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If you’ve been following these posts, you know that Crispin has been in what we call his “extra Crispy” mode this week.  Making his pilgrimage to Refrigerator City has been a dream come true for him, and a nightmare for us.  A friend who’s been reading along (and who’s a licensed clinical social worker) sent me a helpful page of instructions, intended for families with children who have Prader-Willi syndrome (a rare genetic disorder, one symptom of which is insatiable eating), for putting a refrigerator into serious lock-down.

The analogy is apt. I’ve diagnosed him as being like a failure to thrive kid, except that his early deprivation was caused by a parasitic infection he had when he was a baby (roundworms and the dreaded hookworms). No matter what we fed him, he was still–literally–starving. At one point he was so anemic that his gums were white, and the vet was pretty sure he was going to die.

We pulled him through, though, and evicted his little tenants, but now the vet says the episode probably changed his brain in a way that’s left him–like the P-W kids–hardwired to seek food.


Especially butter, which he craves with an unholy passion.

We can’t leave any food out or even turn our backs to get the mayo while we’re making a sandwich or !POOF!, the sandwich is gone before we turn back. He and Dinah have to be fed separately–she in the mud room, and he out on the back porch–or he’ll bolt all his food and then eat hers. And, as I’ve documented here before,  I have caught him on more than one occasion standing on his hind legs at the stove, front paws propped on the rim, eating simmering or even boiling soups and sauces right out of the big LeCreuset Dutch oven.

When he was little he would eat so fast he’d sometimes choke on his food, and the vet advised us to feed him in a wide, flat metal bowl, then put a huge rock in the center of it, and spread or sprinkle the food around it so he wouldn’t be able to get to it as quickly, or to get him a set up like this:

or this:

We–being basically cheap thrifty types–went for the rock. Man, did he hate that rock. Once in a while we’d find the bowl rock-less and the rock itself tipped over the edge of the porch. We never did figure out how he got the rock out–better not to know, probably.

When he’s not gorging, he’s a delightful boy–glued to our sides (one of his many nicknames is “Velcro Boy”), loving, and very tuned in to the moods and feelings of the family. Second Child and I have often said that with the right training he’d make a great hospice dog. Unless the patient he was visiting had food–then all bets would be off.


Have any of you had a dog with an eating disorder? How did you handle it?

Happy birthday, Dinah!

It occurs to me that, in dog years, she’s now only 2 years younger than I am.  And that by her next birthday, her dog years count will have surpassed my people years one. She’ll be older than me.

We’re not the sort to give the 4-legs birthday parties, but she’ll get plenty of attention today and maybe an extra treat or two. Anyway, the way we see it, Crispin took her out for a lasagna dinner last night.

We’re going to try this again.

Last night we were all out in the den for a while. It was something that had to be done–this season the writers of Lost are finally starting to put pieces of the puzzle together. You can hear the (donkey) wheels turning now, you know? So the Pack Leader and I have decided to put on a real press to start at the beginning and watch all the episodes again as quickly as we’ve can until we get up to where we are in the show’s real life. Without, we hope, getting nosebleeds from the time travel.

I am not someone who watches a lot of television, but Lost is my drug. You can see where this has to be done, right?  After three episodes last night (viewing punctuated with murmurs of “Oh! Now I see!” and “That line right there? That’s the whole series in a nutshell” and “Oh, man, I’d forgotten about that!”), we headed to bed.

On the way, I went back to the front part of the house to turn off the kitchen lights and make sure that everything was in order before we went to bed. At about that time, Second Child came down from her room to get the nightly handful of carrots for her guinea pigs* and she preceded me into the kitchen.  And this is what I heard as she walked in:

“Oh, no.”

“OH, NO!”


It looked like a grisly crime scene. The fridge was wide open.  A carton of eggs (a brand new full carton of eggs) was upended on the floor, which was a soggy sea of crushed brown shells and bright yellow egg goo. One whole egg sat in the middle of the mess, from which sticky yellow paw prints led away.

To the right, the empty wrapper from a block of cheddar cheese.

Further to the right, a shredded piece of aluminum foil.

The foil which, until three hours earlier had covered (ominous music plays here as the camera pans to the left, to the bottom shelf of the wide open refrigerator) . . . a pan full of homemade lasagna. Made with great care. And homemade sauce. A pan large enough to have obviated the need for any more fancy cooking for the rest of the week.  A pan that was now . . . empty.

It seems that the latch, the latch upon which the secure future of modern civilization might very well hinge, had failed us. Pulled right off the side of the fridge.

We’re trying one more time. I have, as you see, repaired the latch. No one is allowed to touch it for one hour.

In the background, if you look closely, you might see a familiar furry foot. Aren’t they cute when they’re asleep?

If this doesn’t work, we may have to superglue Crispin’s paws together.


*One of these days I’ll write something about Pinto and Calico. Perhaps about how much we love little animals that can’t negotiate large kitchen appliances.

He is so shaggy. People are amazed when he gets up and they suddenly realize they have been talking to the wrong end. --Elizabeth Jones
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Nancy Hall ©2009
March 2009