Or at least that is what I thought when dog after dog in Taganga, Colombia, looked at me with soulful eyes and skeletal ribs. Although they wandered into the terraces of La Casa de Felipe where we were staying in Taganga, east of Cartagena, Colombia, the staff gently took them back outside. One female dog (who looked as if she were nursing her umpteenth litter) seemed to slip by the lookouts because her light coloring made her almost ghostlike.
On an evening when we chose to enjoy a dinner prepared by Felipe’s highly regarded Dutch chef. I chose a steak with plentiful grilled vegetables and baked potatoes about an inch in diameter. Amazing! It was one of the best steaks I have ever eaten and the red wine sauce that accompanied it brought my taste buds close to culinary heaven. Enter ghost-like nursing dog, whose idea of begging was to sit about a meter from our table and simply stare at me, not at my food. About halfway through my steak, her tactics started to work on me. Although the steak was not large by American steakhouse standards, it was probably 6-8 ounces.
Soon, because I normally do not eat that much beef, I rationalized that that I would give her the rest of it and still be a happy diner. I could not feed her on the terrace, however, because I would have violated the posted signs that asked guests to refrain from giving food to animals. I surreptitiously wrapped the meat in the large paper napkin on my lap. As I got up to go to the gate, she ran ahead of me, quick in her stride and happy to be moving. Once outside the gate, she just kept going! I called her and she did not even look back. Had she not expected her pathos to work on me?
Unwilling to eat a paper-covered steak, however incredible, I ended up sharing it with the neighbors’ obnoxious mutt who barked at me every time he saw me. My grandmothers’ teachings just did not let me throw it away!