It’s not easy for me to admit. Still, I must confess. I chewed pebbles and ate dirt when I was but a little lad. My breeder, well, I don’t like disparaging anyone, but the truth is she didn’t feed me enough. (James says she may have fed me plenty. With eight brothers and sisters and my pacifying personality, I may not have gotten enough food. That’s fair.)
Anyway, every small stone I’d find could have been spilled kibble, so I’d saunter over to it and put it in my mouth. I wouldn’t even smell it. When I arrived at Skygate Farm, James was worried that I’d swallow these nuggets, but all I did was chew on them. Besides, they felt good against my baby teeth.
Now rich, black soil was another matter all together. That I gladly savored before swallowing. I grew accustomed to eating it before coming to live with James and Ron. It helped fill my nearly empty stomach. James was afraid eating dirt would give me worms. (Well, if you’ve forgotten, when I entered James and Ron’s life I was being given medication for the larvae I’d gotten while still at the breeders. We’ll never know if these bugs came from dirt or one of my siblings – just sayin’.)
Since no one at the breeders had cared whether I chewed stones or ate soil, I was under the impression it was okay. When James started trying to get me to leave or drop them, I thought he wanted to deprive me. I was so confused. The good news was he offered me more kibble when I left them alone. That taught me that if I kept going after both the gritty pieces and compact ground that I’d get more and more food from James. It was only rational that the rewards made me want to go after the gravel and grime more often. It became a cruel cycle; but what did I know? I was but a lost sole unsure of what the future held.
Once I knew that I could trust James and Ron, I was still convinced that they would give me more food if I kept implying I was going to eat the pebbles I found. After all, I had trained them to do that. (It should be noted that they were quick learners.) As for dirt, well, I still liked the taste of it. I can’t explain it. Take my word for it that dirt is delicious. (Okay. James asked me to let you know I no longer eat dirt. Like he says, I surpassed the age when it was meaningful.)
That reminds me. James wrote a poem about my interest in pebbles and dirt. When I think about it now, it is a little embarrassing to admit. Still, when you understand that I was using them as training tools to get more food from James and Ron, I think you’ll understand.
Here’s that poem.
Pebbles & Dirt
down the driveway we go
on early morning excursions
with Ollie stopping along the way
to pick up tiny pebbles
I figure out by week twenty
after you started this at week eight
since you were hungry when you arrived
these small stones resemble kibble
I think to myself
therein lies an opportunity
to impart the lessons of
“drop it” and “leave it”
since you believe them to be food
the last thing you wanted to do
is to let them go
they might be swallowed causing
indigestion requiring your stomach
to be evacuated
perhaps it’s their salty taste
or when you can’t chew them
the realization sets in
that they aren’t what you anticipate
and since it’s the season
the tractors are out and about
depositing pads of soil
you find to your liking
you eat dirt by the ounce
or pound if I’d let you
soon I learn drop or leave doesn’t work
with rich black top soil
these globs of gravel and grain
are not of the substantive sort
yet populate our drive and yard
thrilling you and disturbing me
of this I am convinced
that when the pebbles and particles
are frozen solid and hidden
you’ll soon forget them
the spring arrives
the stones and dirt will freed
you’ll sniff at them and realize
they’re to be ignored
as you grow into your lose skin
filling out your form handsomely
your body will adjust nicely
to the size of your too-large paws
be time to drop and leave
the pebbles and dirt you once prized
as well as the kibble known as puppy food
as you mature into adulthood
When I think about the stuff James says in this poem, there are so many more things I have to tell you about my first year. There were so many new experiences for me. At least once a week James would take me for a ride in the car to a new place. He wanted to expose me to as many things as he could while I was young so I wouldn’t be afraid of them.
Stick around and I’ll fill you in on all of them. Every other week I’ll keep you informed about what happened. James wrote a poem about each of them, so there’ll be a new verse each time.
There is one in particular for which we didn’t have far to go for me to experience it. The thing about it that is most peculiar is it’s invisible. It can’t be seen. Only what it does is visible. Any guesses what it is? No? It’s wind. That’s right. Come back in two weeks to see how I reacted to the concealed force that caused things around me to move without any sign of their having legs.
We hope you’re having as much fun reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote as we are in telling you. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.
Until next time,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)