Mighty is a small dog at around 10 pounds and an old dog at 16 years. According to charts, my little fellow is 80 in human years, actually older than I am.
So it stands to reason that everything is not working like it did when he was a pup. Two knee surgeries and an arthritic back have slowed him down. Rabbits still bring out the chase in him but it is choreographed in slow motion.
The bunnies have no fear and don't even try hard to lose him. Rabbits aren't vocal but the "Nana nana boo boo, stick your head in doo doo, you can't catch me," is very evident in their body language as they slowly lope teasingly just beyond his huffing, hip-rolling gait. Mighty seems good with that. After all the thrill of the chase is the most fun.
Lately when he comes home from the veterinarian after his twice a year teeth cleaning, he is sometimes one tooth less. When he yawns, he is beginning to look like a Meth user. So, it is good he doesn't catch bunnies. He is pretty weaponless for large game but he can still put a hurting on a mole or vole.
Recently he had to have his teeth cleaned again. You would think as the teeth get fewer, the price would go down. Not so, but then it doesn't at my dentist either. Same price for occasional teeth as a full set. Phooey.
Per usual post-op instructions, I put him on soft food for 4 days which he picked at. Four days later, I tried to reintroduce him to his regular fair of pre-softened pricey dry food, mixed with wet. No interest. Ok, only wet. Again no interest. Oh oh, when a dog quits eating,especially an elderly dog,I am concerned.
I tried a new wet food, only mild interest that quickly faded. Tried MANY varieties of canned foods with multiple flavors but still only passing interest.
I alternately tried, peanut butter gravy or bacon bits and drippings for flavor, raw egg, ground beef, and ground turkey. Each experiment brought initial enthusiasm that quickly tailed off into indifference. He is gluten intolerant so some choices had to be eliminated. I had to read labels carefully.
I know Manzi, I should have just made his food like you do Cody. I came close with the ground meats. His lack of enthusiasm, not mine squelched that. My cooking didn't excite him. That kind of hurt.
My life was revolving around his dog bowl, searching my computer for ideas and bugging my vet who could not give him steroids to increase his appetite due to the pain meds he is on for the arthritis. The vet could not find a medical reason for the poor appetite. I know he was thinking--age.
Amazingly, he didn't lose any weight and acted normal. However, His Highness was wearing me out. I was obsessed. I know he is probably on borrowed time at his age. Knowledge and acceptance are two different things.
Then I examined myself instead of him. It was totally possible I was creating this picky eater. The little fellow who had eaten pretty much the same thing every day for years was discovering that there was choice out there and he was liking it. He was getting a ton of attention and new variety several times a day in the food bowl.
I finally hit on a workable compromise and stuck with it. I presented the food and regardless of whether the dish was emptied quickly or not, I didn't pick it back up after a few bites and a turned up nose. I tried not to cave. In the morning he got his regular Little Cesar canned dog food with a tablespoon of the prescription stuff mixed in. I set it on the floor and left there. He ate a small amount then walked off per usual.
Instead of snatching it up in frustration as before, I left it there and sure enough in about an hour, it was all gone. Then just as a test, I put a cup full of his dry food in a new bowl and also left it. Low and behold, through out the day, he would snack on it, preferring to bring it piece by piece into the living room to eat. By evening it was also gone.
This has gone on successfully for over a week so I think we are over the hump. Yea! I bow willingly to His Highness who is currently eating with normal enthusiasm. We have bought more time.
What is it about these furry little fellows that brings us to our knees trying to please? Is it that they think we are the most amazing creature on this earth? Really, who can fault the judgment of such intelligent beings?
Could it be that they have no emotionally bad days. There may be grumpy cats (that cat cracks me up) but I have never seen a grumpy dog. They are never critical and could care less what you are wearing or if it fits ( you are the same to them whether you are buck naked or dressed to the nines).
They are always willing for a walk, though they are smart enough to quickly figure it out that a walk is probably out if you are buck naked. They just know when you might need quiet support and can listen attentively if need be. To quote my favorite quote master Robert Brault, "If dogs could talk, the world would lose its best listeners." Sometimes just a head in your lap and twitching of ears is all that is required.
They don't cringe at your singing and will sometimes join in. They never notice if your butt looks big and think bed hair is quite stylish. They actually prefer when you are a bit stinky from working in the yard. The perfect friend.
About the only time we fall from grace is when we look at them and say that awful phrase,"phew, you need a bath". They really hate it when we add perfume to our own bodies (they would much prefer we smear dead rat on ourselves) or when we drag them to the vet(nothing good ever happens there). Luckily for us, they are very quick to forgive.
Again, not knocking cats for I am a proud owner of a sweet,slightly needy purr baby named Minnie. However, she is not above giving me steely glares for hours when I leave her alone for the better part of the day. Cats have mastered the withering stare and are not above kicking litter out of the box when ticked off. They are notorious for holding a grudge and getting even. It is part of their charm.
We should all be a much more like our dogs though I think most of us are more cat like. Which way do you lean in your own temperament? I am a bit cat like, wishing I were way more dog like.