Clara is Hungry

Clara in her chair

We have a beautiful Basset Hound named Clara. She is the best dog in the world, sweet and gentle and has never growled at anything or anyone even once. She is longer and bigger than the typical basset. Her parents were very large. Not fat, just large.

A couple months ago Clara started getting a little too large. Not a lot but when your back alone is two feet long and you’re only four inches off the ground it’s probably not a good idea to have any extra weight pulling you downward. We put her on a diet but not a harsh diet; just decreased her morning and afternoon ration of food slightly and cut out all treats and people food except for vegetables, which Clara loves. Over the next couple weeks she began to lose weight but then she wasn’t…and looked to be going in the opposite direction.

I mentioned this to my boyfriend and he sheepishly admitted that he was feeding her after I went to bed because ‘I feel bad she’s hungry’. He’s such a softie. I too feel bad she’s hungry but it’s unhealthy for her to be overweight and it’s something that is entirely under our control.

I mean, let’s face it, who among us wouldn’t have a smaller ass if someone put a meager allotment of food on a plate twice a day and told us that was all we could eat? It’s not like she’s capable of refusing food, the thought of which puts an image in my head of her lifting her paw and waving it back and forth in the air like a blackjack player signaling to the dealer her desire to stand. So I gave the ‘it’s important she lose weight for her health’ speech and was assured that she would not be fed any additional food.

Fast forward a month or so and I took her to the vet for a Bordatella (kennel cough) booster and nail cutting. Now I know there are people out there who might get on my case about the fact that we could cut her nails at home and we know that, really we do, but well…she won’t let us. We don’t know why, maybe we don’t do it how she likes to have it done or maybe she just likes getting out of the house.

So off to the vet we go. The first thing to do at the vet once you get inside after the ten minutes of sniffing and peeing outside, is to weigh in. Clara had no loss but no gain either and I was happy with that. I took it as a good measure of how we were doing with her diet and it told me that perhaps we needed to start going on some long walks to help her out a little.

A couple days later we got a call from doggie daycare, a place she goes to once or twice a week (hence the Bordatella booster). She had a mysterious limp. So off to the vet we go again. All I can say is that I must not have read the scale correctly the last time we were there because she was five pounds heavier than she was a few days before.

Of course I knew who I had to kill…um, I mean speak with and I gave a much sterner ‘it’s important she lose weight for her health’ speech again. Assurances and promises were, again, given.

Poor Clara, she’s so hungry she’s regressed and is becoming a hunter like her wolf ancestors. Alas, she doesn’t realize that sneaking up, attacking and eating innocent knee-high nylons and the occasional careless dust bunny wasn’t exactly on the menu way back when. (She threw it all up so all is well.)

What is it that tells her these things are good to eat? Is it bulk? Do they really like their food at all if that’s true? She won’t eat Fritos or any cracker-type food, maybe it’s a texture thing? I wish she could talk so she could tell me.

I looked up whether or not dogs have taste buds and the information was mixed. Some said yes but the sense of taste is not as strong as human taste buds; some said they didn’t have taste buds in their mouths but in their stomachs. If they eat something, their stomach determines whether or not it’s bad and, if it is, rejects it. I think it would be pretty funny if people were like that. It would take us forever to eat because we would be waiting for our stomachs to give the first bite a thumb up or down.

At any rate, she is losing weight steadily now but I have to be diligent and watchful of both her and boyfriend. I can go on nylon patrol but I’m afraid the dust bunnies will have to fend for themselves.

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~ by Karen Miraz on April 21, 2013.

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