Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Muffet the Peanut Fiend

We share our home with many pets, the least of which is Little Miss Muffet, whom we adopted from the OSPCA around Christmas. Like most Shiztu dogs Muffet has a rather unique personality. She is needy yet independent. We have also recently discovered that she loves peanuts and can become quite sneaky when she wants them.

We finally got a bit of a break, from the constant rain we've been getting, on Sunday afternoon. It was still overcast and dreary out but at least for a few hours the rain stopped falling. Since we like to feed the birds and squirrels we decided this was as good a time as any to refill the various feeders much to the delight of our feathered tenants.

Each species of bird prefers a different kind of feeder and feed. Doves are ground feeders and they prefer seeds that have been knocked to the ground by the larger birds, but they dislike cracked corn. Titmouses, Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Woodpeckers prefer a tube feeder filled with a selection of dried fruit, shelled peanuts, walnut halves, and sunflower seeds. Grackles will eat anything from anywhere. Cardinals prefer platform feeders filled with safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, and shelled peanuts. Goldfinches like smaller seeds like Niger and millet, feeding while clinging to a sock or tube feeder. Blue Jays love whole peanuts in the shell and don't care if they are in a platform feeder, basin feeder, or the squirrel feeder.

It was while filling the feeders with peanuts that we discovered Muffet's love of peanuts. She is quite the spoiled little dog and goes nuts when she hears the crinkle of any plastic bag. She'll sit up and beg, run around in circles, and stand up bouncing around you until you finally give her whatever it is in your hand, even if it isn't a dog treat. Usually she'll sniff it, chew on it a bit, and then walk away from it.

True to form, as soon as I picked up the peanut bag, she began her begging. I held the peanut down for her to sniff and as suspected she took it and lay down to chew. A few minutes later, as I returned the bag to its spot on the shelf, she started begging again. I looked to where she had been laying and sure enough the peanut was gone. I handed her another and watched as she delicately chewed off the shell and ate the nut inside. She was actually quite adept at getting to the meat of the problem.

Declaring her cut off I ignored her begging and continued with my chores. As I looked up I saw PeterC hand her a peanut he had taken out of the basin feeder. She happily devoured it as quickly as she had the others. I informed him that she couldn't have anymore. But, she now knew where the peanuts were and as soon as she finished her third she headed straight to the basin feeder. Our basin feeder is a small rosin bird bath which only stand a little over one foot tall. Little Miss Muffet could see into the feeder if she stood on her hind legs but she couldn't quite figure out how to get the peanuts out of the bowl. After laughing at her antics we shoed her away from the feeder.

By the time the feeders had all been filled it had begun raining again and we had to shoo Muffet from the peanut basin another half dozen times. It's amazing the things a dog can remember when she truly wants something.

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