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Just a note to remind you that it is a good thing that you are loving and brave and affectionate and drop-dead adorable. Without these qualities . . . well, we won’t go there.

May I remind you that:

* My foot is still healing (well, thank you, but slowly) from the deep gash you gave me last September, the one that resulted in a severe infection that kept me hobbled for 8 weeks and in a $1200 hospital bill we are still paying off. Yes, I know we were just playing soccer and that you didn’t mean to hurt me and I should have had shoes on, but . . . just saying.

* We still haven’t finished paying the $700+ vet bill that resulted, last month, from your decision to make a midnight snack of the shreds of paper in my office paper shredder, thus earning yourself an intestinal obstruction that required 3 vet visits, two rounds of IV fluids, a set of X-rays, and several medications to, um, help you rid yourself of the offending obstacle. And yes, we were thrilled to high heaven when you recovered fully without needing surgery, but . . . just saying.

* Friends and strangers are still looking at me with shocked sympathy and looking askance at the poor pack leader (aka my husband aka the man who pays the bill for that expensive dog food you eat) on whom they needlessly blame this beautiful shiner I have. I just don’t see why it’s hard for them to grasp that my lovely airedale was doing his big horn sheep impression and nailed me in the temple when I bent over to pick some violets in the yard, resulting in blackness, shooting stars, and nausea. And, yes, I love the colors yellow and purple, but not so much around my eye . . . just saying.

* We’ll even overlook, for now, the purloined lasagna, the ham, the seafood curry soup, the Christmas cake, the berry cobbler, the $20 bill, the pounds of stolen butter (yes, we know it’s your favorite), the steak (ok, your dad still isn’t willing to overlook that one)–and the cost of the baby security latch we had to install on the refrigerator, but . . .
just saying.

It might be time to chill a little.

Loving you all the same,

Mom

P.S. Get off the couch.

Don’t even ask how this stuff happens–it’s Crispin, and no matter how careful we are . . . this stuff happens.

The little boy-o managed to get into and eat roughly 20 chicken wings out of the fridge last night.  Cooked.

And thus dangerous. We did all the things you’re supposed to do. Fed him some white bread moistened with vegetable oil to cushion any sharp or scratchy bone pieces and to . . . um . . . move things along.

Watched him carefully, checking for signs of bloat, belly ache, or anxiety.

Worried.

The pack leader stayed up to keep an eye on him until about 2:30 this morning.   Crispin whimpered on and off for a while (if nothing else, he must have been uncomfortably full). I took a turn at about 3, let him out in the yard, then brought him back in but decided to let him sleep out of his crate. He was quiet for the rest of the night, though starting at dawn every bird I heard sounded like a dog crying and I finally got up with him.

Worried about what I’d find.

Huh. He greeted me with his standard full-body wag and happily ate the bowl of white rice I gave him for breakfast (and then thoroughly scouted Dinah’s breakfast bowl looking for any crumb of kibble she might have left–no luck).

We’re not going to leave him alone for about another 24 to 36 hours. Fingers crossed.

And the fridge locked.

Think good thoughts about a dumb dog. With dumb owners.

Things have been pretty quiet around here, dogwise–knock wood (please join with us in doing so).  The fridge has resisted the prying paws and nudging noses of marauding airedales for several weeks.  The warming weather has enticed them into spending much of their waking time romping happily in their big back yard. They’ve even been sleeping late on weekends and during Second Child’s spring vacation, meaning that we’ve all been able to enjoy a little extra sleep.

This past week, though, they both suffered briefly from . . . some internal disturbances. Without going into detail, let me just say that when you have two or more dogs operating within the same back yard, sometimes it’s difficult to tell which one is leaving evidence of being a little off in the digestive department.

Enter the humble crayon.

Not sure which of your dogs is leaving unpleasant gifts in the back yard? Try this:  peel some crayons, one bright color for each dog you own, and use one of those little square pencil sharpeners (or the built-in one found in larger sets of crayons) to grate just a bit of colored wax over each dog’s plate of food.  Just a little bit–good quality children’s crayons are non-toxic, but you don’t need to overdo it.  The next time they do what dogs must do, you’ll be able to tell which one has the collywobbles.

Aren’t crayons wonderful?

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.

Incessantly.

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.

Sigh.

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

Remember this story? About the young woman serving in Iraq who helped to rescue a puppy trapped in a burning trash pit?  Army Spc Gwen Beberg and the pup, whom she named Ratchet, formed a bond that not only saved the dog’s life, but that helped Beberg endure and survive . . . well, everything that needs to be endured and survived in the midst of war.

Back in October, Ratchet was shipped to Minnesota to live with Gwen’s parents until the young woman and her dog could be reunited.

Today Gwen is safely home. Waiting at the airport for her?  Ratchet.

Welcome home and happy reunion, both of you.

Now let’s bring the rest of ’em–four–legged and two–back home as well.

No, not the kind Crispin left in the yard (at 4:20 a.m. and again at 5:30 a.m.–yawn) after he stole and hastily consumed some yummy leftovers we brought home from a holiday dinner with dear friends last night.

No, this is the advice kind. Something important they think you need to keep in mind if you are the type who hangs out with dogs.

Especially airedales.

Enjoy. And do, in the coming year, remember to follow the motto that serves as our blog’s header.

With love and holiday greetings from Dinah, Crispin, and their people.

Mind Control.

Happy holidays from Dinah and Crispin

Happy holidays from Dinah and Crispin