The first time we went up, I made enough meaty broth to last the week. I froze it in small aluminum cupcake containers, and had them thawed for each meal on the stove (because even in the fridge, they stayed frozen.) It was kind of awkward, as I had to wait for my husband to prepare her food each morning, and find a place on the barbecue to thaw it each night.
Too much work, they said. Too much space in the fridge, I guess. We did have a whole box of tiny containers of wet dog food, that my last dog loved. And I mean, loved! He would eat it all, lick the container clean, and then carry the container away. But they were expensive, so we only bought them as treats for times like when we were camping.
Only he died, and we had a whole box and a half left. Enough for both trips to the lake – and that is what we bought them for. For him. And I wish so hard that I had just given them to him. I wish it so hard I fall to tears every time I think of it. But we didn’t know. We didn’t know. If we had…
Clara wasn’t raised on wet dog food. She got dry kibble, raw chicken necks weekly, and meaty broth. When she came to me I had no trouble feeding her those foods – only the wet stuff sitting on our shelf hurt. It really did.
Only she wouldn’t eat the kibble. In the beginning, she wouldn’t even eat the chicken necks – so I cooked them up into a broth, and started adding things to it:
- vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, butternut squash, carrots)
- brown rice
- coconut oil
- fish oil
- nutritional yeast
She loved those meals. I made sure that I didn’t give her enough for the day, to encourage her to eat her kibble as well. Then twice a week, I would give her raw chicken neck (and when that was hard to find, I gave her raw chicken wings) in order to strengthen and clean her teeth.
In the two months that I had her, she was never sick. Not once. That might not seem like a long time, but Gryffindor (my last dog) was set off by so much that any change made him sick.
I thought about giving her the wet dog food; it would be easier than bringing along homemade (especially since I can’t cook around people, and struggle more up at the lake since I don’t use barbecues or propane stoves, and am intimidated by them.) I even tried – but she didn’t like it.
I guess that for Gryff, who always got commercial wet dog food (he had bad teeth, and couldn’t eat dry – and he got sick when I tried to make him homemade, so I gave up) this brand was a real treat. For Clara, though – who was used to real food – it was nothing like good.
So as I said, for the first trip, I brought up the homemade. For this one? I was trying not to be difficult (always a bad idea!) and snuck little bits of that food into her meals until she would eat it. I brought up this instead, and fed it to her the day we left, and for both meals on the first day up there. And then?
About 3:30am I was woken up to a bad smell in the Dome. She has a potty pad, and she used it (thankfully.) I tried to cover my face and go back to sleep (too dark to deal with) when I heard her being sick on my bed. I took out the flashlight to find that she had had a very rough night, indeed.
Thankfully it was a cold night, and I had several layers of warm blankets. The top one had to be completely removed, and put outside for the night. Then, tired as I was, I fell back to sleep (kind of.) At 5am, I decided sleep wouldn’t work like that, and read (on my tablet, which was charged by a solar panel the day before). At 6am, I went down to the lake, and brought up water for washing.
There is no running water up there. No washing machine. No laundromat close by. I did what I had to do. The potty pad was replaced. My top blanket was washed, but not used again through the week. And then the three layers and sheets below that were washed with lake water and shampoo (use what you have) so that I would at least have blankets for the night.
The sun came up, and my blankets dried on the line that day. As for my dog? The rest of that box of food was not used for the week. Instead, she lived off of liver and chicken (which I cook and cut up to use for treats) raw chicken wings, and a lot more kibble than she had been eating before.
Hopefully I will remember for next time to do what is right, and what is good – and not worry so much about what other people consider me being difficult. It sure isn’t worth it for either of us.