OCTOBER’S HARBOR DOG’S STORY
Welcome to our monthly blog - The Harbor Dogs’ Stories
In this little vignette, I lay bare my dog Auggie’s Addiction
Auggie has a problem. Therefore, Chez Salty has a problem.
Auggie is a Foodoholic.
When Augustus Megatron Bulldozer Kingsbury was a mere 7-week old pup, he would charge to the communal puppy bowl in the whelping box and gorge himself. Having wolfed the kibble in his personal area down, he would shove his brothers and sisters aside and eat their food. As the food in the communal bowl depleted, Auggie would claim more and more space until it was only him at the bowl.
When all the kibble was gone, he licked the entire bowl clean- and the area in front of the bowl such that it was sterile. Not a microbe remained. The other pups had been asleep for over an hour.
Dog help us– we thought it was cute.
When we brought Auggie home, he was pretty much unfazed about the whole process– the removal from his mom, the car ride, his new surroundings, meeting Max. After a day or so, Aug strode over to Max, who was lying down on a sunny patch of hardwood floor and tried to suckle him.
Max did what any male would do with an infant trying to suckle him. He calmly drew one of his rear legs back and shot the 8-week old Auggie across the slick hardwood floor until he smacked against a stout dining room table leg.
Auggie shook it all off and went to check his food bowl. He never tried to suckle Max again. He merely developed other avenues for food exploitation– stealing, begging, terrorizing, coercion… and MURDER.
Well, not murder. I have to make this a little interesting, right? Like putting MURDER in all-caps so your eyes are drawn to it and you think this blog is much more exciting than it is.
Auggie suffers from what non-professionals call the VEVE Syndrome- the Vomit-Eat-Vomit-Eat Syndrome. Auggie would eat his food so fast that he would vomit it up. Then he would eat his vomit so fast that he would vomit it up again. And eat it again. And again. It was pretty disgusting. Auggie took VEVE to a whole new level of veterinary science – The VEVEVEVEVEVE Syndrome.
Not wanting to have to watch the whole Vomit-and-Pony Show, or having our expensive new puppy die of bloat, we got him a slow-eat bowl. Originally it was just a Bundt cake pan with a couple lacrosse balls in it so Aug had to push the ball around the pan to get to the food. As he grew, he simply grabbed the lacrosse balls in his mouth and spit them across the floor. That way, he was able to ram as much food into his digestive tract in the shortest time possible in order to achieve the bloat that would kill him.
So we got a proper Slow-Eat-Bowl and it drove him crazy. He would make little whining sounds like two giant hands were squeezing a leaky bellows rhythmically. It was weird, but there was no vomit or danger of bloat, so Liana and I were happy. It was just weird.
And Auggie hated it.
Auggie is a smart little dog, so it was only a matter of time before he figured out how to grab the slow eat bowl and fling it across the floor, scattering all that kibble everywhere. He found out pretty quickly that flinging his kibble everywhere was basically a siren that alerted Max that Auggie’s food was scattered everywhere and he couldn’t possibly defend it all. So Max would run from his bowl and scarf up as much of Auggie’s kibble as possible. We never stopped Max when he went for Auggie’s far flung food. Max just growled and raised his hackles when the Puppy Aug came to his bowl looking for a little reciprocation. And I Swear to Dog that Max had a smile on his face every second it happened.
Again, Auggie is smart. So his next move was to flip the bowl over so his kibble didn’t go very far. He would defend that kibble like it was Stalingrad. The trouble was that Auggie’s bowl was next to the communal water bowl. He bit both Max and Coal after they finished their meals and wanted some water.
So we enforced an “understanding.” We took half of Auggie’s food and put it in the Slow-Eat bowl, then sprinkled the other half over a 1ft x 2ft food mat under his food bowl. Then we’d enforce a No Fly Zone around it until he was done eating. The No Fly Zone was perhaps the biggest help.
That took care of our worries of bloat and Aug attacking the other dogs.
But Auggie didn’t like it.
If you liked this bit, why not click on the link below and sprinkle a few laughs over your otherwise despondent life? Therapists recommend it.