Arrg! Dogs keep on teaching me that “Patience only begins when you run out of it.” My best boy ever did two bad things today, after a lifetime of never doing either. I did lose my patience, briefly. The first time, when I caught him with his face in the bag of new dog food, I just chuckled, nudged him away, and clipped it shut. We had had a great day outside, more putting the garden to bed, pulling up, cutting back, raking, while he napped comfortably wherever he chose to.
He hadn’t eaten too much–I remembered Knobbydog, who was shut in a shed for a couple of hours one time, to keep him separate from some fightful ranch pitbulls: he ate an entire 40 pound bag of kibble, was shaped like a barrel and sick for days–no, Stellar had only eaten a cup or two, I think. But still, it’s a new food, and an abrupt transition can cause…er…digestive distress.
Not much more than an hour later, I set down my wooden bowl with a chicken thigh, turned my back for seconds to adjust his bed pads, and caught him snarfing the whole thigh in one gulp–NO!! I yelled, lunged, pried open his mouth and stuck my hand down his throat. Gone. Fuck! Fucking fuck! I yelled, Bad dog! Yep, I lost my temper. I ran out of patience. The thoughts that flashed through my mind! I wasn’t upset about losing the chicken thigh (unlike Raven’s breadloaf incident), I was worried: chicken bone, gut puncture, horrible painful death…. But as soon as I realized he’d swallowed the thigh whole, no crunched bone, I let go of that worry. And a ghost of Dr. Vincent’s voice reassuring me that a bone couldn’t pass undigested through their guts. There was nothing I could do anyway.
Then, it was over. A flash in the pan. I was in the kitchen washing my hands, and he had gone to sit shamefacedly on his bed. I cut off the other chicken thigh, took my bowl back to the table, sat and quietly enjoyed my dinner; gave him last bite as usual, and some good pats, and it was over. This is so new to me, to experience a sudden strong emotion, like the combination of fear and rage this evening, and then be able to let it go. And have it really, truly be gone.
He is so hungry all the time since this new medication regime. At least I’m not having anymore trouble getting pills into him! But he wants to eat all the time. He’s never been a highly food-motivated dog, that was his sister Raven (and the Knobbyheaded Dog). Now he’s a food-seeking missile. I don’t mind feeding him more, I just don’t want him to eat too much!
I know… what could go wrong at this point? Fretting about what might happen is a waste of energy that I simply don’t have these days. Surrender. He is such a gooood boy. What will tomorrow bring? More patience, I’m sure of that. I’m grateful for patience.