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"On the Side"

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally."

Remember that funny and warm-hearted rom-com, "When Harry Met Sally?" What a delight Meg Ryan was in the role of Sally, the neurotic, lonely single who always ordered her salad dressing "on the side." I loved that line because I've always ordered salads with the dressings on the side. Restaurants seem to pour it on too heavily for my taste, and I like to add a dibble here and there throughout my salad explorations.

In an unlikely comparison of humans to canines, our dog Lord Byron Evans seems to have similar issues as Sally and I do. For years, Byron would hesitate when approaching his twice-daily bowls of dog food, a mixture of some fairly high end stuff — Royal Canin kibble tossed well with Royal Canin canned chicken. While Byron's sister Meryl Streep Evans wolfed down her mixture in two minutes, Byron would stare at his bowl for what seemed like hours, until my husband Bill and I eventually had to order the dog to eat the gruel. Reluctantly, he would choke it down, but we could tell he was not happy with his meals.

What are you waiting for?

Did he not like the kibble? Did he not like the canned meat? Were we feeding him too much? Was he ill or did he have gum problems?

cocker cavalier spaniels
Lord Byron left, Meryl Streep right

I decided to do a taste test to see if the problem was the canned food or the kibble. On one side of his bowl, I put the wet food and, on the other side, the dried kibble.

After I put the bowl down, Byron glanced up to inquire, "What just happened?" But then he dove into the canned food, which did not surprise me, although I then feared he would not eat his kibble too. But after he licked down the wet food, he checked out the kibble, then crunched each gritty bite.

Problem solved. Like Sally and me, Byron wanted his dressing on the side. It took years for us to figure this out, but at least he's no longer staring at his food bowls for hours.

Photo of Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal used under fair use. Please contact the author for removal or photo credit.
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