Even though my parents will never own another pet, they’ve amassed a remarkable amount of pet food. In the depths of their garage, amidst salvaged furniture, packs of Depends and a broken drumset (my dad is a borderline hoarder) is a box full of bags of fancy pet kibble. Every time Costco hands out samples of the stuff, my parents’ Asian sensibilities compels them to accept.
“I’ll give them to your grandma’s dog,” my dad has said for years. But next time his trip to China rolls around, his bags are too heavy to accommodate expired pet snacks. They just sit there in a box, waiting for me to discover them each time I’m looking for my books or crafts something actually useful.
I’m reminded of the time my parents brought home a dented can with a picture of a hearty bowl of chili and “Natural Beef Tips” on it. They’d found it in one of those shopping carts of nearly expired or damaged goods in the back corner of the grocery store.
“You love soup,” they said.
“Let me see that…” Something about the color of the can, the fifty cent price tag and the words “Quality Check’d” had me sniffing around. I read through the label, which was rather meager of any evidence pointing to human or animal consumption. Finally, I found it–“dog”.
“There!” I pointed. Not to mention, my teeth and nails were already healthy, and the luster to my coat was just fine, thank you.
“We just wanted to see what it was,” said my mom, nonplussed. “That’s why we needed you to check.”
“Well you can’t eat this. You cannot.”
Of course, my dad insisted on opening it to “take just a look.” He popped off the lid and we peered over the top as if into an active volcano. It didn’t look that bad, actually. No worse than Campbell’s. He took a long whiff of it, and I suppose that’s where the comparison ended. The smell finally convinced him to throw it away. I should’ve expected him to trust no one else’s word as much as his own nose. But hey, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.