Scout, the "Randy from a Christmas Story" of dogs
*Taps microphone* Hello? Is this thing on?
Hi. Wow, it's literally been 10 years since my last entry. I'm not sure I remember how this works, but I was revisiting some old posts this week, cringing at the hideous background and feeling the urge to try blogging again. My apologies for being a bit rusty, but I hope enough time has passed that I won't tire of it soon.
Those that are familiar with my work know that this is a blog largely about the mundane. I will (probably) not be getting political. It's not that I don't care, it's that there are plenty of people shouting into the blogosphere about politics. Look, it's been a super shitty year for everyone, so my goals here are:
1. Start logging snippets of my life to help me remember things happened.
2. Hopefully take your mind off of the world for 5 minutes as I complain about crap that could happen in any given year that is not necessarily 2020. Like a story about how my dog will not eat.
This is not a new development. Those of you who remember our old dog, Lucy (RIP, little Lu) might recall that she was a bit of a Hoover vacuum. That dog ate everything, including 13 sprinkler heads and half of the decorative rocks in our backyard in Phoenix when she was a puppy. Lucy loved food so much she would do this backwards tap dance all the way to her food bowl as I carried the chow, not wanting to take her eyes off of the prize. Because she was such a bottomless pit, we were always very careful about not letting her have people food, as that is a slippery slope. The exception was the Popcorn Parade we would throw if we happened to be making stovetop popcorn for our after dinner snack. This was their special treat and both dogs would snow plow any popcorn we tossed on the kitchen floor.
Because dogs are pack animals and therefore competitive, Scout would consume her food at near-Lucy speed (aka Ludicrous speed). As soon as they finished, it was a mad dash for the back door for bathroom time. Upon their return, they would by some unspoken agreement swap bowls to make sure no one missed a food molecule. The dogs treated mealtime as an Olympic event.
Scout had always been a super anxious pup. We had major issues the first year or two with destructive behavior when we left the house, so much so that we used a crate for a while. Whenever there were fireworks or thunderstorms, you got to look forward to hours of pacing and stressed-dog face. We attributed her anxious behavior to her breed (she's mixed, but we believe there's some white German Shepherd in there - our friend Julia's purebred acts the same way) and perhaps to some traumatic event in her pre-adoption life.
Immediately upon Lucy's passing, Scout became a different dog. She seemed to mature 5 years overnight. Everything slowed down for her. Walks, sleeping more, generally being 10x more chill, and especially mealtimes. It's been the pattern of our dog ownership that a few months after losing one dog, you get another one to keep the remaining dog company. They are pack animals after all and why wouldn't Scout want another friend?
She didn't. One big difference we noticed after a couple of months was that the semi-regular barfing that would occur from our younger furball had stopped. Didn't take a genius to figure out the difference was the absence of one Lucy Steans. We felt guilty. For both dogs. Clearly Scout scarfing down her food was not something she desired, but rather something she felt was necessary for survival. She also may have just been anxious all the time by Lucy's mere presence. Le sigh.
Over time, Scout morphed taking her time with dinner into REALLY taking her time with dinner. She would sometimes go an entire day without eating, but then seem fine for a day or two. We eventually switched her food when we changed vets and that seemed to work!
For one week.
For a while we would put chicken broth in her food. That seemed delightful to Scout!
For one week.
Soon she began turning her nose at the broth-covered chows. The food would sit until the little triangles would swell with absorbed broth. So we'd have to dump it out and start over.
I tried crumbling bacon on top of her food. I've been cooking it for myself because, "Pandemic, so who cares?". Scout was pleased!
For one week.
Ryan came up with the idea of sprinkling shredded cheese on her kibble. Delicious!
For one week.
Eventually whatever meat we were having for dinner ended up as a garnish in her bowl. This has mostly continued to work until this week, when she decided carefully skimming the sausage or chicken off the top was a genius move. Our other problem is that her one treat that she adored and doubled as the perfect pill delivery system was the marshmallow.
She has decided marshmallows are for suckers.
Right about now you're probably saying to yourself, "Troubles, there might be something wrong with Scout! Take her to the vet!". Believe me, that is still on the table. We may be days away from that possibility. But the bottom line is, she seems otherwise healthy, appears content, and has always been a picky eater. The next step may be moving her to wet food, but yyyyarrrrrghhhhhh wet food is so gross, y'all.
I still love my little pumpkin, it's just that every senior dog owner goes through something like this. She is almost 13 years old, and otherwise doing quite well. It's just FRUSTRATING.
Thanks for bearing with my first attempt at this in a decade! Drop me a note if you want! Hope you are all well and wearing your masks.