Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Kibble

Sparky had had the run of the place, entertaining his humans, and living the good life. That is, until the humans' puppy came. They called it “Baby” and a lot of other names, making funny faces as they mouthed the words, so he knew they were words meaning they loved the human puppy more than they loved him. They’d used some of those words and made faces at him when he first came to the house, but not nearly as much as now, with their new hairless and smelly human puppy.

He’d sulked and moped a bit the first few weeks of “Baby’s” intrusion into his world. At first, the big humans watched Sparky, afraid he’d hurt their new puppy. But, after a while, after looking at what the new human puppy did, and didn’t do, Sparky nearly lost interest in it. All it seemed to do was drink from the strange bottles the female human gave him, make horrendously smelly piles of poop (which the humans seemed to hoard in various containers around the house, before throwing them out in the trash can in the alley), and cry loudly and often, mostly in the night.

Still, Sparky didn’t feel too put out. He still got his food twice a day, and all the scratches behind the ears and the pets he wanted. The humans still took him out on walks to his favorite places to smell and pee. They’d tried to make him sleep on the floor in the kitchen, but after a couple of nights of whining and yelping, he’d wormed his way back to his favorite place on the foot of the masters’ bed. Sparky early on had mastered his technique of looking sad and pitiful when the masters tried to change his routine, or didn’t give him enough of his treats. He’d gotten them trained early on and they still responded to his commands.

In fact, since “Baby’s” arrival a month ago, Sparky had managed to score a significant increase in the number and amount of treats he got every day, mostly by looking especially sad and pitiful when the masters were holding the baby, trying to keep it from crying all night long. Still, he wondered why they kept the thing around. It didn’t do any useful task, and couldn’t even fetch a ball or alert the masters that there was a tom cat roaming the alley at night. All it did was eat, poop, cry, and sleep. There was no purpose to this new thing, but he’d long ago given up trying to make sense of most things his masters did. As long as they kept his food bowl full and took him out on walks every day, he’d be content to put up with most of their odd ways.

Unlike any of the puppies he’d known in his life, even back in the big place he was born, where there were lots of puppies and big dogs, this “Baby” was so dumb. It didn’t seem to even figure out where the food was. Instead of feeding itself from the food bowl, it would just lie there, crying and yelling, at any hour of the day, wanting food. Even a new puppy soon figured out how to fill its empty belly, and would scamper around the house until it found its mama’s swollen teat or the bowl of food that was always filled up by humans, every single day. And, any self respecting dog would quickly figure out how to whine and look pathetic and hungry, in order to get a human to open up the treat sack and give the dog a treat. And, it wasn’t much more of a stretch to convince more than one human that treats were needed, even though another human had given them a handful just a few minutes before.

But this human puppy, it was just worthless.

Sparky couldn’t take its stupidity or laziness any longer. After filling his belly at the food bowl, he took a lone kibble in his lips and brought it over to the “Baby”. It was doing its usual stupid trick of lying on its back and waving all of its paws in the air, making odd cooing and gurgling noises. Sparky hoped that if he put the kibble down by the baby, it might even figure out that there was food in the house, and all it had to do was get its pudgy self over to the bowl, and it wouldn’t have to cry or howl anymore, just to fill its belly. He dropped the kibble by the “Baby’s” head; narrowly avoiding getting his ears grabbed by the “Baby’s” front paw, and stepped away. The “Baby” just looked at him and at the kibble, drool pouring out of its mouth, and it just babbled on.

“I give up”, Sparky thought. “This thing is dumber than I’d thought. It can’t even figure out how to feed itself when there’s a full bowl of food just across the room.”


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