Almost all the figs have now fallen off or been harvested from our fig tree. I’ve made fig tarts and fig preserves and figgy salads using them. We’ve given them to friends, and Steve personally has eaten about a thousand of them on his morning cereal. Those are the pleasant things about fig season. The part that makes our lives hellish is the way the dogs become insatiably avaricious for them. Even though we grossly restrict Tucker and our current puppy’s access to the tree, they still seem to pounce upon and wolf down too many, often with disastrous digestive consequences.
So we are filled with happiness at the end of fig season. And this year, we’re also filled with horror to discover that Kyndall is eating… the desiccated and disgusting fallen fig leaves.
No other dog has ever done this, for reasons we thought we understood. When they’re on the tree, the leaves are irritating. Whenever they touch our bare skin, they cause itching and may even raise little welts. Who could eat such things? Steve’s theory is that Kyndall is selecting specimens on which juice from the ripe figs has dripped. She doesn’t look that discriminating to me when she snatches one off the ground. I wonder if she likes them for the same reason I like potato chips — for their crunchy savory eating pleasure?
This experience has made me think long and hard about a behavior rule. I know that CCI puppies are not supposed to ever eat anything off the ground. But Steve and I always have kind of rolled our eyes at this. It seemed an unattainable pipe dream — sort of like saying that CCI puppies should never pant. Over the years, however, I’ve dimly noticed that some puppy-raisers seem to take this goal quite seriously. Some suggest their puppies in fact never DO eat anything off the ground.
It’s now struck me that if we actually trained a puppy not to ever eat anything off the ground, it would save us a lot of grief. Kyndall, mercifully, has never eaten the most disgusting thing imaginable off the ground. (We love that about her.) But at least three of her predecessors have. So I’m thinking that in the future we should dedicate ourselves to learning how to prevent a puppy from scavenging.
I’m not sure it’s realistic to do that now with Kyndall, not since her fig and fig-leaf cravings have been enflamed. I’m afraid all we can do is count the day remaining until fig-leaf season also has ended.