When I was an older
pup the boy where I lived would bring a bowl with a few morsels of
leftover human food in it. I was so hungry I hurriedly started eating,
then the boy would snicker, reach down and yank the bowl away. My tummy
would rumble because I was still hungry, but I would get nothing else
to eat that day.
At times the people who lived there brought other
dogs home and we'd get our food all at the same time. I tried to eat my
share fast but the other dogs were quicker and they would growl and
try to shove me away from my food. I tried to fend them off with a
snarl or a nip. Sometimes it worked and I got to finish my meal.
Most of the time I was chained to a tree and
teenagers would come around kicking and teasing me. One day my
collar rotted through and the chain fell away. I was free! I got as far
from that place as possible.
I ran until I could barely move. I heard honking.
I turned my weary head toward the sound and the car covered me. My back
leg snapped and I tumbled to the roadside. Something was also wrong
with my hindquarters. I could not crawl; the pain was overwhelming.
In the gutter I fell into a deep sleep and
awakened when hands gently picked me up. The man holding me was
murmuring softly. He laid me in a metal cubicle, in the back of the
I was taken to a place that smelled of medicines
and other dogs and put in a cage. The next day I was carefully carried
to a room, put on a metal table. An alpha human shaved my front leg,
stuck something into my arm and I drifted away.
I rested and healed. One day I was given a warm
bath and toweled dry. My fur shone and no more bugs pestered me--it
felt great! Soon the people who were there during the day began to take
me out and we would play fetch, run and jump. I was given toys and
treats... and I have never been so happy. I was held, cuddled, given
After I was better a lady took me into a room.
She made loud noises while watching me. I didn't understand, but I was
okay with it. She opened an umbrella near my face, all the while
I guess she was proud of me 'cause all I did was
wag my tail, grinning happily, and when I could I'd reach up, put my
paws on her and give her kisses. She clapped her hands, and then
gathered me to her in a big hug, saying what a good boy I was.
Lastly, she got a bowl and filled it with food. I
got excited--I never tired of getting a meal, having had so few good
ones in my short life. She added water to the kibble and stirred it up
some. Oh, it smelled so good!
When she set it on the floor I went to it
eagerly. While I was eating, out of the corner of my eye I saw what
looked like a hand on a long pole. The hand came up to my bowl. I
nudged the hand away from my food, stepping around to block it.
The hand kept coming so I growled when it took my
bowl and pulled it away from me. I stepped over to get my bowl so I
could finish and, again, the hand was thrust at me.
I was remembering how the boy would tease me--how
the other dogs would come over to me and steal my food. I was now
filled with that same need to protect my meal. I snarled and snapped at
With a broken sigh, the woman called me to her. I
trotted over, panting my smile. I then rolled over, submissively, for a
belly rub. But, the lady was shaking her head, her face scrunched up.
Something was wrong, she'd been crying, was still crying.
She gave me a big hug and I licked her face. She
had been so good to me since they brought me here.
Early the next morning two of the workers came to
my kennel. They pulled me out tenderly, but I could sense something was
not right for them and that scared me. I shivered when one of the women
held me her arms.
I was taken to that same room I had been in when
they made me better. The alpha human was waiting inside. The lady
holding me sobbed and I whined because it all felt wrong.
So scared I felt I was going to wet myself, I
wagged my tail. Is everything all right? I wanted to ask. There
answer. The workers held me on the table. I struggled against their
One of the humans bent over and snuggled close to
my head, pressing me close, holding me tight. The other lady held my
front leg out, away from my body and I felt a sting. A feeling poured
through me, like it did the first time they brought me here, but it was
strange and different. I yelped weakly.
And then I was gone.
Written in love for all the dogs that have been
euthanized because they have been labeled "Food Aggressive".
Copyright 2007 by Kathy Pippig Harris
There are ways this
behavior can be handled. If more than one dog shares a home, feed them
separate. Put one in a kennel and feed him or her there.
If he or she is the only dog in the home,
feed them and leave them alone until they have finished their meal.
Put them with a human who understands why
the dog exhibits "food aggression".
If necessary, don't place them in a home