The Moes have a checkered history when it comes to feeding the family dog.
When I was a kid growing up on Woodside Terrace, we had a dachshund named Herman.
Herman was a fine dog, but he had issues. Some mornings he would trot across the street, to the front steps of our neighbors, Newell and Dorothy Smith.
Newell ran student housing at UW-Madison and now has a residence hall named for him. He also was a State Journal subscriber, and for whatever reason our dog Herman insisted on crossing the street and peeing on his State Journal. I somehow connect the memory to my later decision to enter the newspaper business.
Herman’s other problem involved eating. He disdained dog food. My mom was a soft touch and began putting some of the bacon and eggs she fixed my dad every morning into Herman’s dish with his dog food.
Of course, Herman ate the bacon and eggs and left the dog food. He soon developed a belly that would make a Chicago alderman proud. This gave him a bad back, and Herman, alas, made an early exit.
I share this mainly to illustrate the old axiom that those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
Now we flash forward nearly half a century.
Mrs. Moe, before she was Mrs. Moe, attended a charity event at the Dane County Humane Society. She had a little wine, and before the evening was out, found herself stretched out on the floor of a cage, scratching the tummy of a rescue dog, a Pomeranian, which went belly up when she entered the cage. If you think she was leaving without that dog, you do not know Mrs. Moe.
She read up on Pomeranians, and found that 1) they are small but think they are big; and 2) when they get excited, they run in circles, a trait they share with some members of Congress.
Actually, more members of Congress probably share the first trait.
Mrs. Moe named her Pomeranian Bobaloo, and took him to obedience school, which they failed.
On the advice of her veterinarian, Mrs. Moe fed Bob dry dog food. In those early days, he seemed to prefer shoes and underwear to the dry food. Guests soon learned to keep their shoes, and, in most cases, their underwear, on when they visited.
Once Mrs. Moe decided she liked me, and I began staying over, it became clear how much she loved Bob. She would get up twice a night to take him outside to pee, which was about how often she got up to take me outside to pee.
At one point, she asked my advice about the dry dog food.
“You don’t want to give him bacon and eggs,” I said.
Soon enough, Mrs. Moe became Mrs. Moe for real, and Bobaloo became my Pomeranian, too. At this point he still wasn’t eating much of his dry food, and in desperation we were giving him treats at certain times of the day, just so he’d eat something.
Mrs. Moe had trained him to poop outside by giving him a piece of hot dog when he did. That worked, although he soon began faking poops to get extra treats.
Bob got a treat — a chicken jerky dog biscuit or an apple slice — after his morning and evening walks. He got a High Hopes peanut butter and apple baked dog cookie when we left for the day. He got another apple slice when we all went to sit on the back deck at night.
But he still wasn’t eating his meals, even after we tried some wet food the vet recommended.
“He’s a teenage girl,” Mrs. Moe said.
Then something happened that made it all less funny. Bob began having small seizures, and, in researching a possible cause, it seemed likely he had low blood sugar. We could stop the seizures by getting him to eat some honey off a spoon, but clearly he needed to eat more, and better.
One thing he always had liked, recommended by the vet when Bob’s stomach was upset, was baby food.
We began mixing some Gerber baby food with Cesar gourmet delights (wet) dog food, and it worked pretty well.
It didn’t really seem all that strange until I started to explain it to a vet student who was going to house-sit for us while we were out of town.
“Baby food?” she said. “You’re kidding.”
She gave him only the Cesar wet food and said he ate it.
They have all kinds of flavors, but what clinched it for me was when I was in the grocery store one day a couple of weeks ago and saw that Cesar has a “sunrise” line of breakfast flavors, including, yes, smoked bacon and eggs.
Now after his morning walk, Bob gets smoked bacon and eggs or grilled steak and eggs. In the evenings, it’s filet mignon, prime rib or New York strip.
There is still a bit of a dance involved. As soon as we’re in the house, he wants a treat. We stare at each other. I point at his dish. “Eat some of that first.” Usually, he does, and then he gets a biscuit or apple slice. More staring. I point at the dish. If he eats more, he gets another treat.
“Hilarious,” Mrs. Moe said. “You guys should have your own act in Vegas.”
She can laugh all she wants, but it was Mrs. Moe who found out Cesar’s “sunrise” line includes chicken and cheddar cheese soufflé. She went online and ordered a case. It came Thursday.
Friday morning, after his walk, I dished it up. Mrs. Moe was smiling. Bob was running in circles.