I didn’t know how badly we needed to relax outdoors in the beautiful heat and sunlight of Virginia’s piedmont until we sat down outside at Barrel Oak.

Mina was, of course, the belle of the ball. We sat outside under an umbrella near the entrance to the tasting room. Mina caught all the foot traffic – canines, visitors, and staff – and just about everyone stopped to pet her, comment on her beauty, and offer her a biscuit. Brian, who along with his wife owns the winery, came out from behind the counter to greet Mina and said she looked fantastic.

We were there for hours. Mina drank a lot of water and I doused her with it frequently to keep her cool. A couple of times she engaged in a barking fest with some dogs on the other side of the patio, which I found quite amusing. A waiter carrying a bowl of chips stumbled as he passed so Mina happily cleaned up after him. She was so perky and had such a good time that she’s pooped today and has mostly been napping.

On our way home yesterday I stopped at the IGA in Marshall and bought two containers of Lamb Chow Now for her to try. You all know how I struggle with feeding my little carnivore actual flesh of other non-human animals, but I really object to killing baby animals for any reason. It’s disgusting and cruel and senseless and I believe that when you eat the flesh of animals who lived horrible lives and died long before their natural life spans end, that you take that violence into you and it rots your body and your spirit.

I don’t think it works that way for obligate carnivores such as Mina, though. We ARE NOT obligate carnivores.

This morning I cooked up a carton of the lamb food for her and the smell brought her out to the kitchen. The smell damn near drove me to the bathroom to get sick. I thought the chicken Chow Now smelled like death, but this is stuff makes my apartment reek like a charnel house. Mina likes it, of course. She’s eaten it twice today by itself, and once with boiled chicken and enjoyed it all three times. Figures she’d like the stinkiest thing I can find for her to eat.