Monday, May 20, 2013

HIS HIGHNESS


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 took him back to the vet  who put him on a prescription diet which he did show a little interest in but at a cost of $6.00 a day.  That would be uncomfortable financially but doable. The only problem was that he was not supposed to be on that prescription as a regular food for any length of time.  Too rich.

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 daysThere 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. 

35 comments :

  1. Oh, I loved this, so true, so true. I do hope your sweet little dog continues on with his diet without any problems, for a while at least. I read just recently that dogs have owners, but cats have staff. That about says it all. :-)

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  2. I love your little Mighty and there's a tinge of sadness, yet joy as I see him getting older. BTW...I don't do cats!

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  3. Patti
    Very interesting. Here's the deal. Since I've had Puss, I think of cats as kind of nibblers, coming back to the feed dish often through out the day. I don't know if this is universal with all cats or just Puss. It sounded like Mighty had this same cat trait, perhaps because he's rather an elderly guy and maybe the digestive system can't handle all that food at one time. So do you ever have a prob. with Mighty eating the cat food? Or where do you feed the cat? Cody licks the cat dish clean the minute she retreats from it and when Puss returns, all the food is gone. I know cat food is not good for dogs, too much Taurine. My daughter has solved her problem by feeding the cat on a high shelf in the open pantry where the dog can't go.
    I'm also wondering if your cat eats the dog food that Mighty leaves in the bowl?
    I am so happy that you and Mighty have come to good terms about his food. Bon Appetite to Mighty.

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  4. Mighty is so lucky to have you as an owner. Pets really do become family members to us don't they?

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  5. As a cat person who does like dogs, I think DJan has it right.
    As we have so many cats we feed them twice a day and they clear the bowls ...when you have one or two they tend to eat on and off so Mighty is trying that method I see.
    Its very easy to be trained by the animals we love ...I have two that refuse to eat for a day, on and off, so I used to treat them so they ate ...now I ignore them and only worry if its more than a day.

    Gret piece to read btw xx

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  6. That is funny! My mom had at least ten different bags of dry cat food and a bounty of little cans of food for our cats growing up. She lined the different flavors up for them in the kitchen. When Pumpkin adopted men in my 20's, I decided my pocketbook could not take such a hit and just got him Purina cat chow. He supplement his diet with fresh squirrel.

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  7. What a lovely post of your dedication to being Mighty's best supporter. I am definately more cat like. My dogs have all been stellar beings, me, uh not so much. My cats and I have an understanding...I obey and they cut me some slack. Oma Linda

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  8. I'm definitely cat like. I also prefer cats but I currently have a little dog that looks very much like Mighty. Ours is also old. Unlike you, I pray for his demise. Every morning I love on him and tell him it's okay if he wants to die before sunset. He's sweet but causes so many problems. He's an ankle biter and our grandson is terrified of him. We spoil him and he's a real lap dog. He's also keenly attuned to me. He reads me like a book. If I'm up tight, he's uptight. I've never noticed cats doing that. They don't give a rip how you feel. I'm glad Mighty is eating better. We've also played that game with our Buddy.

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  9. I love cats and dogs both, but only have the cats now. I read your first comment about dogs having owners and cats having staff. Haha! How true that is!

    Little Mighty is a lucky dog to have such a loving mom. I'm glad to hear that his eating is good again and is doing well!

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  10. I am definitely more cat-like --but wish I were more dog-like. It does sound like your dog is spoiled... BUT--you found a way to get him 'over' it!!!!! ha... It is amazing how we do get and stay SO attached to our pets... I hope Mighty lives for many many more years and stays healthy!!!!!

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  11. I LOVE MIGHTY!!!! I hope and pray he lives on for many many more years....! There is nothing like the relationship between a dog or a cat and their 'person/
    BTW: I've always heard that saying, this way..."DOGS HAVE MASTERS AND CATS HAVE SERVANTS"....lol!
    Givw Mighty a big hug for me, and Minnie, too!

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  12. Glad to hear Mighty is eating again. He knows smaller, frequent meals are better for us since our metabolism slacks off. ;)He wants to keep his boyish good looks.

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  13. No way you can spoil a dog that old. I'm glad he has decided to eat. My husband has a tee shirt that says, "Cats don't know sit." That speaks for him.

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  14. Well I'm terrified of dogs, always have been but I know that any animal is a tremendous companion. We lost our 2 burmese cats a few years back now and I still miss them.

    I love Grumpy Cat, she cracks me up!

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  15. Djan,
    That sums it up perfectly. Only in my case, I am staff for both:))

    turquoisemoon,
    There is no good ending to a dog story. You know that all too well. I know what is coming eventually. I just hope I can put it off a while longer.

    Manzi,
    Ha, I feed the cat in a separate room with a child gate to keep Mighty out. That keeps him from snacking in the litter box also. She turns her nose up at his.

    Keith,
    Thanks though I am not sure who owns whom. They really do don't they.

    Angie,
    I think with your herd it would be hard to keep track. Cats are notoriously picky eaters.

    islandwonder,
    You were smart and that is how I feed Minnie. She gets free choice Halo (for her gas problems).

    Linda Wildenstein,
    I love that "I obey and they cut me some slack" comment. Perfect.

    Linda,
    Well you gotta know he is hanging around just to annoy you:)) I'll do what I have to as long as Mighty is healthy and feeling pretty good.

    Cheryl,
    Djan really nailed it didn't she. We are here to serve at their pleasure.

    Betsy,
    Yeah, his problems were mostly of my doing. I want him around as long as he is healthy and out of pain.

    Naomi,
    Ha, I know well that I am talking to a career cat servant right now. They do have people training down to a science don't they?

    pattisjarrett,
    Ha, to keep his boyish good looks, I need to dye the white claiming his face. He was doing his puppy like happy dance today so all is well again.

    NCMountainwoman,
    Ha ha, that took me half a minute. I know some who would love that shirt.

    LLCool Joe,
    Grumpy cat gets me also. Who can't just laugh at that face:)) Maybe time to get some new cats Joey.

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  16. Lot of truth . . . and love crammed into that post. Wish I had more positive canine characteristics, except for the preference for aroma of dead rat.

    Alas, meow.

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  17. I am definitely more of a cat than a dog - and I see no need to change....
    LOL

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  18. I love the description of Mighty chasing rabbits, I can really picture it!

    As a cat owner (OK staff or slave), I can only speak about cat food.... For some reason most of the pet food people these days like to make rubbery pellets, out of the "may contain beef, lamb, chicken, pork, or fish" and float what ever it is in gravy. Of course cats only lick away the gravy and leave the rubbery matter behind (I would too!!). We have found one manufacturer that still produces chicken, beef or fish that looks like it really once was one of those things, and that is just as well! According to the can, it is made in the USA.. so, just think, your chicken and beef flies halfway around the world to feed our pets in NZ! Quite a thought!

    Glad Mighty is eating, even if he is taking his time! Pxx

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  19. I knew Mighty was a small dog, but did not realize that he only weighs 10 lbs. He looks bigger.....no wonder you call him Mighty Dog!

    We have a small dog after having had big dogs always! She is still learning to hold her own with the cats.

    Speaking of cats these three are the first cats I have had who will eat until they throw up. I think it's because they are all rescued and never knew where or when their next meals would be.

    Kiki is the biggest problem as she will push the others, including Winterpup, out of the way and eat any food available. She now eats in the bathroom and stays there until the others have finished as she is beginning to resemble a meatloaf!

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  20. Animals add so much to our lives...some of it even good stuff!
    Nice tribute to Mighty. I am glad you were able to figure out who was in charge. He was playing you like a fiddle there for a while by the sounds.

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  21. We're watching a similar decline with our kitty cat Bonsai. He is going on 13 years old, but has never really been a healthy cat. Sure would be nice if he would appreciate our careful ministrations for him, but he just knows that's how cats are meant to be treated. Ah yes, his royal highness! Mighty is so lucky to have you.

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  22. Dear Arkansas Patty, I haven't lived with a dog since growing up on the farm. My brother's dog was named Kentucky by our mom. That was the name of the road on which we lived and she knew that we might not remember our road, but we'd always remember our dog's name!

    Since Kentucky died, I've been a cat person. I'm not sure which personality I have--cat or dog--but I so wish that I could have that quality in both of them that is able to live just in the present. They are present to the day and to us. It is a great gift. Peace.

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  23. Great post! I think dogs are more like our children - they'll train us rather than the other way around, if we let them.
    Cats, I love, especial when mine dains to sit on my lap and purr.

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  24. LC,
    Yes, what is it with them? The nastier smelling the better.

    Judy,
    Ha ha, that is perfect. "I see no need to change" is the epitome of "cat like".

    Peter,
    That really is pretty good news that our cat food is being served in NZ. We are so use to seeing "made in China" on everything that it is nice our products sell somewhere. Thanks.

    smartcat,
    I had that problem with Minnie when she first appeared. She only weighed 4 pounds when she arrived as a full grown cat. It was like lifting a bird. I really had to monitor her at first as she tried to gain all her weight back in each meal. It took a while but she now eats normally. Seems you have found a good remedy.

    Olga,
    He had me a perfectly trained neurotic mess for a while. What power they wield.

    robin,
    I know you have been going through it with Bonsai. We do what we have to don't we? They expect no less.

    Dee,
    How clever of your mother so you would know your address.
    You are so right. It is that they live in the moment that we should emulate--well except when cats hold a grudge and dwell in the past for a while when they feel slighted.

    Linda Reeder,
    That is a comfort isn't it. I like it when Minnie gets between my back and the couch when I lay down. A vibrating heating pad which is delightful in winter. Not so much in summer.

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  25. You are the dog owner of the year! Your Mighty has it pretty good. I'm not so sure I'd be this indulgent with Boston, but I know his master would be. Actually, Boston has not been well the past few days and not eating. I suggested a tablespoon of yogurt. Sure enough. That did the trick. He began eating again, and it seemed his digestive problem was soon over. What we won't do for these dear creatures. What would we do without them?

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  26. Sweet Patti I needed something to cheer me up today so I came to check out your blog. Sure enough I found a fantastic post here, I can always count on you to have one. Happy sweet little Mighty is eating and you figured it all out. :) You are so right about cats. My oldest one has been holding a grudge ever since Chancy came to us. You would not believe how she fusses at him when he is two feet away from her. In my younger days I was most like the cats but now I lean toward more to being like the dogs. Hugs for you and nose kisses for Mighty and Minnie!

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  27. oh Patti, your little furry one is the most precious thing... it is so sad sometimes to see our pets age and know most likely we will outlive them. I also feel happy for that, to know that I will keep the promise I made them to give them a loving home for their whole lives.

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  28. I think my cat has trained me well...and it sounds like Mighty has you wrapped around his little paws!

    Have a great holiday weekend Patti!

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  29. Retired English Teacher,
    Ah where were you when I needed you? I will keep that yogurt trick in mind. Makes sense with the probiotics.

    Maggies Corner,
    They really do know how to carry a grudge and to make the receiver of their ire pay. Gotta love their determination.

    Introverted art,
    I wish everyone made that commitment. Some see animals as disposable items to get rid of when they no longer please.
    One of my big fears is that my pets will outlive me.

    Keith,
    Thanks and back at ya.

    Terri,
    You too--looks like it may be a banner week weather wise. Enjoy.

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  30. This is the only time in my life that I have not had a pet, cat or dog. I miss it but can't afford to travel and pay for boarding !

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  31. Glad you figured Mighty's eating dilemma out before you went broke. I've tried my whole life to be as accepting and forgiving as a dog but have fallen way short! Give Mighty an extra treat from me.

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  32. Perfect synopsis of life with a dog. Loyalty knows no bounds with them.....

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  33. Barb,
    Actually if we were more dog like, we might be subject to abuse as the poor dog often is. I bit of cat is probably a good thing.

    TB,
    They really do set the bar high don't they?

    Ginnie,
    As much as I love Mighty, he does tie me down. When something does happen to him, I most likely won't get another. Traveling and pets often don't mix too well.

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  34. I've never had a dog since I was five, but you're making me want to go out and adopt one. Your solution for Mighty might be a good one for my picky granddaughter. I hope everything continues well for little Mighty.

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