Peter and I haven't been the only ones affected by this newfound health craze. Our stoic lion hound Nyssa has borne the (gentle) brunt of our abstinence from food. The first few days of the cleanse, whenever one of us would start banging around in the kitchen she would trot in hopefully. On taking a disdainful whiff of lemon, she would turn tail and slink back into the living room - a very disappointed doggie. By the end of the week, she no longer lifted a whisker when we went to make our maple-citrus drink. She stoically munched her bone, tail to the kitchen, ears low.
I had let Nyssa out at about 3pm - she is a dedicated sun-bather, stretching out full-length on the sidewalk every day for hours, coming back in hot to the touch - and at five thirty, well after the sun no longer shines directly in the yard, she had not returned. I looked in the yard - no dog. I called her - no answer. I remembered with chill that she hadn't had her collar on when I let her out, and that one of the neighborhood kids could easily have left a gate open. I bolted down the stairs, just in time to see my landlord Norm come out of his unit - with my dog behind him.
"She barked at us through the screen door earlier, so we let her in. We were cooking steaks. She's been in here all afternoon - just walked right up to the front room and laid down like she lived here! I fed her some steak. Hope you don't mind ... Evelyn said not to, but she wanted some and Angie [their daughter's dog, visiting for the weekend] got some so it was only fair." Norm desperately misses his lab, who was put down six weeks ago. He has been delighted when Nyssa follows him around the yard, curious what new smells he may unearth with his spade.
Now Evelyn chimed in from the kitchen, "She wanted to come in. I told him not to feed her from the table. You wouldn't like that. He doesn't listen. I yelled up to you we'd let her in. I guess you didn't hear me."
And so it began. I would let Nyssa out to do her morning patrol of the grounds. Between five and twenty minutes later, I would hear her 'door' bark - but not at our door. As the week went on, she would bark to be let out of our apartment, trot downstairs immediately and begin demanding to be let into the Wolfe's apartment. Steak Indeed. I'm sure our stingy ration of dog treats didn't help our cause in the least.
I was relieved when they went out of town for the rest of the week. She could bark all she wanted, but nobody was there to reward her with a plateful of leftovers. On Friday, the woman in the flat next to us brought her granddaughter to stay for the weekend. This little girl loves to play with Nyssa in the yard, and soon the two of them were chasing each other with a relieved grandma watching from the porch. I went back inside.
Two hours later, I heard a frantic series of barks. I pulled myself out of the chair to see what the problem was - Nyssa isn't a habitual barker. She rarely raises her voice, except when we are ignoring her need to be let in our out. To my horror, she was at the door of my neighbor, demanding to be let in and have her share of the lunch they were preparing. Furious, I called her home and shut the door- my pride a little hurt that my dog would so easily change alliances.
Nyssa was excited when I busted out the cooking gear and started chopping and simmering yesterday. She sniffed around the kitchen for half an hour, desperately trying to find something resembling meat, cheese or peanut butter. To no avail. But her hope has resurfaced. She comes to check on us as we sip our post-cleanse soup. She made a careful study of Peter's wheatgrass flat this morning when he made our juice shots (probably thinking "these humans have finally figured out how healthy it is to eat grass ... but why do they keep it in the cold box ... there's fresh stuff right downstairs.")
Hopefully we will be able to win her affections back as our veggies are joined by cheddar and salmon over the next few weeks.