Carmel Magazine

Summer/Fall 2020

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Page 51 of 171

F or my 13-pound brown-eyed fur baby, too much of a good thing is never enough. It's all about MORE! More rubs behind the ears. More neck massages. More tak- ing me on walks to slow down and sniff the world. More sprawled on the patio chaise catching some rays watching me stooped over pulling weeds. More laptime while I'm on the laptop. And more naptime with me on the couch. As Winnie lays on my chest, I rub her back and ears. Another minute massaging behind the ears and her eyes slowly close. I stop. Her eyes open. Her paw reaches for my paw. More. "…to sleep — to sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there's the rub." For Winifred the only rub is behind the ears. More. MORE! Over the past several months, I have learned a lot from my wise furry friend. Winifred knows when it's time for me to stop reading, writing and otherwise spelunk- ing the internet for enlightenment, and get out of the house. It's time to play! Baseball season may be tardy, but Winnie and I began Spring Training months ago. A sure-pawed shortstop, she can't wait for me to throw hard grounders that bounce over her head. In hot pursuit, she corrals one in her mouth. But does she return it? Nooooo. She races off to hide the ball in some shrubbery deep in our backyard outfield, then returns to homeplate, sits and smiles. More! I throw another grounder. She races after it, hides it and comes back for another. And another. Until 4, 6, 8 stinky tennis balls are hidden about the yard. Which is how I learned to be Winifred's not-so-golden retriever. She knows I need the exercise more than she does and is happy to put me through an afternoon of tennis ball hide and seek. Now you may ask why I need the exercise? Because there is another side of more. The dark side. When more slinks down into never enough! In this case, an affliction running rampant: sheltering in the kitchen with a refrigerator full of food to fill our hunger for more of everything we've stopped getting out there! For Winnie and moi it's more treats for her and more munchies for me during happy hour—or un-happy hour depending on the latest cable updates from the quarreling coaches of the two major league teams competing for our political Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the more I got sucked into the political brouhaha, the more I thoughtlessly grabbed hand- fuls of nuts, chips, Mediterranean matzo and jalapeño cheese spread. My unfettered gluttony was not lost on Winifred who gave me the stink eye. I naturally assumed it was because I had neglected to keep pace doling her treats at the same rate as my grab and gorge. But no. It was much worse; as if she and my wife had had a serious talk, and her burning glare was a shot across the bow of my growing girth. Her continuing glare did make me reconsider my munchy madness. After some reflection (and my third or fourth glass of Pinot Grigio) I came up with a brilliant solution. I now take Winifred's treats—lamb lung fillets, dehydrated cod fish skins, red meat wild weenies—and mix them in with my people treats. Now grabbing a mindless handful from my bowl may include an unexpected sensory adventure! Taste buds snap to attention as something wild or fishy swims down my gullet. While no doubt healthier than my salted, saturated-fatted people treats, the experience has encouraged me to slow down and see that my fingers are picking my yummies and not Winifred's. Grab and gorge has been replaced with peruse and pluck! I believe this concept has great potential for becoming a new diet for primates. Truly, more thoughtful consideration as to what we put in our mouths will keep us in better shape, enabling us to enjoy more of what our dog's want most. More of a happy, healthy us, to keep up with them! A best-selling author in a previous life, Mark Oman is now co- author with Winifred of "Life is Good. I'm a Dog…And You're Not!" available at Mark and Winnie live in Carmel with four-legged brother, Winston, and two-legged wife, Barbara. For more information, email DOG TALES M A R K O M A N I now take Winifred's treats—lamb lung fillets, dehydrated cod fish skins, red meat wild weenies—and mix them in with my people treats. Winifred's Favorite 4-Letter Word 50 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 2 0

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