Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pork Neck Bones for The Dog

I picked up cooking for my dog from The Man Who Ate Everything author, Jeffrey Steingarten, while prepping for an interview to be his assistant.

The interview never happened (probably a good thing, judging from the typical career track for a journalist these days), but the behavior remained. The dog was diagnosed with high cholesterol last year, so I cracked down on his diet. Recently, though, he had been given a thumbs-up by the doctor, so I decided to cook him up 3 small pork neck bones.

The initial run did not go very well. I nuked the bones for 5 minutes to kill off any weird bugs, then put them in the oven at 425 for about a half-hour. They came out crispy and smelling like heaven, even to me, a longtime mostly-vegetarian.

Which is why I was very surprised that the dog snubbed them. He had been hanging around the kitchen in the hopes of picking up a dropped morsel, so he was delighted when I called him over to me with what, I'm sure, to him looked edible.

I made him do a few tricks, then I dropped a cooled neck bone on the ground. He ran to it, picked it up...and then spat it out and gave me a look that clearly said: "This is no treat."

Keep in mind that this is an animal who will happily munch on clothing, cardboard, and my mink earmuffs if not carefully watched.

I tried again, cutting up the bone, thinking that maybe the pieces were too big. But he was not interested in the slightest. I threw half of the bone out.

Cut to today, when the bones have been sitting in the fridge, growing dried out and fridge-smelling over the course of several days. I was about to condemn them to the trash heap, but then thought: eh, why not, I'll give it a try.

I threw one to the dog and he gobbled the stinky thing up. It was kind of sad. I thought, by his earlier picky eating habits, that he had absorbed some of my personality: become, as my mother says "truly my dog."

On the other hand, I found out this weekend that two of my cousins had to put their dogs to sleep. These were great dogs, who had been with my cousins all of their lives, and been devoted companions on runs, bike-rides, and, of course, at the dinner table.

There are worse things in life than your dog having no taste. And, that said, I think this has been Mookie's last pork neck bone. I want him to live a good long while yet.

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