Take one look at our dog, Electra, and you can see right away that she’s never missed a meal. I’m not saying she’s fat…well, not anymore. She was getting a little hefty when we lived in Arizona–partly because she was being grossly overfed just about every time we had to leave town and ask someone to watch her for us (a special thanks to our dear friends the Flores family for actually taking time to read and follow Electra’s mealtime instructions), and partly because she refused to go outside for more than ten minutes a day when it was over 90 degrees and, well, it’s Arizona, so that was pretty much nine months out of the year.

Since moving to Nebraska, she’s dropped almost ten pounds and is looking downright svelte… as svelte as a half-basset hound can look anyway.

Yet, in spite of her slightly slimmer waistline, Electra is still, and will always be, a food whore. And, like clockwork, each morning and each evening every member of the Romnano household falls in step to the dinner dance routine. Here’s how it goes…

1. 5:00 – Electra wakes from a nap, or comes in from a tracking session in the yard and immediately checks her food bowl, just in case someone decided to surprise her and feed her early. She spends the next 10 minutes licking the lid of her plastic food bin and the floor around it.

2. 5:30 – Electra walks up to Steven and spends 2-3 minutes starting at him. Then walks over to me and spends 2-3 minutes staring. If one of us makes eye contact, she will jump into our laps and try to sniff our mouths, as if she’s checking to make sure we didn’t eat without her.

3. 5:45 – Electra begins slowly pacing. She nudges Steven with her nose, and then moves onto me if he doesn’t make a move toward the kitchen. If I don’t comply, she’ll look for Cadence and park herself in between Cadence and whatever it is she’s trying to do at the moment, eliciting a firm “No Dectra! Go lay down!”

4. 5:55 – Electra lies down on the floor, perfectly triangulating herself so she can keep a close eye on each of us. She will lie perfectly still for 5 minutes…waiting…If we completely ignore her, she will sigh or groan loudly and roll onto her side as if she’s playing dead. If one of us should accidentally make eye contact, she’ll come over and nudge us, and then sit in front of us, staring and trembling slightly like she’s either cold or about to pass out because her blood sugar is low.

5. 6:00-6:15 – Depending on the day, Electra either spends the next 15-20 minutes continuing her silent harassment of each member of the family in turn, or she gives up, curls up in a warm little ball on the beanbag, and takes herself a little snooze. And then, at 6:15 on the dot, she appears, licking her chops and letting us know that we’re straying from the schedule.

There’s really no forgetting when it comes to Electra’s meal plan. Here’s what I was faced with tonight when I happened to walk into the kitchen and glance at the clock at 6:09…

And since Electra was patient enough to sit for a photo, she got to eat a few minutes early tonight, and even found a few extra bites of kibble in her bowl. It was the least I could do for my favorite droopy-faced hound.


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