Memo To: Dog owners
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Garlic powder
I’d originally planned to write about the Bush administration’s commitment to a zillion-dollar boondoggle, the national Missile Defense System. But as it is now the season for our national dogs to be bombarded with fleas and ticks, I’ve decided to write about a much less expensive Flea Defense System to protect them. Patricia and I have two big dogs. One is a four-year old black Labrador Retriever named “Farra,” after our friend, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan. The other is another black dog, slightly smaller and seven years old, a cross between a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a hound, named “Jessie,” after Jessie Jackson, as Patricia became an admirer of the Rev. Jackson when he ran for President in 1984. Alas, when we adopted Jessie, we also got another dog from the same litter, who we named “Charlie,” after our good friend from Harlem, Congressman Rangel, but Charlie died in a car accident four years ago. (Alma Rangel, Charlie’s wife, was especially saddened as she said my Lab was the only thing anyone ever named after her husband.) Upon learning that I replaced Charlie with Farra, Min. Farrakhan told me: “I hoped you will love it very much.” We do.
The point of this brief memo, though, is to tell you how happy we are that none of our animals has ever, ever had a flea!! This is because when we first got our puppies, Jessie and Charlie, Patricia went nuts buying dog books from Amazon.com. She wanted to be a good mommy. And one of the things she read, right off the bat, was that if you sprinkled the dog’s food with garlic powder, it would work its way into the hair follicles of the dog, and the fleas would go “yuck” when they got near it. Patricia has been buying garlic powder from Costco by the case ever since. The only problem, which we have learned to live with, is that when they try to give us a kiss, you get garlic breath, bigtime.
By the way, we have always named our pets after politicians. There was Maggie Thatcher, a British Springer Spaniel, a puppy acquired in 1979 who lived 15 years and expired not long after Maggie herself was forced from office. Maggie (the dog) had fleas from time to time, but that was before we discovered garlic powder.
Patricia made one other great discovery after the vet repeatedly told us that Farra and Jessie were getting seriously overweight. Too much pampering and too many “treats.” She switched to a diet dog food, but after a few months discovered there was not much improvement. The problem was in the “treats,” which consisted of their favorites, pigs ears, or beef jerky strips from Wal-Mart. One day she decided to try carrot strips and while they at first looked puzzled, disappointed, they nibbled them down. After a few days, I think they realized the carrots were not just food, but “rewards,” as they got them when they used to get the fatty stuff. Now they gobble down the carrot strips, their tails wagging as if this was as good as it could possibly get. You can buy a bag of shredded carrots, or shred them yourself. Both dogs are now practically svelte.