindful of his food obsession to make sure things didn't get crazy. I fed him high quality food, treats, and occasional human food. But he didn't discriminate. Anything he could access was fair game like drinking my coffee and opening a bag of cashews when I was not looking. When I WAS looking, he did the same. He would try to eat anything I was eating. He pushed, and pushed, and pushed.
One of my favorite food memories was the black licorice incident. We were visiting family in a large old house with many rooms and places to explore, and Reggie got out of my sight for a hot second. This was never good. He was a dog with no self control, one who defied rules, and always looked to get into stuff. I searched for him everywhere, and eventually I found him in a bedroom on the second floor with a shopping bag of individually wrapped bags of black licorice from Sees Candies. When I got there, he was consuming pieces of licorice as fast as he could. Thankfully, I was able to stop his binge, and even with his mouth covered in black, he felt no guilt. He would have eaten all the bags if I were slower to arrive. And despite some unpleasant licorice poop for several days, he was alright. I wondered what dog would eat licorice like that, all sealed up and out of sight. Oh, Reggie would. The Frenchie was my master As part of being a Frenchie, Reggie was stubborn as F***. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. He commanded energy like I've never seen before--in a room, in a store, walking down the street, everyone stopped. Reggie's energy was enormous. Now I admit I let him run things. At that time, I wasn't interested in being the Alpha, so I allowed him to be. No real harm done--just funny stories that ensued. Reggie was incredibly social and always preferred humans to other animals. He was not a dog that wanted to run in the forest preserve or swim in the lake. Reggie was a very urban dog, and one of our favorite things we did together was walking to the downtown shopping area where we lived, filled with stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, and lots of people. This downtown area was incredibly dog friendly, and Reggie was allowed--actually encouraged--to come into the stores to visit with the humans and receive dog treats. This set the precedent that ALL walks should be headed downtown for people and treats. Reggie would walk full speed en route to downtown because he knew what was waiting for him--a never ending supply of treats. When it was time to head home, he was in complete resistance. He would hunker down on all four legs and shoot me a nasty look out of the corner of his eye and refused to move. This resulted in a long standing dysfunctional pattern of me picking him up and carrying him as far as I could, stopping, and then starting again. Reggie was a hefty dude--about 24 pounds, barrel chest, and dead weight in my arms, he was a chunk to carry. I resorted to giving him a few treats to get him to walk back home, and while that worked for a while, he pushed the boundary all the time. Eventually I found myself giving him a steady stream of treats just to make it home. I know. I enabled it all. Reggie was my master. I didn't mind, though. He was so unbelievably handsome and engaging on all levels, I was willing to let a 24 pound being take me for a walk, or really, a ride.
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