Two steps forward, one step back

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 11:49 pm by admin

When we went to look at Chester this past Saturday, I spent a few minutes talking with the veterinarian to learn his views on dog care. He is adamant that dogs should be fed once a day, regardless of their age. I’ve been of the school that after one year of age, a young dog is transitioned to one meal a day over the course of several weeks. This is accomplished by reducing one feeding, and increasing the other. I have always fed my canine and feline companions in the afternoon. This allows them to take care of business right after they eat, again in the evening, and then again the next morning. This has reduced the number of “accidents” dramatically. Of course, if an animal is ill or recovering from surgery I’ve always fed them small meals 4 or 5 times a day. For the dogs, I cooked their food which consisted of rice and barley, ground beef or chicken boiled in bullion for the fist few days, then I’d gradually add cooked vegetables to the mix. Once they stabilize, I begin to add in their kibble.

This morning was the first that Chester wasn’t fed. I took him out into the yard multiple times and then again just before I left the house. I put him in his crate with a rope toy and left, no ceremony involved. When I returned, he was waiting for me quietly, and the cat was howling at the basement door. After taking Chester outside for 10 minutes, I fed them both, Chester in the kitchen and the cat in the basement. I let Chester out again and brought the cat upstairs. Again she looked at the crate and disappeared up the stairs, so I closed the door behind her. Less than a minute later I went out into the yard to find Chester watching the fish intently from the rock border. I called him and he came immediately, then returned to the rocks only to be called away again. We walked around the yard and returned to the porch. I decided to do a little trimming of the burning bushes around the porch that had begun to invade the azaleas, and in doing so, I forgot about Chester. In less than a minute I heard a splash. There was Chester doggy paddling around the pond. I called him from the edge of the pond, but he acted as if I wasn’t there. For all I know, he didn’t hear me, he was that intent on catching a fish. Suddenly he seemed to notice me and after several more laps, he climbed out, just out of my reach. He completely ignored me when I called him to come. As he prepared to jump back in, I used one of the large nets I had made for the fish, and caught me a dog. In trying to herd him towards me, he fell into the settling chamber and swam to the edge by me feet. I helped him out and carried him to the porch. Fortunately there were a few towels draped over the furniture from Monday’s events, and I used them to dry him off. As I was drying him off, a towel fell over his head. He panicked and nipped at my hand through the towel, but he did this very gently. I told him No! and continued to dry him. When I brought him into the house, he acted quite dejected and went into his crate all by himself. I left him there and started to get dinner ready. He joined me in a few minutes, the previous events seemingly forgotten and made up with me. As I continued to prepare dinner, he waited at the top of the stairs for the cat to make an appearance. The basement door was opened and I let him think she was down there. I’m pleased that he did not venture down to the landing or into the basement in search of her.

Two steps forward, one step back.


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