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Charlie Hatton
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I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Choosy Dog Moms Choose Everything, Eventually

(Bugs & Cranks goodness that I neglected to mention last night —

The Twenty Percent Solution: “This guy could make Rick Camp hit like Albert Pujols. And look snazzy doing it, too.”

Wednesday Walk Watch: Week fiWe: “Who’d have thunk ‘Cristian’ and ‘charity’ would be mutually exclusive for more than a month?”

Now back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.)

The dog is officially a load.

Oh, she’s always a handful. We’re used to the ‘handful’ routine. The walks, the feeding, the begging for Snausages and peeing on just the right particular corner of the lawn — that’s old furry hat by now. And we nursed her through several months of lymphoma treatment, which wasn’t especially her fault, so we didn’t call her a ‘load’ just for that.

Of course, if there are any dietary choices that could be risk factors for developing lymphoma, then perhaps she’s not entirely innocent. She does seem to enjoy drinking from the toilet and snurfling through the trash when we’re not looking. Also, she spent a year or so as a puppy making a habit of eating poop. The dog’s not exactly a star Atkin’s pupil here.

But she was sick. So we didn’t call her a ‘load’.

These days, she’s all better. No more chemo, down to bi-monthly vet visits, and all of her various doggie tests have come back clean.

“That poop over there is just ground up pig tendons and donkey gristle that’s been slow-filtered through the golden retriever down the block. Make the right choice, girl.”

Well, probably not ‘clean’, what with her being a dog and all. I mentioned the trash snurfling, right? Nasty business, that. But the tests come back free of cancer, and that’s the news we’re looking for. For a goofy mutt of her advanced age — she’s a little over ten now, which is somewhere up in Abe Vigoda land in dog years — she’s as healthy as a horse.

Which stands to reason, since her kibble is probably mostly made from horses. Or Abe Vigoda. But I digress.

The point is, the pooch is healthy these days. She is, however, on a bunch of vet medications for various nagging canine ailments, and that’s where the dog really comes out of her mild-mannered, happy, sloppy sappy shell.

And becomes a load.

See, these meds come in pill form, mostly. One is a powder capsule, and another might be a gelcap of some kind, but they’re all little bits of apparently foul-tasting medicinal product meant to be ingested on a regular basis by our flaky fuzzy friend. Only she doesn’t want to ingest them, because none of them taste like kibble or Snausages or our kitchen trash can. Or poop, apparently.

How on earth any creature can happily snarf down poodle turds — and right off the dirty ground, too; I mean, who knows where those things have been? — and just a few years later turn its nose up at some little stupid pill because it ‘tastes funny’ is beyond me. Heaven help me, I just want to reason with the poor animal. I want to say:

Look, dog — here’s the thing. These pills were specially formulated by very smart people to keep you healthy, so you can run around around underfoot and piddle on the carpet and slobber on our blankets for as long as caninely possible. That poop over there is just ground up pig tendons and donkey gristle that’s been slow-filtered through the golden retriever down the block. Make the right choice, girl. You can do this.

And yet, she can’t.

To be fair, her scat-scarfing days are well behind her. But given any option whatsoever, she will absolutely avoid any sort of mouth-related contact with anything that tastes like, smells like, looks like, has touched, came from the same shelf as, or rhymes with any of her various medications. This leaves us with two avenues to pursue:

A.) Give her no option whatsoever.

That one is my choice, and it came to that once or twice early on. We gave her a pill; she refused the pill. We popped it in her mouth; she spat it on the floor. We picked it up, pried her mouth back open, popped it in and massaged her throat until she seemed to have swallowed it.

And she spat it on the floor, then ran upstairs and hid in her crate. Where we found her, pried her open again, popped it in again, massaged her throat again, and she finally, grudgingly swallowed it. See? Simple.

There are only two problems with this approach. One, my wife isn’t on board with it, because she doesn’t like to be ‘mean’ to the dog. All those ‘we’s above are really ‘me’s, since she objects on principle to forcibly prying the dog’s jaws apart, and on sanitary grounds to sticking her fingers in there once they’re open. Smart girl. I could probably learn something from her.

And two, the dog needs these pills twice a day, and there are four or five of them per med session. And given that the process of eventually chucking a pill down the mutt’s gullet takes around twenty minutes or so, I’d have to quit my job to become a full-time ‘canine pill administerer and neck massage technician’.

I’ve had a lot of ambitions in my life. Owning that particular title is not one of them.

So instead, we go with: 2.) Disguise the medications as something the dog finds tasty.

And that’s where the dog really becomes a load. Because as it turns out, our mutt is a finicky snacker.

Not a finicky eater, mind you. She’s been on the same brand of ground-up hog hooves and sawdust for several years now. She’s got no problem getting snout-deep in a bowl of that stuff when mealtime rolls around. But when you’re prepping her a ‘treat’, to make the medicine go down? Weeeeell, now it just depends on what she’s in the mood for today.

In the beginning — her pre-lymphoma, low-volume med days, say — a simple Snausage would do the trick. Push a pill deep into the heart of one of those, toss is in the dog’s general vicinity, and it’d be scarfed down before taste buds, tongue or teeth had any idea what was going down. Gobble ’em all, and let the duodenum sort ’em out. That was our pup’s motto.

That lasted for a few years. And then, like a switch was flicked — or more likely, one of her three sputtering neurons finally keeled over — the dog simply went off Snausages. Quit cold turkey. Didn’t matter if they were hiding pills or not, she eventually just decided they weren’t worth the risk any more, and stopped eating them.

Thus began an escalating arms race that continues to this day. We must be in the ninth or tenth cycle by now; only my wife knows for sure. But when the Snausage trick had run its course, the missus looked for something else to use, instead. Early on, it was cheese. Kraft American singles, to be precise. One slice could be split into quarters and pressed into a ball, each portion concealing a pharmaceutical payload squished within. That lasted for a while, until it didn’t, any longer. The dog would actually turn up her nose at the sight of a tasty hunk of semi-soft cheeselike food. It boggled the mind.

So my wife slathered them with peanut butter.

I can’t say I would have made that particular leap from point A to point B. But she did, and damn if it didn’t work. The mutt smelled those and sucked down pills like an octagenarian hypochondriac at the old folks’ home. For a while. And then, not so much.

That’s when the missus started balling up little bits of bread, and smearing those with peanut butter. And god only knows where it went from there. Hunks of meat, dijon mustard, a box of takeout egg foo yung — who knows what she’s employed to get those pills down the dog’s throat? Frankly, I should eat so well — and especially when I have to take some sort of medicine or other. All I get is a glass of water and a pill in the hand. Where’s my skirt steak wrapped in bacon and smothered in cheese sauce, I ask you? And can I get one every morning with my Flintstones?

Of course, what makes the dog a big fat load is not that she gets these treats in the first place. It’s that she can’t ever seem to be fricking happy with any particular ridiculously sumptuous morsel, and eventually refuses them outright. And tonight, I stepped on some crusty bit of barely-gummed food that had a doggie pill of some kind inside. I don’t know what the treat was, exactly. I only know that it smelled better than, oh, any meal I’ve had at any time in the past three weeks. That includes a dozen or more tasty lunch burritos, and some pretty damned good pizza, just off the top of my head.

And the dog wouldn’t touch it. You’d think it was rat poison, or an overripe durian fruit dangling from my fingers. Whatever it was, I thought about finding a few more bits of it, zapping it in the microwave, and calling it ‘dinner’. Pills and all — how much could a heartworm pill and half a dose of dog incontinence meds really hurt me, anyway? It’d be worth finding out, if the stuff tasted half as good as it smelled. And the mutt? Not remotely interested. She gave me a look, as if to say, ‘Frankly, my dear, I’d rather lick terrier turd than eat that garbage.‘ Some dogs, you just can’t reach.

So I guess it’s time for my wife to make the next move. Could be filet mignon this time. Or a nice dip in caviar. Maybe a creamy alfredo sauce, and homemade raviolis to hide the little pills. And someday soon, no matter how delectable — or how much I happen to drool over it — the dog will sniff it gingerly, scrunch her nose, and refuse to eat it. Under any circumstances.

Have I mentioned? Our dog is quite simply a fricking load.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Choosy Dog Moms Choose Everything, Eventually”

  1. Nooter says:

    all that stuff you mentioned sounds pretty good, but it would go down easier if youd take the big nasty tasting seeds out before serving

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