It’s the most challenging time of year for Steve and me as puppy-raisers: the figs on our huge old tree have ripened, and this year’s crop (like all its predecessors in our memory) is so abundant we can’t eat or give it all away. It’s literally raining Mission figs out there.
This has been going on for 2 or 3 weeks, and to our amazement and relief, Beverly for a long time didn’t seem to notice what was happening. The fig tree occupies a big part of our lower back yard, which also serves as our dogs’ principal toileting area. Yet even though we take Beverly back there countless times daily, she strolled right by the large black sweet-smelling morsels without lunging upon them and gobbling them down, as so many other puppies have done.
There are two sound reasons to discourage puppies from eating figs. One is that when labrador types are left to free-feed on figs, they get visibly fatter. Tucker’s been doing this every summer for most of his life. We don’t mind because he’s our personal dog, and we know that the season is short; the extra pounds will soon melt away. But Beverly belongs to CCI, and its rules are strict: puppies are supposed to eat only puppy chow — and only enough to keep them lean and trim.
The other consideration is that figs — we know from sad experience — cause many puppies to have diarrhea. So we resolved to keep Beverly from ever learning about their deliciousness. Unfortunately, Steve’s and my teamwork fell apart Friday afternoon. He was out gathering figs for the tart I was making. I went out to collect them from him, and Beverly trotted outside after me, off leash. I re-entered the house, and Steve followed a few minutes later, not realizing that Beverly was still wandering around outside. Fifteen or 20 minutes passed before I wondered where she was. We called her and she appeared shortly — paws muddy, fur coated with figgy detritus.
Miraculously, whatever she ate out there did not roil her digestive system; no diarrhea ensued. But clearly, the jig is up.
She’s eaten from the tree of knowledge, and now we really have to be on guard — not only for this rest of this season but also for the one next summer. (Beverly should be with us all the way until November of 2017.)