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Friday, November 27, 2009

Diva: The Dark Side

Diva is a good girl, except when provoked by Thanksgiving Turkey!
My 13 year old, mild mannered, previously obedient, Lassie look-a-like, collie was overcome by 6 hours of odiferously splendiferous waftings coming from my oven.
From the moment that I unwrapped the raw bird to begin seasoning, on the day before the Thanksgiving cook-a-thon, Diva's long pointy nose lifted straight up into the air, twitching, as a cold, moist Geiger counter of poultry.
From our beginnings together, Diva has been a good citizen. She is gracious in the company of children and other dogs; she even has a few cat friends. "Out" has been a sure fire command to release whatever was in her mouth, from a ball to a ham sandwich.
Diva has become deaf with age and more and more, marches to her own drummer.
Yesterday the SS Good Behavior ran aground on the rocks of temptation and baser impulse. Drawn in by the siren song promise of giblets and gravy; moral compass spun awry; the possibilities of a pointy nose and a broken cupboard door; behind which lurked a Pandora's box (otherwise known as the kitchen bin or trash can) turned my exemplary canine into The Princess of Darkness.
A couple of times during our evening festivities I noticed that Diva was eating something. Twice I removed slices of bread from her mouth, before understanding that, due to lack of table space, someone had placed the bread basket on the floor. Next, I saw her with her head in the kitchen bin/trash and looked for someone to blame who was fool enough to have left it open.
I happened to be watching later on when Diva inserted her nose into the small gap between the door and the cabinet and pulled it open to reveal her sought after treasure. She grabbed her trophy, which was a whole turkey wing; eight inches of potential harm to an old dog; and put her head down in an attempt to complete a chew/swallow manoeuvre before having a human hand (mine) thrust into her jaws to rescue her from herself. I was unable to grab fast enough and I couldn't believe the whole bony thing had gone down her throat. I was simultaneously preparing to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre and wondering about the possibility of getting her to the 24-Hour veterinary clinic in time when I was lucky enough to be presented with a second chance. Thank goodness that the turkey came back out for an encore bow. Diva made a valiant effort to crunch down on the turkey, catching my fingers in her slathering maw for good measure.
Poor girl. Dreams of next Thanksgiving are all I left her. For me it was a happy ending. Diva's not convinced.


  1. Ah bless. I have two geriatric delinquents at home too. They try so hard to be good, just not hard enough sometimes. One of them, in her younger days, stole the whole turkey right off the table, fortunately we had eaten and it was the remains, I spent the next week finding festering turkey parts hidden all over the house. Lovely!

  2. Alas, a tale also common to my abode. I have an auld faithful friend who exists merely to steal food fae the fridge, and sleep at the drop of a hat.

    It's little to endure considering his 13 years of faithful companionship by my side.

  3. Diva sounds like a grand old lady who knows what she likes. Glad to hear that you saved her from herself though.

  4. Eyes in the back of your head...

    Just like the good mother that you are.

    Diva, the old sweetie, is fortunate to have you watching over her! At least she's not a feral grandchilden...

    And if I'm not mad, isn't that a portrait that the French Artist Husband did of her up there?

  5. hahahahahahahhaaa!.. It's incredible how quickly our beautiful companions turn to wolves isn't it! I admire old dogs for their attitude, they have the wisdom to know they can pretend not to hear and will be forgiven the odd rebellious act. Of course, my dogs are positive angels, you'd never find them in the middle of the kitchen table plotting the leap to the bread bin :-)

  6. Aw, this was written so great and I just want to give Diva a big hug! Love her name and the beautiful picture of her. What a vivid Thanksgiving memory you have left me with.

  7. My wonderful old Kate, when she was around 18 her hearing went, or so I thought. She heard what and when she wanted. Old dogs are such a gift.

  8. Dogs celebrate Thanksgiving too. She just wanted to be part of the action, poor girl.

  9. Ah Diva ! How terrible those baser impulses can be, driving even the best bred beasts to temptation and temporary insanity...

    That turkey must have smelled gobblingly good...

    Guess you've seen the Jean-Jacques Beineix film "Diva" ?

  10. Owen, I believe we watched that film one Thanksgiving with Ms. Pliers. Lovely Daughter, who was nine at the time said. "When I get a dog, it will be a collie and I will name her Diva"

    Maddie, she was willing to celebrate with a sausage roll too.

    @eloh, Kate sounds special 18 is a ripe old age.

    Lydia, Diva likes hugs but you have to strategically hold up her rear end whilst hugging, or she collapses.

    watercats, This one was never a thief before. That is what is so strange.

    Pliers, of course that is an original painting by Artist man.

    Martin, yes, I'm happy too.

    Jimmy, a house is a lonely place without a dog.

    St. Jude, geriatric delinquents, great title.

  11. I recently read on some on-line news page where a 20 year old dog wa now the oldest living dog. I am not impressed.

    I took Kate and Blackie from an old man that got married and his dogs didn't get along with his new wifes dog. He had had them 10 years.

    Blackie died peacefully in his sleep, two years later. I know the moment as Kate let out a wolf howl beyond belief. We knew it was coming. They had never been in a house before coming to live with me. They loved it.

    Several years later, while visiting with the old couple, we were talking about Kates age. The wife had been the one who originally rescued her.

    Kate had been found on the side of a road as a puppy by an old lady with a chow. During this time Kate had had a litter of puppies. The old lady died and the dogs were abandoned. This old woman was known as "Fat Alice".

    My friend did what she could but in the end only Kate was saved. She had nearly been skinned by a wild dog.

    I had my wonderful Kate for 11 years. I held her while she passed.

  12. Poor Diva. She just wanted to join in, that's all. I hope she wasn't in the dog house for too long.

  13. No dogs here, and fortunately, my cats do not like table food. But at my friends' house for Thanksgiving, we had to be on guard as only little furry cat paw kept trying to snatch the broccoli. *lol*

  14. I know, Benno's just like that, a beautifully behaved dog most of the time, except when there's food to be scavenged. He doesn't steal now (we actually feed him) but anything spare is his, he thinks.

  15. The whole family joined in the Thanksgiving dinner. Diva was just in such a hurry to get it down before someone snatched it away from her!

  16. Ha ha ha!!! Those Collies are too smart for their own good. My sister used to have one that had little self control around food (her nickname was Miss Piggy). Almost every holiday included at least one point where she consumed some off-limits item. My favorite memory of her was when she ate an entire (untouched) pizza that was sitting on the kitchen counter while we fed the horses before dinner. The only evidence that it was her was the tiny little toothmarks in the corner of the box - she even closed up after herself! She sat in the corner licking herself as my sister and I went to war about which of us was the pig that ate the whole pizza!! Thanks for the chuckle and the great memories!

  17. Oh my! We have two young beagles (2 & 3) who act like village idiots when it comes to food. I was hoping that as they got older they would mellow out. If they are anything like your sweet Diva, I guess we are in for a long-term love affair with "people" food. Funny story and I am glad it had a happy ending... for you at least.

  18. Very funny dog story! Glad you saved her from herself!

  19. Hehe. My sister's huge, handsome and incredibly dim (except about food) labrador once scoffed an entire chicken. Not bad considering it was still frozen! Animals, eh? Gotta love 'em!

  20. @eloh,small dogs live much longer lives than larger breeds.

    Dave, who could be mad at that angel face?

    Jean, our old cat had a thyroid problem at the end that made her voracious. She would make flying grabs at forks between plate and mouth. Quite scary, and truth be told she was a scary cat before that.

  21. Friko, Shattered and Argent, Labs and beagles are born foodies. Diva never was one until old age set in. She would leave a meal if she had not had her usual exercise quota. Training was done with squeaky toys as she didn't care for treats.

    Michelle, unusual collie behavior.

    Kate, glad to amuse.

  22. TechnoBabe, Diva really thought she'd struck gold!