Doggy Archives, spring ’99… Last weekend at Pets Mart, I saw a new type of dog chew, a two-pack bacon-flavored square of something stiff. The label said things like, “biodegradable…from a natural renewable resource…” An eco-friendly dog treat made of cornstarch! I thought, surely this will be better for Marley than pig ears (which are greasy/fattening). It looked so hard and inflexible that I envisioned hours of chewing pleasure for my sweet little dog.
Once again I underestimated Marley’s consumption abilities. He lay belly-down and worked on that chew square for 45 minutes straight. When I realized he was going to be so darn focused about it, I thought of taking it away from him but that type of action always carries with it the danger of Marley reprisals.
After he finished the treat and licked the remaining scent up off the carpet, Marley drank two full dishes of waster. Then he lay down on his side and watched his belly swell. Based on all this, next time I took him out for a walk I was not surprised to see diarrhea, but I WAS surprised by the green color of it.
Historical perspective: Our vet has fussed at us for continuing to feed Marley when he has an upset stomach. Craig always has reasons that even if Marley seems listless or ill, we should give him food anyway, to see if he will eat it, which will tell us how he is really feeling. (???) The vet said, dogs will eat even when they are nauseous, dogs are not the best judge of this kind of thing, when your dog has the runs or is vomiting STOP FEEDING HIM.
Marley always knows what time it is, and next time I let him out into the back yard, he retaliated for the delay of his dinner hour by seeking out and eating his previous poop of the week. (Dry, high-fiber stuff, but still completely disgusting…at least to me.) Craig tries to keep the yard picked up, but of course Marley is much better at finding stray pieces than we are.
So I shrieked, Craig, Craig, what should I do?, Marley won’t stop eating his poop. True to form, Craig insisted that I feed him, reasoning that Marley was eating his poop out of sheer hunger and dog food would turn this cycle around.
Since Craig wasn’t watching me serve it up, I cut down Marley’s rations 50-75% of the usual, kind of a sorry compromise. Not effective, either, because after gulping this down, Marley evidenced a strong desire to go back outside and eat more poop.
What a dilemma…if we didn’t let him out when he banged on the patio door, how did we know he wouldn’t have diarrhea on our carpet? But if we did let him out, he would surely eat more poop. Earlier in the day, Craig had been raking up stray pieces, and there was a motherlode sitting on the poop shovel. Marley made the most of this buffet until Craig dragged him back inside.
Next thing I knew, Craig had given Marley a pig ear! Now I was really shrieking. Craig, why did you give him that greasy thing!, that is the last thing he needs!, remember what the vet said?, we need to STOP feeding him. Marley just munched and ripped away (pig ears are very cartilaginous and noisy to eat), oblivious to the domestic strife around.
Later Craig experimentally let Marley out again. The poop buffet from the shovel had now been encapsulated in a plastic bag and Marley, disappointed, could only sniff around in the grass for strays. A few minutes after Marley came back in, I heard him chewing something ELSE. Craig tried to head off more shrieks by explaining, “I saw he still had the runs, so I gave him a carrot. That should bind him up.”
(Medical science alert! Previously believed to facilitate healthy and frequent elimination through the digestible fiber they provide, raw carrots actually act as a constipating agent!)
Believe it or not, after an evening of excessive doggy flatulence, Marley started to feel better. By noon the next day, his much-studied poop had become virtually normal. Naturally Craig took credit for thinking of the carrot. Naturally I was blamed for thinking Marley could digest a biodegradable, naturally renewable resource.
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