Saturday, October 4, 2008

Animal medicine

I brought Max to the vet Thursday and left armed with antibiotics, medicated wipes and a special shampoo. The regimen is as follows:

  1. Antibiotics twice a day after meals

  2. Shampoo twice a week, fill a pan with water with quarter amount of shampoo, let feet soak for 10 minutes

  3. Wipes are used whenever I see him licking his paws

The major problem with such a regimen lays in the shampoo. Dogs don't like to stand still in water for 10 minutes. it's not natural to them. Luckily, we bathed Max once a week or more when he was a puppy to get him used to it. Max doesn't fight the bath, he doesn't enjoy it either. He stands in the tub, looking defeated and pathetic. So last night I was in my bathroom with Max in a roasting pan, ankle-deep in the shampoo and water. For a moment I couldn't help laughing. I imagined how strange this was, like I was training him to willingly stand in a roasting pan, marinating, only to be cooked later. Max would not be good eating. He has skinny little legs and not much meat on the torso either. Next time we're performing this cleansing ritual, I'll take pictures and post them. UPDATE!

Today is the second time this year I attempted to make apple crisp. Last year I made pan after pan of delicious cinnamon-y goodness. This year, I've lost my touch. The first one, i used oatmeal, and it didn't cook for some reason. I left it in the oven for 40 minutes hoping the oatmeal would brown. It didn't. I was left with applesauce with dry oatmeal on top.
The apple crisp I made today turned out better, I used crushed up Life cereal. It still wasn't as good as the graham cracker ones I made last year. I'm done experimenting with it. I know what works, and I'm sticking to it.

I've been thinking more and more lately how animals have learned how easy it is to survive my manipulating humans. I was out to lunch today with Dan and my father, sitting out on the patio of a delightful little Italian place on Newbury Street called Bottega Fiorentina. I looked to my side and saw some sparrows hopping around looking for food. One of them made eye contact with me, and then hopped towards me. She looked up at me, cocking her head, and twittering. She knew I would think she was adorable and that I would throw her some crumbs. She has seen humans do this before, and knew just what to do to get me to respond. Eye contact, twittering and moving towards me. It was just what Max does when he's begging for scraps. Eye contact, soft noises and moving towards me. The sparrow has no idea that I think she's cute and that's why I feed her. She just knows some humans respond in a certain way when certain behavior is displayed. She's been trained by experience and by learning from other birds.
Technically, most pets are social parasites. Most modern pets do not complete the tasks that historically made them valuable to humans. Most cats don't catch mice, most dogs don't have to herd, haul, or hunt. They give us affection, behavior natural to their pack driven instincts, and we give them food, shelter, water and affection. For them, it's a free ride, just like being a kid, except pets won't carry on our genes. I hear so many pet-critics complain "I hate when people refer to their pets as their children." Why? Our maternal and paternal instincts plus our natural desire for affection is why we choose to keep pets. It's fulfilling a need we have would normally have to fill with a child, but since children are markedly more expensive and difficult to care for than animals, some of us choose animals. Our instincts demand we treat them as our young, why shouldn't we refer to them as such? I just seems to make sense.

I learned today that although I was taught to think it's traditional to serve sake warm. Apparently, it's now theorized that sake only started to be served hot around WWII when the quality of sake went downhill due to scarcity of traditional ingredients. However, sake is still served hot, warm or cold because it is up to the drinker on how to consume it, although higher end sakes are recommended at room temperature or chilled.


No comments: