Rocky, my cousin Elissa’s Patterdale terrier, has been spending a lot of time on the farm this summer.

My cousin Elissa is like a sister to me -- she lived with us for the summer after she graduated high school while my sister and I were in our senior year. So, it made sense when she moved to Marysville six months ago that she would spend a lot of time at my parents’ and bring her dog with her.

When Mom heard that Rocky was spending a lot of time in her kennel while Elissa worked or was resting, Mom insisted she bring her and her daughter Lola to the farm instead, so Rocky could at least  run off her energy playing with their dogs.

The Patterdale terrier loves it so much that Elissa says she knows once they start heading west out of town that they’re going to the farm and spends the next five or six minutes whimpering with excitement.

While Elissa was away for a conference, Mom watched Rocky for a couple weeks. Rocky fattened up quite a bit -- not because Mom was overfeeding her, but because Rocky would eat out of the other dogs’ bowls when they fed the dogs.  

With six dogs, Mom and Dad gave up on each dog having their own bowl. They put down a bowl for each dog, but supper time is usually just a mass feeding frenzy as the dogs move from bowl to bowl trying to figure out which bowl has the best stuff. Most of the time, it’s just dog food all from the same bag, but occasionally they mix in scraps.

My parents dogs know when they’ve had enough and usually leave a little food in the bowls when they’re done, but Rocky, who’s still just a pup hasn’t learned when to stop.  

You have to keep an eye on her, and not just when you’re feeding the dogs. She’ll take any and every opportunity to steal food -- whether it’s a sandwich you just made, left-overs left on the table -- even food right off your plate or out of your hand.

Elissa swears she gets enough to eat. And we don’t doubt it, but apparently Rocky doesn’t think she’s getting enough to eat.

Last weekend, Elissa brought Rocky to my niece Gabby’s birthday party at the city park. We thought when Elissa tied her to a pole, the leash wasn’t long enough for her to get the cake.

We were wrong -- Rocky was tied to one of those retractable leashes, and she apparently pulled hard enough or stepped on the release button. While Gabby opened presents the next thing we knew, Elissa was screaming at the Patterdale terrier to get off the picnic table, she had already taken a huge bite out of the corner of the cake.

We were all glad we already had eaten cake and kind of wondered what would have happened if she had gotten the whole thing.