Buddy Boy is getting fat! Chubby might be a better word. He can?t even get turned around to lick his you-know-what anymore. His collar is getting tight. I take this personally, like it?s a direct reflection on us, Ginnie and me.
We?ve quit giving him table bites, and I?ve tried limiting his food intake, but to know avail. A local dog kennel told me they give their dogs one cup of dry dog food per day. And these are large dogs - Labradoodles they?re called - and are quite a bit larger than Buddy Boy. So, I put one rounded cup of dog food in his bowl daily, plus a little more for good measure, and he goes through it first thing in the morning like he?s starving. He then tears around the house looking for more food, and if he doesn?t find anything, he chews something up, like Ginnie?s bra. It?s pitiful. He?s obviously hungry. The trouble is, he?s so darned cute in that ?robbers mask? of his, it?s hard to discipline him.
After supper, Ginnie and I load the dishwasher. We?ll hear this crashing sound. It?s Buddy with his head in the dishwasher licking the silverware! We?re afraid he?s going to cut his tongue on a sharp knife, so we shoo him away.
The other night, the crashing sound was extra loud. We looked. Buddy was inside the dishwasher licking the plates!
I hate to admit this because of the ?yuck? factor. But, if we don?t give Buddy more food, he begs at the kitchen door to be let out. Thinking he needs to piddle, we let him out into his pen. He goes out and eats his own poop. Oh, yuck! This is the dog we let lick our faces!
We talked to Travis, our vet, thinking maybe there was some vitamin or mineral deficiency that was causing Buddy to do this. Feeling Buddy?s sides, Travis said, nope, Buddy?s in good shape, and that it?s not unusual for dogs to eat their own feces. He gave us some pills for Buddy that would make his poop taste bad, and ?train? Buddy not to do this.
It didn?t work.
So now I have to go out with Buddy and watch him when he?s in his pen, like I?m his chaperone. As soon as he?s done piddling, I make him come right back in. We always give him a doggie biscuit when he comes in. He knows this. It?s now a constant in-and-out for Buddy so he can have a doggie biscuit. Buddy is training us.
Buddy developed a bad cough. Actually, it was a rasping noise when he inhaled. He was real sick, with his tail drooping, and he hid under the bed. I dug him out and put my ear to his chest. It sounded like a thunderstorm. I rushed Buddy to the vet. It was an allergy, the vet explained. When Buddy inhaled, his trachea was actually collapsing. Poor Buddy! The vet gave us some pills. Buddy loved the pills because I wrapped them in bacon. But his ?allergy? cleared right up. Buddy came down with the ?allergy? a second time. It was almost like he was tricking us for more of those bacon-wrapped pills. But maybe I?m anthropomorphizing, or assigning human characteristics to an animal.
Some of his weight gain could be blamed on me, I guess. When we lived in town, I took Buddy for walks twice a day because there are sidewalks and streets to walk on. Out here in the country, it?s muddy.
But I?m disciplined about getting my 30 minutes of treadmill exercise daily. Maybe I could tie Buddy to the treadmill and put a hunk of bacon on the bumper.
If you haven?t seen ?A Dog?s Purpose? yet, go see it. But take plenty of tissues, then go home and hug your dog.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm, in Mt. Pleasant, at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Facebook. Swarm?s stories are also read at 106.3 FM, in Farmington.