Home » dog philosophy

Tag: dog philosophy

Feeding Time at the Farnival

As you know if you’ve written to me, I try to answer most emails personally, but every once in awhile, I like to answer reader’s questions on the blog. The number one question is overwhelmingly about Dawn, but this week I’ve had several people ask how we feed eight dogs. Do we free-feed, meaning leave food bowls out or feed them individually? The answer is that feeding times at the Farnival are actually very structured occasions.

Here’s our routine: twice a day, I open up our “dog closet” and the pack comes running, knowing it’s time for grub. Feeding eight dogs at once isn’t easy, but we manage – or at least try to manage – keeping them under control by constantly exerting a calm leadership role. I put out eight bowls on the kitchen table, each labeled with white tape, and measure out each pup’s amount. Because Tony and Rosie eat too fast I place too-big-to-swallow rocks on top of their food to force them to slow down. (Thanks for the tip, Katherine P.) Then I feed them in order of their pack rank, starting with eldest to the youngest, making each one sit before I set their bowl on the ground.

I’m meticulous about food allowances because controlling a dog’s weight is one of the easiest ways to keep them around longer. Plus, dog obesity leads to disease, which means big vet bills. I hate to be blunt but a fat dog is an expensive dog. Right now, somewhere around thirty-percent of dogs are obese. Click here to learn how to determine your dog’s ideal weight.

Besides measuring out the proper amount of food everyday, I keep their weight healthy by walking the poop out of them. I know I discuss walking probably way too much on this blog, but that’s because it’s cheap and has so many benefits. You’d be amazed at what thirty minutes a day will do for your dog’s happiness and health.

Meadow’s Bad Hair Day(s)

Mead and ball(Meadow, pre-haircut)

I know my favorite canine philosopher Cesar Millan would say that I’m projecting human feelings onto my dog, but Meadow was not happy about her haircut for at least three days. She normally wears her hair long and flowing, but after a skunk sprayed her, we had to shave it off.

Her moping started as soon as we picked her up from the “salon.” We had brought two other dogs, Tony and Adriana, along for the ride, and she greeted them both with an uncharacteristic growl. She didn’t play in the mosh pit for several days nor would she sleep in our bed.

The other dogs weren’t sure about her new haircut either. The morning after we had her fur shaved Meadow stood up on the couch, and Adriana started snarling at her as though she didn’t recognize her. Like who’s the new chick?

Things finally turned around on Friday. Meadow, still brooding about her short fur, trotted beside me under a drizzling sky as we walked down the bluff towards the trails in our backyard. At that point, it’d been pouring for twenty-four straight hours, so by mid morning on Friday our normally dry creek had more water flowing through it than it had all winter. I’d say two feet of rushing water, enough to make crossing sloppy but not enough to stop us. We’ve had a lot of precipitation in Middle Tennessee over the past month, and sunshine has seemed nonexistent.

Meadow hopped into a deeper portion – maybe three feet – created by the jagged edges of the limestone rocks lining the creek bed like a dragon’s spine. And suddenly, as though a switch had flipped, she stopped sulking and started acting like the fun-loving Meadow we all know and love. In fact, I couldn’t get her out of the creek. The water splashing on her nearly naked body must have felt like a shower after a five-day camping trip, because she leaped and sprinted, diving her face under, then licking at the drops that sprayed off her muzzle. I realized she’s probably never felt water so close to her skin before, and that she must be a skinny dipper at heart. In order to celebrate her newly discovered hobby, everyday this weekend I’ve taken her down back and let her romp.

I don’t know whether I was projecting human emotions onto Meadow about her bad hair-day mood or not. But I do know that when she gets wet, even with her fur sheared she still smells like skunk. I’m not even joking. This is one of those patience things isn’t it? Like I just have to wait it out?