Open Letter to My Local Sidewalk Snacks Distributor
To the person leaving my dog the most delicious street treats: Who are you?
Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)
My partner texted me this morning from our front stoop, where they found waiting for them and the dog Finn a beautiful, golden biscuit, with only a few squirrel nibbles dented into the top of it. They kicked it off just in time to beat the dog to his prize. Just the day before, Finn outwitted me and snarfed a soggy piece of pizza that someone wittily hid for him inside of a puddle.
Is this person you? Did you also leave an entire piece of toast, perfectly eye-level to Finn, in a bush, while we were on a work trip to San Diego? Did you set out a careful triangular pile of Chex Mix Bold Party by a tree? Did you thoughtfully put a plastic tub of peanut butter in the middle of the road so a car would drive by and squish it, so that Finn didn’t have to worry about operating the lid? Thank you, but you fill his days with joys he cannot have.
I believe our dog’s worldview is that: he prays very hard to live in a land in which meats and cheeses and breads are distributed on the ground he walks each night while he sleeps — and every day his prayers are answered. His only curse is that his very best friend (me) is a cruel obstructionist to his greatest desire, and she snatches at his leash every time he passes by a chicken bone.
Of course, I want to tell you that your generosity is unmatched, your respect for Finn’s scavenging behavior is unparalleled. Chicken bones galore, of course. Mussels in shells the other day! How did you know Finn loves seafood?
Don’t worry about me. I only have a complete heart-stopping fear about bone shards every time Finn outsmarts me and manages to get a chicken bone. You are peeling years off my life, I’m sure — but I’m not the one you care about.
Some particularly memorable treasures you left in the past two months:
Half a hard-boiled egg, shell on.
Takeout container (80% full!) of Ethiopian.
Box of dry pasta.
Bone that was really…sticky when I removed it from Finn’s little jaw.
Open pack of Keto cookies (can’t tell if it’s empty or not?).
Your best trick is transforming food by leaving it in the rain, so it mushes and becomes physically impossible for Finn to “drop it.” Once, you succeeded in smuggling Finn a food that’s also the worst word combination in human language: wet baguette.
And I truly believe it’s your generosity that has made Finn into a city boy, just like his best friend/stepdad, me. Finn, my partner and I stayed in the mountains for a couple months and a gloom of sadness set upon him. Nary a snack on a walk for weeks. Every tree was just like any other — no tree had once housed a small scrunch of tin foil that turned out to contain the butt of a burrito, which he found a few weeks ago, and checks for its return ever since.
If your dog tries to scarf down literally everything in sight, you need this advice.
NYC needs these essential workers for tasks that include hissing at customers, ensuring toilet paper is scratched up, and keeping unruly rodents (and dogs) in check.
Maggie Lange is a writer, editor, and columnist. Her work has been featured in New York Magazine, Vice, Guernica, GQ, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Elle, and Bon Appetit. She lives in Philadelphia with her favorite brindle boy, Finn.