Codie’s Last Words


When I arrived in Seattle, Codie was not the least pleased to see me. She quickly nipped me and laid down the rules.

I was not to bother her unless she invited me to play. I was not to bump her or roughhouse with her. I was most definitely NOT to get between her and her food.

Codie told me she enjoyed a pampered life and ruled the household as a benevolent princess. She had many human friends, mostly male, who took her on long walks and car rides.

Perhaps her lack of discipline made it hard for her to focus on her journal. Perhaps she just wasn’t interested. Whatever the cause, Codie made only a halfhearted attempt to write her life’s story. And so we are left with a mere handful of journal entries. This, unfortunately, is her last entry written six months before she left us.

Codie’s Journal, Part IV

I awoke stiff and somewhat disoriented. Mom carefully cushioned my leap off the end of the bed. More than once she had seen my old legs give way as I collapsed awkwardly onto the carpet. I am motivated to leave the bed only for my breakfast. The one requirement is that I attend to my toilet before eating. That I gladly do for the pleasure of the home cooked gruel she makes for me.

Other companion animals have told me their people do not cook for them. How very strange. My mom derives great joy from preparing my meals. Once, when my food bucket was empty, she cooked me fresh oatmeal with apples and cottage cheese. It was delightful, though the quantity was lacking.

As you know, my father was large for his breed and struggled with obesity most of his life. I inherited the joys of fine dining from my father. I was only five weeks old when I devoured a poinsettia plant at my birth home. I don’t remember the details, but I was told my trip to the vet and the medicine to toss my stomach contents was quite expensive.

At my birth home I soon learned about horse muffins. We young ones would wait with excitement as the horse lifted its tail. What magnificent droppings those horses left us. We would run to see who could grab the first one. Fortunately there were always plenty to share. Why humans find this objectionable, I do not know. Fresh and warm from the horse, there is not a better treat for a canine.

For years I enjoyed eating to excess. I lived to eat. I would gobble up anything that looked remotely like food. In my zeal to consume, I occasionally swallowed something that was not quite food. It was half way down my throat before I realized I did not care for orange peel. Mom tried everything to keep my weight under control, but despite her best efforts I quickly blossomed to 73 pounds. I remember the mocking voice of my first vet, “My, my….. we like our food…”

I was put on a prescription diet food made principally of peanut shells. Even that was pleasantly edible and I maintained my proportions. I was deprived of treats except on rare occasions. Mom read all she could about commercial dog food and finally decided I would not lose weight unless she cooked for me. And so began her lifelong commitment to making my food.

Ground turkey, brown rice, vegetables and fruit, nutritional supplements and anything else she could think of went into my homemade gruel. Laughingly referred to as my slop or my bucket, friends marveled at the delights she prepared for me. Leftovers from the finest restaurants, scraps of steak, Caesar salad, all went into my bucket. I loved every bite of it even as I gradually faded to a mere 55 pounds, deemed my perfect weight by her beloved Dr. Sweetness.

I will tell more of Dr. Sweetness another time. His skills saved my life on more than one occasion. But all this talk of food has made me hungry. I must see if some crumbs fell from the table last night.  Or perhaps someone forgot and left a tasty morsel too close to the counter’s edge. I must go for now.

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