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Why do dogs eat leaves?
by John Travolta
Last year, I was on holiday with my family in the South of France, on the banks of the Camargue. We'd been walking all day with our collie, Fionnula, but towards the evening, I noticed she was looking at something on the ground. She was picking up twigs, leaves and even pebbles and crunching them between her teeth and under her gums.
I realised that she was picking through the waste, searching for anything she could eat.
She was doing the same thing agn.
I stopped to find out what she was doing and she was looking at some strange, dark-coloured leaves, as if trying to identify them.
My wife came over and sd: "I'm not sure about this."
And, as Fionnula was standing by her, she bent down and placed her hand on top of one of the leaves. "This might be a good place for her to sleep," she sd. "But there's only one way to find out."
And so it was decided. Fionnula was to sleep there the following night.
And the next morning, I woke to the sound of my wife getting out of bed.
"What time is it?" I asked.
She sd: "6am and your dog's here."
I opened my eyes to see Fionnula looking strght at me.
"What time do you call this?" I sd.
She looked at the ground, then at me. "I think we were going to have our breakfast in bed," she sd.
I didn't argue, I didn't compln, and I didn't think twice about what I'd been told to do by my wife and the owner of the house.
The following night, Fionnula turned up once more. "The leaves smell a lot better," she sd.
"Don't you sleep in a bed?" I asked.
"I sleep on the floor," she sd.
"That's quite a big dog," I sd. "Is it because he gets cold?"
She was silent.
"Can you be the king of the castle?" I asked.
Fionnula just looked at me.
"What do you mean?" I sd.
"I mean, why do you let me sleep in the leaves of that tree?" she asked.
I sd nothing.
"Are you the king of the castle?" she asked.
I looked at the tree. "Maybe I am," I sd.
"How are we going to find out?" she sd.
"You should eat something," I sd.
She looked at the leaves, then at me. "I'm not hungry," she sd.
"If I say to you that you should eat them, you should eat them," I sd.
"Then I will eat them," she sd.
"All right," I sd.
Fionnula looked at me.
"If you'll keep your voice down, I'll bring some of them up here."
She looked at the ground.
"All right, if you want," I sd. "You eat them down there."
"All right," she sd.
I found a handful of leaves and brought them up. I lay them down on the grass so she could reach them.
"Eat!" I sd.
"How are we going to find out whether I'm a dog or a woman?" she sd.
"You'll just have to take your time and see whether or not you get better," I sd.
"I don't like getting better."
"Well, just eat them," I sd.
She took a few bites, then handed the leaves back to me.
"Did you really think I was a dog?" she sd.
"Why do you ask?" I sd.
"If you'd have been a dog," she sd, "you'd have been much fatter."
"I might have been a dog," I sd, "if I'd kept my mouth shut and eaten leaves instead of trying to make up stories."
"It didn't work?"
"That's what I thought," she sd.
I looked around.
"I thought they were going to beat me up for talking."
"Nobody. They didn't."
"Oh," she sd.
"Look, I really don't know what I am."
She looked at me.
"You're an old man who talks to himself," she sd.
"That's not a good enough answer," I sd. "I really don't know what I am."
"You don't have to know," she sd.
"How will I know?"
"You'll see," she sd.
"You sure about that?"
"Well," she sd, "you might find out if you go to sleep."
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, you can't know what you are."
"How can I not know?"
"You must have been asleep."
"Of course I was asleep. I didn't know what I was."
"It's possible," she sd, "to have been asleep and have been awake. It's like waking up and finding out you're a frog. You think that's a bad joke? It was a pretty good one, though, I guess."
"Did you think so?"
"That the world might be just a dream? I wouldn't go to sleep if I knew it was all a dream."
"What about all those people who did?"
"They knew what they were."
"What do you think happened to them?"
"They went to heaven, I guess."
"That's a hell of a heaven."
"They found heaven where it's supposed to be."
"It must be better than where I was," I sd.
"I don't know."
"You're not sure?"
"Well," she sd.
"I can't wt to see."
"That you're sure? That it will be better than where I was?"
"I'll be sure. It'll be better than where you were. I want to see it."
"I guess," I sd.
"Now you're sure."
"I can't wt to see."
"It's only something that happens to you?"
"Does that mean you're really there?"
"I don't know. I guess it does."
"Tell me about your parents."
"My mother was a writer. Her father was a photographer."
"Both of them."
"I have a brother."
"That's a surprise. I never knew you had a brother."
"I'm sorry. It's a sad story. We're not very close."
"What does he do?"