The power of real sourdough bread should never be underestimated. Our sense of taste has undergone many evolutionary changes. Foods have become so diverse in their makeup, and the instinctive senses of survival (taste, smell, etc.) have largely been neglected or not needed. Only when we consciously sharpen or concentrate these senses again, do we realize that we still have them. It is only that as we grow older, we get more and more biased, or pre-opinionated, and a fair judgment is sometimes hard to be achieved. Sometimes children are a better way to analyze new tastes, but also the senses of animals can be enlightening.
Let's get to the story I really want to tell you....
It's already been a number of years, when this story first took place. I had a bag of three-day-old-bread that I was taking to a nearby farm, one of the few that are in the local area. As with every farm there is always one or more dogs around, barking to make sure they don't lose their status as a watchdog, and earn their keep. After parking my vehicle and walking for 50 yards or so, I stood in the yard, but no one else seemed to take notice; just the watchdog, which was quieting down but keeping its distance never the less. So I put the bag of bread beside the door and knocked. No one seemed to hear me, so I called out, and proceeded to enter the log house. Indoor I was greeted by the elderly farmer's wife. We exchanged a few words, and after only a couple of minutes, went outside again.
Coming out, I noticed right away that there was a loaf of bread missing. I voiced my suspicion that the dog that had been hanging around had taken one, but she looked at me with skepticism, and flatly refused to believe me; there was no dog in sight. The only one that could have taken a loaf of bread in that short a time period was the dog, so I looked around, searching for the dog. As I went around on one side of the building, there he was: the dog, a loaf of bread between his paws, lying beneath an old, giant apple tree. He had already cleverly discarded the plastic bag and was ripping into the loaf of bread. She had followed me, and stared in disbelief at the dog, becoming speechless for a few minutes. When she found her voice again, she began to scold the dog, but he just casually continued to munch on the bread. I tried to calm her down, and assured her that it wasn't all that serious, but I'll never forget that scene of the dog beneath the apple tree.
As we proceeded to walk away, a person came walking into the yard leading a horse. She still kept on apologizing, and assured me that her dog had never done this before. I knew from my own experience that all kinds of wildlife, including dogs, bears, ducks, and geese, have had the opportunity to sample our sourdough bread, and were quite attracted to it. When I saw that horse, a thought flashed through my mind, "Let's try it on the horse!"
So I took out another loaf of bread, broke a piece off, gave it to her and told her to offer it to the horse. It took a little insisting, because she was still a little bug-eyed, so to speak, from the dog incident, and now I was trying to see if her horse would eat it: ridiculous!
Horses are known to be fussy and selective eaters, and she said that there was no way that her horse would even take a slight sniff at it. You should have seen her face when the horse eagerly started to eat the offered bread. It was as if she was seeing things: her disbelief was that complete.
Before long, the horse had eaten half a loaf, and after repeatedly explaining to her that I was surprised at all, she still hadn't recovered from the apparent shock.
I finally left, since there was little else to speak of with her now. She was still stunned at what she had witnessed. As I was saying goodbye, and leaving, her mumbles and glances to the horse reflected her inner thoughts, as she wondered if she knew anything about farm animals now or not. Initially the dog had unexpectedly eaten the sourdough bread, but when the horse also ate it: that seemed to have shattered her confidence, altogether.
As I was leaving, the dog was just contentedly finishing off the last piece of bread. He had eaten over two pounds of bread!
Over the winter, my wife and I feed the local wild duck and geese population with old, leftover bread, and there have been more than one occasion, when a stray dog would come by and swipe a piece right out of the water and eat it; no hesitation whatsoever.