Thursday, April 08, 2010

Slorpity Guilt

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
See this dog? He has allergies. He has ear infections and allergies and possibly a thyroid condition and also, most definitely, he is fat. My dog is overweight! That part, actually, I had figured out without certified veterinary help. Django is what you could enthusiastically call solid, perhaps, or thick (ha ha! In more ways than one!) or sturdy, even, if you were feeling particularly tactful. A lot of the time we just say ooomph, because Django has not, despite his advanced age of four, himself twigged to the fact that he is no longer a tiny puppy who can sit on people's laps and thus, if you have a lap he will try to curl up on it.

I knew he had ear issues but I kept putting off doing anything about it until finally Audrey took him to a new vet yesterday and they told her he had more yeast in his ears than any dog they had ever seen. This, they said, is food allergies and I thought, oh jesus, I can't afford this. And I can't. It's annoying, anyway, because the dogs have some kind of crazy strange dog politics thing going on with their food and I've never been able to break them of it.

What happens is that I feed all three dogs every morning. Usually they get two and a third cups of kibble - relatively good kibble, here, I'm not feeding them Ol' Kreepy's Cheapass Floor Scrapin's for Kanines - and a third of a can of Alpo each. Sometimes they get something a little more gourmet which we like to call Le Leftovairs - on those mornings we don't have dog politics and they all eat up happily. My mother used to say that if you have a dog who won't eat, pretend to cook his food in a pot on the stove where he can see you do it. They're all waiting, she said, for the day when Mom gives up this dogfood nonsense and cooks them a nice steak. However, on a regular kibble and Alpo day, I put down three identical bowls of food and then for the rest of the day the dogs dance delicately around them like debutantes with eating disorders.

Django waits until the other dogs go out the door and then he snatches a few mouthfuls, a strategy that is more effective, apparently (the other two dogs are not fat) than you would think. Theo stakes out one bowl and guards it for a while without eating, then loses interest and wanders off. Perdita waits until there's a human around and then eats as much as she can as quickly as possible. At least I think this is what they do. Half the time they act as if food is a crass thing that they, pure spiritual beings, can do without as they navigate their way through the celestial plains and also bark at squirrels.

I have tried to separate them out and feed them each in their own room. This never has worked yet. They lie down by the bowl and refuse to eat and/or they cry and scratch at the closed door until I let them out, at which point the other dogs dart in to make sure nobody is getting anything good. They don't eat - they just sniff. So I take the food away and then I try it again the next day and they still don't eat and then by day five or six, I crack. I can't stand it. They start to get thinner in front of my eyes and I think they are starving. This makes me become all over emotional and angst ridden and then I start to think about how food is love and emotional sustenance and at that point usually I end up making them something incredibly extra special and apologize a lot. This accomplishes very little.

Now we will have to try it again, with special allergy diet food for Django and regular food for Theo and Perdita and I have already got that sinking feeling that tells me, oh god, in a week or two I will have to cook steak for the dogs.

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