My dogs are the Euell Gibbons of the canine world. For those of us old enough to remember seeing Euell Gibbons on television in the 1960’s extolling the virtues of eating natural foods, like pine needles, yum, you can relate. My dogs are living proof that they can pick up and eat just about anything that drops from trees or grows out of the ground.
In the spring when berries are growing, we can’t walk under a Mulberry tree without stopping and eating mulberries off the ground. Mitch and I will stop and pick ripe mulberries off of the lower branches and feed the dogs. Charlie who is way too smart for his own good will jump up and grab at the branches to pull down to his level and jerk leaves and berries off to scarf down. The same thing goes with blackberries. There is a wild blackberry bush growing along side the road on our and we have to stop and dine on blackberries. AJ who has watched Charlie with his snatch and grab routine has started to reach up and grab at the ripe blackberries still on the bush, both AJ and Charlie are unmindful of the thorns. We’re just not fast enough picking the berries and doling out to each dog fairly. Of course they don’t care about fair, we’re talking stomachs here and stomachs always come first.
Summertime brings grasses. Not everyday lawn grass, oh no, they prefer ornamental grasses. The big bladed pampas type grasses. Orso even ate one of my plants to the ground and killed, a hardy grass that the co-worker who gave it to me said can’t be killed. Surprise! All three will stand and graze on ornamental grasses just like a herd of goats if we would let them. One of the neighbors dug up all of their pampas grass plants, seven of them, and replanted them across the road from their house in front of the ravine, I guess to block the view. Anyway, Orso believes this to be his personal salad buffet line. As we walk by everyday, he will do a quick dine and dash, grabbing some of the long coarse blades and chew them as he walks with us. Quite the multi-tasker.
With the fall comes acorns, and they can’t get enough acorns. Mitch can stand and shell acorns all day long for both AJ and Charlie. Orso loves crunching the acorns, but only likes the shells and if fuzzy caps are on the acorns, that’s a bonus. We have both tried to give him acorn meat and he just spits it out. And goes after the shells we’ve discarded on the ground. There is nothing more frustrating walking the dogs than being jerked backwards as they stop and grab acorns off the road. I see rotator cuff surgery in my future. Orso now will grab three or four acorns in his mouth at a time, crunch on one and stuff the extra ones in his jowls to bring home for a later snack. Do you have any idea how much fun it is to step barefoot on a piece of acorn shell?
Winter means hackberries. After all of the trees are dormant and no grass is left to graze on, the dogs have resorted to eating the berries that have fallen off of the multitude of hackberry trees on our property. The hackberry trees have these small hard dark berries that fall in the winter, for the birds and squirrels to eat when food is scarce I suppose, and the dogs have decided that these little berries are awesome. They stop and eat them and won’t come when called, not that they really need an excuse to ignore me anyway. I’ve considered cutting down every hackberry tree we own.
It’s nice to know that with each season, our dogs can find sustenance even without their Science Diet.