Green Beans, Butter & Fear, or What I’ve Learned from My Dog


It happened again.  This time, right in front of my very own eyes, which is a first.  Have you no shame, you four-legged thief?

Our dog has an obsession and I mean obsession, with butter.   I’m just dying to know where this came from.  But we don’t know much about Mason’s early days in life.

A Rough Start. 

Mason ‘found us’ on a warm summer day about three years ago.  I’d taken my daughter and her friend to a pet fashion show (yes, you read that right) at our local mall.  Abby is a big fan of animals and I thought it would be a nice end-of-summer activity.  What I didn’t think about was the reason for the show.

The fashion show was just a ruse to get innocent people like me into the mall and walking through aisle after aisle of poor little pooches all in need of a good home.  At first I was strong.  I ignored the sweet puppy faces and that undeniably sweet puppy breath. Because I know what comes with a puppy:  sleepless nights, messes on the carpet and shredded leather shoes.  No thanks.

But just as we were getting ready to leave, I saw my daughter making over Mason.  Well look at him, I thought.  Look at his unique coloring, I thought.  Look how calm he his, I thought. Oh Lord, I was caving.  So we did what we always do when I waver.  We called my husband.  Well, actually we texted a photo with the caption, “Aren’t I cute?”

Steve, the stopper, my rational half, asked what kind of dog he was (lab mix).  Steve, the stopper, my rational half, asked how old he was (two years old and housebroken!).  Steve texted back and said maybe he’d meet us at the mall. Steve, after having met Mason, did not stop us.

So we brought Mason home “for the weekend, just to see how he fit in.”  Right.  He fit right in into our kids’ hearts, and there was no way we could give him up.  And his story…we were told he was a stray, that he’d been abused early on.  He later was picked up off the streets and put in the city dog pound. While here he became severely ill, underweight, near death.  The day he was to be euthanized, a vet stepped up.  She waved her fees, performed surgery on him and nursed him back to health.  Then someone from the Lucky Dog Rescue center brought him to the mall where we were to meet.   And that is how a skinny lab mix named Mason came into our lives.

Living the Good Life.

I have to say, when we brought him home, he was so good. For about a week.  Then we discovered Mason’s penchant for butter.   Ah well, I thought, this little guy’s had a tough life.  He probably had to learn to be a scavenger.  A hunter of food.  A survivalist.   A little butter, I decided, will fatten him up.  He’ll get past it, he will learn.

And he did learn.  Learned how to get the lid to the trash can open and lick butter wrappers clean.  Learned how to unfold the wrap on a cold stick of butter. Learned to keep his eyes peeled in case anyone accidentally left the butter out.

In a year, Mason gained 40 pounds.  Now that’s a lot of butter.  The vet was concerned so  we put him on a diet.  But my hungry, thieving dog got worse.  He became a pest.  I couldn’t take his behavior so I complained to the vet.

The Green Bean Diet.  

 “Green beans,” she said.

“Green beans?” I replied.

“Yes, cut his food back and give him green beans, they are a great filler,” she said, “frozen is fine.”

And so Mason is on the (frozen) Green Bean diet.  And he likes the beans, eats them right up, course this is a dog who eats butter.  After a year, he’s lost 10 pounds.  This is progress!  Still, I think it he’d lose more if he’d quit his butter habit. But as long as I have kids leaving butter out, I’m going to have a butter-thieving mutt.   And why, I wonder? Why steal butter when you aren’t hungry?

Could it be because of the experiences he had as a young pup?  Could it be that as a stray, he learned to take food whenever he could get it?   Or does butter just taste better than green beans?  Either way, I can relate.

Because Old Habits Are Hard to Break.

Because I know my fears from long ago are still with me, buried deep inside.  And while I don’t worry about food, I do worry about many things, lies I once believed to be true long ago.  There are times, despite my best efforts, when I still fear I am not good enough, smart enough, strong enough.  And I’ll admit, some days it’s easier to give in to old ways of thinking than it is to remind myself such thoughts are untrue.

And Lord knows being on a diet isn’t exactly fun.  I love green beans but for many years now I have also loved chocolate, wine, and butter.  Who doesn’t love a little butter? And just like Mason, even though I’ve grown to love vegetables, I‘d take butter over green beans any day.  Though I’d have to steal a little bread to go with it.


About thewritertracy

Writer, Mom, Lover of books, travel, family, friends and fun.
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4 Responses to Green Beans, Butter & Fear, or What I’ve Learned from My Dog

  1. Great post! Years ago I had a once-wild cat who ate corn right off the cob by holding and rolling it with her forepaws. Today I share my home with four rescue kitties who regularly devour fresh salad greens. Interestingly, only the youngest and most feral of the bunch, Luna, is enthralled with butter and is quite adept at removing butter dish lids. I can only assume that their deeply engrained fascination for that high fat content stems from a desperate need years ago.

  2. Very entertaining reading. Dog lovers can relate well to this because they all have their funny or irritating habits that are hard to break. Nice article.

  3. Pingback: day 82. Mass + friends. | The Gratitude Projekt: 365 days of thanksgiving.

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