CO-Horts Blog

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Tomato Addict

Posted by: Alison O'Connor, CSU Extension in Larimer County

For those of you who read the title of this blog and saw my name as the author, I'm sure you're thinking I had a change of heart and now appreciate the "love apple" and all its glory. Nope. Sorry. I still don't like eating raw tomatoes. But someone in my family does. That someone is Willow, my 15-year-old beagle:
Hi, I'm Willow. I'm a tomato addict.
Willow came into our lives about 9 years ago. She was a research beagle, so we don't know much about her history. All we know is that she's a wonderful dog who's sweet, kind and LOVES TOMATOES. She loves tomatoes more than I love chocolate--and that's saying something.

Each spring, Willow gets her own tomato plant in a container on our back patio. By the end of the season, this plant is looking pretty ragged, since she sticks her face in it about 30 times a day and knocks it over all the time. When the plant blooms, her face is yellow with the pollen. She often has a faint odor of tomato. And no, it rarely fruits, since she picks off anything green in desperation to eat tomatoes. The ground of our patio is littered with green tomatoes.

In order to feed her appetite, we also plant tomatoes in our garden. Her favorites are Sungold. And my little beagle can tell when the tomatoes are ripe. They say dogs are colorblind, but not Willow. She knows when they turn orange. A few nights ago she was outside just before bedtime and she started to bark. No, she wasn't barking at neighborhood cats or rabbits--she was barking at the ripe tomatoes. She wanted to eat them.
Willow and the glory of Sungolds.
We indulge in Willow's addiction, primarily because we think it's the cutest thing ever. And a couple tomatoes never hurt anyone (we checked with our vet). But last night was the mecca of the tomato heists...

We have a tomato plant on the back patio from a client's yard. I am trying to determine if my city water changes the growth of the plant. It also had a large green tomato on it, about the size of a softball. For some reason, we didn't think Willow cared about this tomato. She was happy stuffing her face in her own patio plant and eating the ripe Sungolds from the garden. We were wrong.

The softball-sized tomato was just starting to turn color. And that's when Willow, in the stealth of night (around 8:30pm), picked it off and ate at least half before we caught her. Willow! A partially eaten, mostly green tomato in her jaws. And she had never been happier. She was awfully proud of herself.

Honestly, I've never known a dog to be so passionate about a fruit. I could understand if the plants grow Pup-a-roni, but Willow clearly thinks that tomatoes are better than any manufactured dog treat out there. And I love her for it.
I love tomatoes!


  1. As a youngster I had a beagle... Crackers...who would eat tomato plants - fruit, leaves, stems. Must be a beagle thing?

  2. We has a beagle/lab mix named Bosley who would have eaten tomatoes had they been available. He ate everything! Perhaps some of his worse were burned charcoal from the Weber grill (because they has the juice of hamburger on them) and Ant Traps (a call to the poison control center). Had tomatoes been available, he would have devour them. He was something else! MomsJan from Minnesota

  3. Sorry, word in error - should have been
    "had' the juice of hamburger on them. :)

  4. My beagle eats all my raspberries :-)

  5. Such a dear, innocent face. I adore her. All my pets are squirrels that eat my house, not my tomatoes. Yes, I feed them walnuts...they do not like cashews. Sus

  6. I enjoyed reading your post. I have 2 shelter rescues, one of which, Morgan is a half beagle. They have such wonderful personalities. And my Morgan loves all fruits and veggies! Thank you for giving Willow a wonderful home after her previous life in a lab. Have you heard of Beagle Freedom Project? wonderful rescue org that gets animals from labs... if you haven't heard of them, look them up and watch their videos of rescued Beagles the first time they see the outside in their lives, and touch real ground. Enjoy your Willow as long as possible!

  7. The Beagle Freedom Project and the Colorado Beagle Rescue are all fantastic organizations. Seeing the dogs touch grass for the first time will both melt and break your heart. We have another beagle at home, Hazel, who is a puppy mill rescue. She prefers lounging on the armchair instead of eating tomatoes :)