Butterfly wants to make our house a home. She does this with her art projects, and by scratching designs in the wood floors and the rugs, but most of all she makes our home her own by spreading kibble into every corner of the apartment. She loves her kibble. She treats each bite like a delicious piece of candy to be savored, and she makes sure to spread the smell of kibble all over her face, so that when she hunkers down to sleep next to me at night, I can share her joy.
She doesn’t believe in just eating her food in the bowl, the way her sister, Cricket, does. Butterfly noses the kibble around, swishing it over the sides of the bowl, creating a kibble fountain. And then she chooses two or three pieces of kibble to eat on the rug, or bring to the bathroom door, or next to my bed, or into the kitchen. When it’s time to go out for a walk, she gulps a mouth full of kibble, dropping pieces like breadcrumbs down the stairs, and choking on the rest, as she runs for the door.
It occurred to me, watching Butterfly’s kibble trail grow, that a lot of humans would appreciate her way of doing things too. Wouldn’t you feel more welcome at home if there was a trail of M&M’s leading to the living room, or peanut butter cups stashed between the books on your bookshelves?
A few months ago we had a visit from two toy terriers. They were fragile little dogs, and on very strict diets that did not include anything as daring as kibble, so we were careful to take the food bowls off the floor, and sweep up the kibble trail so they would not be tempted to hurt their sensitive tummies. But, of course, we couldn’t find everything. One of the little dogs, Milo, squished himself under the bookcase in the hallway, to get at what must have been stray kibble dust. Then he went over to the placemat where we keep the dog bowls and sniffed it centimeter by centimeter, lifting up the edges to see what he could find.
I can relate to this kibble fixation. I see food as comfort too. I’ve always wanted to have an open pantry or Swedish shelving where all of the food is easy to reach and clearly visible. Putting food behind opaque cabinet doors makes it harder for me to believe the food is really there. Some part of my brain is still mired in the Peek-A-Boo stage of development.
If I did not have to worry about weight, or cholesterol, or tummy trouble, I would like to have something like a rotating cake cabinet, like the ones they have at diners, set up in my dining room. I would fill it with homemade cakes, with Buttercream frostings, and chocolate ganache fillings, and marzipan, and lemon curd, and chocolate mousse. There would be seven layer cakes, and Babkas, and apple pies with lattice tops and whipped cream. If I could have that in my dining room, with everything visible at all times, brazenly dancing behind the glass, I think I would feel like I was in heaven.
Maybe I should find a way to make Butterfly’s kibble fountain spin?