My step daughter has four active children. About ten years ago they decided they all needed a puppy and they found Gracie, a female boxer. She was a great choice as their family dog. Boxers, as a breed, seem to genuinely like children and enjoy being active and playful. They require little in the way of grooming, but they need a lot of exercise, something four active kids who really wanted a puppy could easily accomplish. Gracie has grown into quite the gentle lady--quiet, obedient, well-behaved, intelligent, sweet, gentle, loving, loyal, and trust worthy. Then there is their second boxer, Buckwheat.
Buckwheat is a male boxer the family took on in his adolescence five or six years ago. He'd belonged to a couple with a new baby. They just did not have the time or energy to give him the attention and activity that he needed. I don't believe he was physically abused, but his emotional needs were definitely neglected. Buckwheat is playful, loving, gentle and sweet. He can act dumb, but he's like a fox. Cunning describes him better that intelligent, I guess. And, he is obsessed with food. Really, he doesn't know the meaning of "full" and he'll eat until he is sick given the chance. That chance is what he is always looking for.
Gracie used to be fed in the morning and she would eat what she wanted, going back to graze as the day wore on. After several months with Buckwheat in the house, the family started to notice that she was getting thin, ribs starting to show, energy lagging. Buckwheat was gobbling everything in his dish and then hogging down her food as well.
Now the real goal in Buck's life is to get as much people food as possible. He keeps a steady watch on the garbage can, and he hates the new can with the tight, self-closing lid. He sits by anyone who is having food, inching closer and closer to the one he deems most likely to drop or hand over a morsel. He is not to be trusted alone when there is food waiting on any table.
For New Year's Eve, 2008, my step daughter (an extraordinarily good cook) prepared a buffet for a dozen or so guests plus family. There were beautifully presented fruit plates, cheese platters, cold meats, salads, crudities, and a plate of beef fillet tender enough to cut with a fork. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. As people filled their plates and drifted out of the dining room, Buckwheat was biding his time. Both dogs were ordered to stay on their beds in the family room and they did until the party was in full swing and the dining room was empty at some point. Buckwheat made his stealthy move. When Renee noticed his empty bed, she called his name and heard two paws hit the dining room floor. He'd made it half way down the table, sampling various dishes. The beef was at the far end and he was caught before he got to that so he wasn't so smart after all.
This year was a much quieter, smaller affair. Still, the two doorways were blocked with chairs after we had eaten as we were all going out to set off some New Year's Eve fireworks (legal in South Carolina and a source of great excitement for the grand kids). Buckwheat looked and acted defeated by those chairs, but guess what...he had no problem pushing them out of his way and working his way into the dining room and reaching anything left close to the table's edge. He was happily, and oh so innocently, asleep on the couch when we returned within the hour.