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We are creatures of habit with established routines that we practice at certain times of each day: A routine for getting up (which will vary depending on if it's a school/workday or a day off.) We have a routine for dinner time and a routine for getting ready for bed. I even have a routine for feeding Nova Mae and Edgar Allan. Our routines can be altered a little to meet the moment's needs, but they are seldom eliminated.
While Nova Mae and I have been working in Florida for the past couple of weeks, my wife Melissa, and our cat Edgar Allan, have been visiting her parents in South Carolina. As a result, my routines have been altered with 650 miles between us, but they still get carried out.
When I get up in the morning, at home or on the road, I say my daily prayers, go for a short walk with Nova, then make breakfast. Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the es day for people and pets.
I usually put a scoop of kitty crunchies in Edgar's bowl first to keep him from meowing and waking my wife. (I'm not supposed to, but I usually sneak a "Greenie" treat for Edgar to enjoy with his breakfast.) Next, I give Nova Mae her breakfast, then fix mine. But, of course, pets are no different than people because they have their routines, too.
Edgar will eat the treat first, then his cat food. If he drops a piece of food outside his bowl, he will look for it until he finds it. Nova is a rather fussy eater who prefers to have all her food on the floor before eating.
First, Nova will sniff the food in her bowl, then walk away and follow me to see what I'm having, just in case there is a better offering. She goes through this routine daily, whether at home or on the road.
At home, I eat oatmeal each morning; when traveling, it's Cheerios. Regardless of where I am, I like fresh fruit in my cereal.
While preparing my breakfast, Nova Mae will stay at my feet in case something falls on the floor. We don't give her "people food," but Nova does get healthy treats like fresh fruit and veggies.
The dog loves blueberries, so I give her a couple. She waits patiently as I remove the tops from the strawberries; she likes the fruit and the little green leaves. Nova likes apples and raspberries too. She will tolerate an orange slice, although citrus is not her favorite.
Nova really likes carrots, beans, and peas. I can't think of a fruit or veggie she doesn't like. Oh yes, kiwi. Nova doesn't care for kiwis - or cucumbers, but she will practically do backflips for a piece of banana.
Bananas have a distinctive smell that draws her attention any time of day. Even if she is sound asleep, Nova can hear a banana being peeled (or, more likely, she smells it) and comes trotting into the kitchen with anticipation to claim her share. Likewise, if I am slicing a banana on cereal or just eating one, she knows she will get the last piece; we call this the banana butt.
I squeeze easily on the outside of the peel, and the last piece will come loose, just like pinching the tail on a shrimp. Nova will gently nibble inside the peel to get that last bite. I've created a banana monster.
One day while traveling, I stopped to fill the van with gasoline. Unfortunately, the pump was out of paper, so I had to go inside for a receipt. Near the register, there was a display of bananas. They were on sale; sixty-nine cents each, two for a dollar. Usually, bananas aren't discounted until they have brown spots and are nearly ready to make banana bread. But these were beautiful, bright yellow bananas at a great price. So, I grabbed two, paid for them, and walked back to the van.
I set the fruit on the dashboard and boasted what a great deal I got on bananas. "We will share them later," I told Nova. Then, I started to drive away. "Darn it," I said, "I was so excited about the bananas that I forgot to get my gas receipt." Nova and I shared a good laugh about that.
I pulled into a parking space and ran inside. The cashier held up a slip of paper, "You forgot your receipt." We were soon on the road again. Nova was tired and went to the back of the van to sleep.
About fifteen minutes later, I reached for a banana, but they were gone! Both of them! I glanced behind me. Nova was not sleeping.
While I was in the C-store, Nova swiped both bananas, stashing them in the back. She had them hidden under a packing blanket like buried bones. Then, she waited until I was driving to dig in. "Nova Mae! Stop eating those bananas," I ordered. She glanced up at me, then delightfully resumed chowing down on a banana as if she didn't hear me.
"Nova, leave it," I said more firmly, but the dog has selective hearing. I was worried that she would get sick, so I pulled off the interstate at the next exit, parking on the shoulder. I was too late. The dog was a satisfied mess.
Nova is a fussy eater. She shredded the peels but didn't eat them. Instead, Nova had gnawed through the skins, eating the inside of both bananas. The floor was covered with disgusting banana goop. Nova had banana mush all over her face and in her fur. Like a little kid with chocolate all over their face and hands, she was contently licking her paws.
I got very nervous when her tummy gurgled and contracted several times. "You better not do it," I warned her. Fortunately, it was just a burp, but bananas have a distinct smell. "That's really nasty, Nova." I wiped up the floor with Windex and a paper towel. Then wetted a towel with my bottled water to clean her fur. Nova had a queasy look on her face.
"If you throw up in this van, you're going to be in big trouble, dog." Not trusting the look on her face, I fastened her leash, and we went for a walk. Nova didn't get sick; as soon as I was fairly sure she wasn't going to, we got back on the road. I learned that day not to leave bananas where Nova can reach them; two whole bananas will give a puppy a bad case of the trots.
About twenty minutes later, Nova came up between the front seats. "Dad, I don't feel so good." So, we pulled over. Twenty minutes later, "Dad, my tummy hurts." So, we pulled over. Twenty minutes later, "Dad, I think I have to go again." So, we pulled over again. Twenty minutes later, "Dad.…."
"That's what you get for stealing my bananas," I told her as we pulled off at the next exit. I laughed at her, "Girl, you done gave yourself a bad case of banana butt!" (Acceptable grammar as we were in the south.) Then, I assured her, in jest, "This, too, shall pass." We shared a good laugh about that - then pulled over again.