Those of you who have been regular visitors to this blog will know that Ray is extremely food motivated. Even immediately after a meal, he will still want to checkout out any interesting food possibilities.
On any given walk therefore, I am constantly scanning the ground ahead of him so that I have the time to say “Leave it” just before he grabs a piece of stale bread, chicken bone, dead mouse or other such perceived delicacies. This becomes really tricky after a snow fall because he is excitedly pushing his nose through the snow while I am trying to guess what he is trying to find. Stale donut? Dead squirrel? He undoubtedly knows exactly what is under the snow while I can only guess ………. but I digress!
He has an unfortunate habit of misreading body language, especially when food is involved (or perhaps he is just a permanent optimist?). When a meal is in progress, he will sit and stare obviously hoping that some item of food will be forthcoming. Where this situation easily goes astray is if, during a meal, I move such that either my plate, or my fork (with food attached) moves ever so slightly in his direction. He has absolutely no doubt that I am offering him a part of my meal and happily accepts the offer. The movement on his part is so fast that rarely can it be stopped.
Where these traits become interesting is when we pass a restaurant. Being a Shepherd/Rotti X, he is quite a large dog and with restaurant windows going almost down to the ground, he not only gets a clear view of what is happening inside, but he can often see what is on the nearest tables. If something smells really good, he will stop and stare at the people who are trying to have an uninterrupted meal. Sometimes they will simply look at him and smile, and at other times they will try and ignore him, but they generally keep glancing back as Ray gives them his best “under nourished and neglected dog” look! Of course the windows resolve any issues but it is easy to see that some diners are quite distracted!
In the warmer weather it is more entertaining because then there are various restaurants with outdoor patios! Not only can Ray get a far better sense of what is on those plates, but he can also nudge up to the railings which often puts his nose a few inches away from the cause of all those enticing smells! Again, some people just ignore him no doubt hoping that he will go away, while others smile at him. Thankfully nobody has offered him any tidbits otherwise he would have his feet on the top of the railings and his head pretty much on their plate in a fraction of a second. He would certainly then be the conversation point for the rest of the meal!
Can you imagine a couple on their first date? While they are fumbling around a conversation, one of them picks up an item from their plate and gesticulates. All Ray sees is a tasty morsel coming in his direction and therefore clearly being offered. He suddenly has his feet on the rail next to their table and his face almost comes between them as the tasty morsel disappears forever! Regardless of how the date ended, they would both probably remember Ray!