For those of you who do not know me from my own blog. Dog Eared Tales please allow me to introduce myself I am a Shady, an 8 year old blog dog. More specifically I am a black lab who recently lost two pack members to old age.
My people-Mom and I have been blogging ever since. It started out as a way to cope with the loss of our family members but we have met so many wonderful people along the way that even though we are doing better we decided to keep it up.
Linda is one of those people and one of my favorite things about her is that she loves food just like me. Another thing I really like about her is that she lists her own dogs Bubba and Duke as part of her “support staff”. I am guessing this means they get to do a lot of taste testing and I think a lot of people could learn from that example.
When Linda invited me to guest post here I was flattered. Although my blog is about pet loss and animal rescue, food is one of my favorite topics! Mom used to be pretty stingy with the people food. She used to claim it is wasted on me, that I would eat a lint ball with the same zeal I would attack a steak. I’ll concede it may look that way from the outside, but I assure you my palate is refined as any human. Mom knows that now too, but it was not an easy lesson and that is part of what I want to tell you about.
You see, last year my golden retriever brother LoJack developed tumors in his mouth. They were small and undetectable at first but he stopped eating because he could not work his tongue correctly. The whole pack knew with all our doggy senses what was happening but we had no way to tell her (this was before I had a laptop).
Mom could see he was trying to eat and was still hungry, so she started helping him. She began to make burgers and cakes and out of his prescription dog food to make it easier for him. She cut them into chunks and literally tossed them in his mouth to the back, where he was still tumor free and could swallow on his own. This worked for a while, but his condition worsened and he started to lose interest in eating. Mom was really stressed out about it because LoJack had a liver problem and he needed this special dog food. It had changed his life and saved him from grave illness four years earlier. He also needed about 6 pills a day for his liver and he would not put anything in his mouth. Mom tried everything she could think of to get a proper balanced meal into him but it took hours at a time and still he lost weight.
Then one day the vet laid it out for my Mom in simple terms. She sort of knew but needed it hear it out loud. He told us LoJack’s liver dysfunction was nothing compared to what he was battling now. Since he remained a happy boy in every way except at mealtimes and at this point his pain was minimal all Mom had to do was keep him from starving. The vet made it clear to us; it did not matter what he ate anymore—just that he ate something and maybe had a painkiller now and then. “Let him eat steak.” he had said and this became our new strategy.
A diet of the finest people food was prepared and hand fed to him daily. I am not sure how much he could taste anymore but the idea was the smell is what held his interest. My older dog sister Nikki and I were given tastes here and there but for the most part we kept our distance and let Mom and LoJack dine alone. Steak, seasoned and grilled, and spicy venison sausage were his favorites.
The pills he needed now were hidden inside grape tomatoes and bits of garlic bread. He even got vanilla ice cream and yogurt pops on the hottest summer nights. For a while, he seemed to enjoy eating again-or maybe it was just all the one on one Mommy time? Whatever it was, he regained his spark during this time and the whole family was glad to have him back to his old ways for at least a short time. All the food smelled delicious but Nikki and I knew the trade off and so we happily kept to our regular diets. Let him eat steak…
You probably know how the store ends; LoJack was gone before summer was over. The food was not enough to battle the illness and it made his eventual turn for the worse feel very sudden to us. Soon Mom had hours of time on her hands that she did not know what to do with. She could not remember what she used to do in the mornings before she started spending 45 minutes feeding LoJack, or at night before she spent hours precooking his meals.
That is kind of how the blog was born, and how Mom started to meet people like Linda. Everyone who came upon Mom’s blog posts about rescuing, loving and losing your dog took the time to leave comments and they were very kind to us. We could not have gotten through it without them.
Though it took her some time to get back to it after that, Mom does really enjoy cooking. I am an only dog now, and I am afforded a lot more slack than I ever was before when it comes to food. I usually get a few bites of any meal that is leftover (if there is nothing in it that is dangerous for me) and so I have a vested interest in getting Mom to try new stuff. This week she is going to try Linda’s recipe for “Potato and Egg Bake” and she promises to share. It isn’t exactly “eat steak” treatment, but I also get some homemade treats just for dogs made for just for me.
I would like to share the recipe for one of my favorites with you here—maybe you can whip up a batch for your own pets, or a friend’s, or maybe even drop by your local shelter with some treats and share the love. Spend some time walking the dogs there and getting to know them. I bet you’ll like it so much that you’ll be back again and again and I promise you will be welcomed with open paws even if you arrive empty handed.
Dogs appreciate food without question, but we appreciate the love that is behind much more and it does not matter one bit how you choose to show it.
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