Dog food

by Gail Emerson July 14, 2017

 A powerful motivation

Although the saying goes 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach', it is perhaps truer of dogs than male humans. Our canine friends are usually enthusiastic eaters, and happy to sample what ever delights are available - whether from the table or the rubbish bin!

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The dog's voracious appetite even features in folklore. At least 20 of Aesop's fables include dogs and many of these are centred around the dog hunger or greed.

The most famous is perhaps the Dog and his Reflection. Here, a cheeky canine runs off with a juicy bone from the butchers. Making good his escape over a bridge, the dog spies another dog with an even better bone in the water. Furious with envy, he barks at the river-dog. But what was he carrying his own bone with? Yes, the same jaws he opens to bark. The greedy dog can only watch in dismay as the river carries off his prize.

A shorter tale tells of a brazier scold his dog for sleeping through his loud hammering but magically awakening at the sound of his lunch coming out! The dog's jealousy when it comes to food comes out in the Dog in the Manger, where although the dog does not eat straw himself he snaps at the horses who try - not wanting any others to eat while he is hungry. 

The dog's motivation for food is strong. Aesop tells of a group of dogs who spy some juicy rawhides cast into a stream. Unable to swim down to them, the dogs settle on drinking the stream dry to reach the morsels. Unfortunately they burst in the attempt! The moral? Set yourself achievable goals! 

Further afield, an African folktale tells of how it was the lure of bones to eat which persuaded the dog to summon up courage to ask to live in the village with the humans. The poor jackal has been left to live alone in the bush ever since.

Whether greedy, hungry or simply motivated - food is a central part of the dog's life!

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Gail Emerson
Gail Emerson

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