September 25, 2016 by The Dog Rules
Drift still wore his green jacket whenever we went out in public as he was noticeably thin. We attended weekly veterinary appointments where they took blood samples and weighed him. At the time I didn’t completely understand what all the blood tests were about. The veterinarians (he had 3 different doctors on his case) were pleased that he was making progress. One of the doctors shared with me that Drift had been diagnosed in time. In this vet’s words; “most of them don’t make it.”
Our whole day revolved around Drift’s three times per day feeding schedule. The directions were very precise and involved mixing the pancreatic enzyme into his meal and allowing it to incubate for 20 minutes before feeding. This was to allow the enzyme to begin to break down the food even before giving the meal to the dog. Twenty minutes is a long time. I would set the timer and then go about doing other tasks.
Obviously Drift was present for every moment of the food preparation process. He never failed to leave a small puddle of drool as he tap-danced on the floor directly behind me. Then there was the intolerable-to-Drift waiting period. These were the only times he refused to leave the kitchen. He would sit with his nose pointed at his bowl on the counter. Even though he could easily have reached the bowl, he never attempted to try. I would hear him shuffle about and then sit or lie down and sigh loudly. Sometimes he poked his head out the kitchen door to see if I were coming NOW? to put his bowl down. The timer would “bing” and Drift would immediately launch into the Dance of Delight! He would polish off the meal in mere minutes. Total meal time: Prep 10 minutes, Wait 20, Eat 2 = 32 minutes.
One thing I hadn’t considered in using the timer was that I was teaching Drift that the “bing” sound meant food. Whenever I used it for our food preparation the dancing boy appeared. We soon discovered that other devices in the house also made a similar “bing” sound. While we knew that they were different devices, they all came to mean FOOD to Drift. I stopped using any timers.
We noticed behavioral changes. Drift actually pranced as we headed to the local park. He was becoming playful and even a tad bossy; grabbing the leash and prancing about while violently shaking it before tugging it vigorously. He frequently tangled his own legs and tripped himself. I was grateful that he felt good enough to be a brat and hoped that this leash biting was a phase he would eventually outgrow.
And there remained something that wasn’t quite right. He still had occasional bouts of unexplained diarrhea. He burped and farted. He loved to cuddle and lick my hands and his breath could have knocked a buzzard off a manure wagon. What were we missing?