Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2007

The simple comfort of cold ice cream

Dairy treats in moderation can reward canines for close companionship

September 13, 2007

I have, in past articles, let on to one of our favorite pleasures in life -- a trip to the local ice cream store. This is as 'American' as baseball or football, but I must admit, I have included my beloved old girl Jessie, our 15-year old sheltie, in on our trips to Dairy Queen.

Mind you, I do not professionally, as a doctor of animal healing arts, condone the regular practice of feeding ice cream to our pets. But I happened to experience such a simple pleasure as this the other hot evening.

Here goes the story ...

Once again, my lovely wife, Lea, had outdone herself with filling my belly full of home-cooked edibles. I am always appreciative of her efforts and find ways to return the favor, usually.

Knowing her passion for the dairy man's wonderful creation of ice cream equals my own passion, I smiled at her and replied, "It's been a long time since we've made an ice cream run, hasn't it?"

It wasn't long thereafter before her reply was made and we were out the door, piling in the Volvo station wagon. As I turned the ignition over, I peered out the window and there stood old Jessie looking at me with those longing eyes.

I could read the expression on her brow, 'Pretty, pretty please, won't you take me too? Who knows, it might be my last ..."

I opened the door and she leaped, as always, into my lap. But this time, I caught her in mid-air, nullifying the crash of her feeble attempt.

At her age, she got special treatment. She settled down in the back seat and off we went, in a cloud of dust, down our country lane to the big city.

Once we had ordered our treats, we approached the drive-up window and I had an idea. When the attendant asked for our money and gave us our order, I blurted out, "Do you have doggie treats?"

She replied," Sure, just a minute."

Soon, she returned with a small cup of soft-serve vanilla ice cream. I even salivated when I saw it.

Lea placed the little cup at Jessie's feet and we paused to take in her reaction. I looked behind at the impatient glare of the guy behind me and quickly put my transmission in gear.

As we drove around Eudora (I sure wish De Soto would get a Dairy Queen), you could hear the tender, quiet licks of Jessie's tongue as she devoured her portion. Once finished, I looked in the rearview mirror to find my pooch starting in on the Styrofoam.

I yelled at Lea and we averted a big problem.

Her eyes betrayed a longing for more. In this precious, simple moment, Lea and I sensed one of the joys of pet ownership.

I reflected back over Jessie's 15 years and could not remember when we deliberately fed her ice cream. So, as I justified my sinful action, I was comforted in this simple pleasure and reveled in how much comfort Jessie has been in our lives.

Surely, a little ice cream once in a while cannot hurt our canines -- or felines -- as a reward for their companionship. As my doctor tells me, do all things in moderation.

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