Monday, November 8, 2010

The Sting

Lucy's new 'thing' is getting up where the food is.  She would have made a great circus dog, because she is quite good at balancing on her hind legs and walking around like a meerkat when meals are being prepared.  We use her full name, which at this point is simply, "Lucy, NO", and bat her away.  We caught her a few times this summer on the outside table, for which we scolded and shooed her.  But inside is a different matter.  Outside could be a casual, "Oh, I thought it was part of the deck railing...", but inside the dogs know who eats where.

Last week, Lucy hopped up on the kitchen table.  Just like, "No big deal, I can do it so why shouldn't I?".  *Girl!*  She was promptly put in her box for time out while my Danny Tanner-esque hubby could bleach down the whole table.  On family game night, we had left a community bowl of chips out.  Apparently, Lucy considered herself part of that community.  We assured her otherwise; back to the box. 

I don't know if you have kids like this in your family, but mine are wanderers.  Many meal time conversations go something like this:

Me: (noticing there's a mostly full plate and an empty seat where a child once was)
"Umm, Nick?  Where are you?"
Nick:  rushing back to table "Oh, yeah, right.  Sorry Mom."
Me:  "Yeah, come finish"
notice I am missing someone else...
Zack: crickets chirping
Me: "Zack!"
Nick: "Oh, he left."
Me: "Left, where?"
Nick: crickets chirping
Me: "I guess if you're not hungry for your dinners you must be too full for dessert"
Both boys: out of breath, rushing back to the table "We're here!"
Nick: "I just went to find Zack"
Zack: "What are we having again?"

We were having one of such evenings last week where I had given up trying to get people to finish their food.  I must not have had dessert for bribing.  Zack had wandered away and left his plate on the table.  A while later someone said, "Oh, no!  Lucy's eating from Zack's plate!"  We shooed her off, and my husband said, "In the box!"  My wheels were churning; I had to find a way to teach her not to do this, not just keep throwing her in the box. (plus, I was almost out of bleach)  What if, instead of the rapturously wonderful food that is normally on the plates(stop snickering!), there was something awful instead?  That's it!  We needed a sting operation.  The Agent?  Cayenne pepper!

I generously sprinkled the edges of the food with the deterrent.  I instructed the kids to let Lucy out of the box, and just act normally.  (No you can't coax her up to see what happens!)  We didn't want her to get in trouble - or to get sick, that's why I only sprinkled the edges.  We just wanted to go about our business and let her learn her lesson once and for all.  Eventually we stopped staring, waiting for her to take the bait.  The boys scampered off to play Battle for Middle Earth upstairs, Alex settled in to knit and watch t.v., and I came out to my computer(shocking, I know).

"Oh!  Mom!  Lucy's on the table, and she's eating the food!", Alex suddenly cried from the family room.  In retrospect, I did hear that familiar dog-tag jingle coming from a higher-than-normal altitude in the kitchen, but as all too often, I was absorbed in the world of the intangible.  I was almost too shocked for "back in the box".  How could the sting not have worked?  "Mom!  Lucy ate around the pepper.", Alex incredulously observed.  Mouths gaping, we stood there examining the plate.  Yup.  Lucy had skipped over the peppered edges of the stroganoff, and devoured the center. 

To her credit, Lucy has not gotten up on the table since then.  Perhaps the stroganoff was a deterrent in and of itself(yeah, not what I had envisioned when I started cooking dinner that evening...)  Perhaps Lucy had taken a bite of the *seasoned* portion, and then quickly ate the center of the dish to get the taste out of her mouth.  Who knows.  Here's to hoping for no more hopping up on tables, and perhaps to a new stroganoff recipe.  Anyone got a good one?


  1.'re becoming the Erma Bombeck of the doggy world...too funny!!! Sorry, I don't have a great stroganoff recipe...mine is usually just a bit of this(sour cream, most likely) and a bit of that (Worstershire sauce, onions, etc.) but nothing spectacular.

  2. Wow! Thanks for that incredible comparison. I Love Erma. I keep a WORD doc. of favorite sayings I come across, and she's a reoccurring guest:)