Dear Food Human

Note:  Almost four months ago, I became a single foster mother to siblings: a ten year old girl and a one year old boy.  My world has turned upside down.  In addition to the chaos of adding a couple of kids to the house—one of them a really busy and curious toddler—there is so much for all of us to process from such a huge life change.  There are also endless giggles and hugs.  But it’s a lot to handle.  Honestly, I’m barely keeping it together on any given day.  It’s entirely too overwhelming to coolly evaluate and blog about.  But then, my dog, Dia, slipped a note under my door this morning, so I thought I’d just publish it instead. 

Dear Food Human,

Things have not been normal around our house for a while.  Without asking my opinion, you just brought two puppies home.  I like the big one well enough.  She pets me, and smells interesting when she gets home from school.  I like cuddling with her when she’s in the mood.  She doesn’t mess with my food and my chew toys.  I like that.

But that little one… I’m not so sure about him.  First of all, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I think he has a problem.  He’s mostly bald.  Sure there’s a little hair on his head, but the rest of him is just bare skin.  There are a few possibilities for this:  (1) It’s a medical issue.  You should call the vet right away just to check it out.  (2) Somebody shaved him.  I got shaved once, and I didn’t like it.  It was cold and itchy.  You should probably pet him a lot just to make him feel better—belly rubs will help too.  (3) This third possibility is a bit alarming to think about….maybe this hairless puppy, despite his small patch of strawberry blond hair, is not a collie.  If this is the case, I’m very disappointed in you.  You know we are a collie family.  If this puppy is not a collie, it would explain some of his more alarming behaviors—he doesn’t have that collie chill.  I’m always a good girl.  I’m not going to comment on whether or not that hairless puppy should be called a good boy.

For one thing…he poops inside the house.  And he doesn’t do it in the white bowl.  He does it right inside his safety gear.   You know I don’t like wearing safety gear, but I understand I have to put on my reflective vest when it’s dark.  You put safety gear on that puppy all the time—every single day.  And you put big fluffy white safety gear right on his butt.  I think that is just encouraging him to poop in the house.  He should be house trained by now.  When doggies sit by the back door and look at you, they have to go do their business outside.  That puppy should know that by now.  And just to help him remember, you should take off his safety gear, put a leash on him, and walk him around the neighborhood until he poops in the neighbors’ yard—just like good doggies do.  [**editorial note from Karen H.—I take bags with me and clean up after Dia.  I’m not a monster**]

I’m not saying he’s not enjoyable in some ways.  He tosses little, round, delicious oaty treats at me from his feeding chair.  I support his table manners.  He’s a sharer.  That’s why I stand next to him and wag my tail at feeding time—to help him to remember to share.   Sometimes he even remembers to share meat, and at those times, I love him.  But I’m not a puppy.  I don’t want to play rough, I don’t want anything but gentle loving pets.  I don’t want to be ridden, and I definitely don’t want him to grab my butt fur and play choo choo train.  As you’ve noticed, I politely go to the back door and ask to be let out when he gets that train-conductor gleam in his eye.  Because I’m a good doggie.  You say so all the time.

And that brings me to your behavior, food human.  You know I love you.  My waggy tail and gentle toe kisses tell you this.  But you’re getting a little inconsistent.  I prefer my dinner right at 6 p.m., not sometime between 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. depending on how much the little hairless puppy is howling.  However, because I’m a good doggie, I will still eat it.  Also, you used to brush me more.  And when we used to go for walks, you let me sniff every square inch of every yard to make sure I found the exact right spot to do my doggie business.  We understood each other.  Now you’ve made it perfectly clear that I need to hurry up and poop.  And I do.  Because I’m a good doggie.  You say so all the time.  But sometimes, good doggies like to take time for all the interesting sniffs….all of them.  And I need time to track the invading hordes of squirrels and bunnies.  They are out to get us, and I’m the only brave doggie that stands between you, the hairless pups, and rodent-based tragedy.  Help me help you.

Listen, I know this hasn’t been easy for you.  I can hear when you go in your bedroom or bathroom and cry at night because you’re so tired, and it’s so hard.  I don’t know why you wanted puppies that would be this much work, but I’m not judging.  I come in and put my head in your lap and blink my big brown eyes at you.  When I do that, I’m saying that I love you, and I will always support you.   Sometimes, when life is overwhelming, you just need to bury your hands and face in collie fur.  I get that.  Despite your shortcomings, you are my food human.

I think there are some things you could do to make this up to me.  (1) more meat flavored treats; (2) more belly rubs; (3) fewer baths (really not any baths, because water is terrifying); (4) putting the youngest hairless puppy outside for a few hours a day, so I can take a nap in my favorite spot in the hallway; and (5) even more meat flavored treats.

I remain faithfully, as ever, your good doggie.



  1. Kevin Barney says:

    I love the moniker “Food Human.” That’s how I imagine our cat thinks of us. Fun piece!

  2. Don’t let my boxer see this. He begins his dinner whine 2 hours early already. Our note would be scathing.

    P.S. whoever penned this is a genius.

  3. cat, I’ll tell Dia you appreciate her thoughts. Problem is, she really doesn’t like cats so I won’t tell her your name.

  4. Love.

  5. I want a Food Human of my own. But maybe I’m not a good doggie. I will try to learn from you, Dia.

  6. Love it!!! I live on a small farm and in my head my animals all call me “She Who Feeds.”

  7. Bro. Jones says:

    Amazon is now selling dog treat-dispensing devices that allow you to use a smartphone and trigger a treat delivery from anywhere in the world. Food Humans everywhere are on notice.

    (Excellent, Karen.)

  8. This hit me in the feels, having just brought a new baby home to our dog last week 😭

  9. Jessie, is your dog okay? I can have Dia send it some survival pointers….

  10. Hi Dia!

    I’m a food human too, and like your food human I have a demanding job and two small puppies. Unlike your human, I have a co-pack leader, which makes my life orders of magnitude easier. I still end up in my bedroom or bathroom many nights crying.

    There isn’t anything harder, braver or better than what your food human is doing, but since we can’t all be there with her to sob with her on the bathroom floor, you keep letting her know that you love her and that you see her. That’s important work too.

    Enjoy those extra treats!

  11. How do people live without dogs?

  12. She’s doing shockingly well, for an old dog! But I’m fully expecting that to change once the baby can move on purpose.

  13. Dogs are the best.

    Tiberius also calls us “Food Human.” I think Dia told him.

  14. jon miranda says:

    But it’s a lot to handle. Honestly, I’m barely keeping it together on any given day.

    Motherhood or fatherhood is like medical school any requests for vacation or time off are always denied

  15. I’m glad you have Dia’s support in what is an extraordinarily challenging effort. I also pray you gave other Food humans wrapping their arms around you and supporting in caring for the puppies.

  16. Such lovely thoughts, all. Alain, rest assured I am surrounded by other lovely, lovely food humans who save my sanity on a daily basis.

  17. What a perfect thing for me to read and warm my heart as I turn out the light and bid farewell to a challenging day. Thank you for your gift.

%d bloggers like this: