Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday October 11th 2020
When Autumn creeps in, it’s too cold for Y, Blitzi and I to spend the evening in the garden, so we have to socialise indoors. As we know, this does not please Isis, who makes her hostility quite clear.
The day after the visitors’ first sojourn in our front room, Isis, of course, is well aware that her house smells of Blitzi. It was bad enough when he took over her garden, but his intrusion into the house is the last straw. After I wake her, she sniffs meaningfully at the bits of floor he has walked on. She doesn’t look pleased.
Wham! At breakfast she reverts to her mealtime madness of long ago: she growls, barks and screeches at the top of her noisy podengo voice. She dives at her bowl and snatches the food with fierce, pecking motions. She attacks it so wildly that her teeth clack against the metal, and the rim of the stand bashes against the wall, adding to the cacophony.
I am horrified. I can’t even remember when she last behaved as badly as this.
I hope it’s a one-off.
It isn’t, of course.
Back to the old routine. She begins to growl and bark. I remove her food. She goes ape. When she stops performing, the food is returned.
But now she is even more angry than she used to be. One day, although I wear my gardening gloves, she loses it, spins round and catches my arm. The wound is deep and painful. I leave her for forty minutes before returning the meal. She eats silently.
This behaviour won’t do.
Perhaps a more positive approach is called for.
I begin hand feeding her a little of each meal. She likes being hand fed and doesn’t make a sound. I praise her hugely as I offer her some more of her food – in the bowl this time. I have the last portion ready in a spare bowl to reward her again.
This works like a charm. Step by step, I eliminate the hand feeding and serve the rest of the food in two portions. The experiment is going very well.
Then she becomes ill.
She approves wholeheartedly of the vet’s instructions to feed her as much as she wants. She’s eating twice her usual amount and still waits for more. No problem. When she completes her course of steroids, we can gradually reduce her rations until she returns to normal.
The steroids make her ravenous of course. She’s desperate to eat. Not a good time to persist with the training.
For the first few days of the ‘let her eat as much as she wants’ regime it’s difficult to gauge how much to give her, so I am feeding her in increments again – only now the increments are much bigger.
After the first large helping, she goes to the door and waits for the next one. And the next. And the next. We peak at 150 grams, twice her normal daily amount.
Then, with the gradual reduction of the steroids, we reduce the amount to ninety grams which seems to satisfy her. That’s where we are now.
We’re also transitioning from Burns to Royal Canin high fibre food because the new vet wants to see if Hairy One’s anal gland function can be improved.
With all these food related issues, I am ignoring the mealtime vocalisations. The screeching has ceased thankfully; now there are merely spasmodic growls and bursts of loud barking.
Although I find the racket very irritating, I do not attempt to correct her.
As you can see, she is back to her healthy, lively self again
but I will delay the corrective training until her antibiotics finish and she is back to normal rations.
Obviously, we can’t go back to the three servings routine as she is only just accepting that we now have just one bowl per meal – albeit a very large one.
I think next week we’ll have to return to the ‘dog raises hell, food disappears’ regime.
One day I come across a pair of thick leather welding gauntlets in the art room. I’d forgotten I had them.
Good. I’ll wear those when removing her dish.
Perhaps I’ll also post a ‘wanted’ on Birmingham Freegle for a suit of armour.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk