Life With A Recovering Starved Dog

Meet our dog, T.P.  This is a picture I took today.  She has lived with us for almost half a year now.

5 months after rescue

5 months after rescue

When we brought her home months ago, she was a starving dog.  Literally.

The day we found her.

The day we found her.

After trips to the vet, a few shampoos, time spent on a regular feeding schedule and LOTS of love and encouragement, T.P. is recovering.  Her personality is starting to shine more every day, as is her soft, black coat.  She’s a little less timid.  She whimpers in excitement for the first ten minutes we’re home.  And she loves us.  We are her people.  Her family.  All 4 humans living here, along with the yellow Lab, a Siamese cat, a 3-legged used-to-be-outside-but-is-now-an-indoor cat, an iguana, a bearded dragon and a 9-year-old goldfish from the fair. She loves my mother, too, who frequently stays with us, but the feeling is not mutual, so I’ve chosen not to include her in the list.  😉

Life with a recovering starved dog can be interesting.  Our vet warned us that she will probably never be able to eat less than 3 times a day.  When she’s fed, she eats “ferociously”, like there is no tomorrow….nor upcoming feeding in a few hours.  The first time we realized how consumed T.P. was with consuming food was when we left her inside for about 30 minutes while we ran an errand.  When we returned, she had cleaned off the kitchen counters and the table.  Understand, there was no food left “out”.  She ate 1/2 a bag of Doritos, finished a loaf of bread, ate an entire pack of whole wheat English muffins and a coffee cup full of bacon grease, including about half of the broken ceramic, from when she knocked the coffee cup down on the tile floor.  Portions of the wrappers were left, which is how we figured out so quickly what she had eaten.  She’s never gone to the bathroom inside the house, and she has the best manners when we’re all at home with her.  But left alone inside, the girl can get into some trouble trying to combat her fear of starving.

One night, T.P. jumped up into a chair on our back patio and peered at me through the kitchen window.  She had a light brown mustache covering her muzzle.  “Oh, no!”, I exclaimed.  Checking the back yard to see what she possibly could have gotten into, I found an empty bag of organic fertilizer.  Yep.  It was basically a bag of chicken poop.  She ate it all.  And she probably licked her lips clean while I was trying to figure out what she had eaten.  As it turns out, left alone outside, too, the girl can get into some trouble trying to combat her fear of starving.  The woodpeckers will have a little less to eat this spring, because T.P. has found their suet cakes to be a delightful treat.  Wax, sunflower seeds, cayenne pepper…..she doesn’t mind those things one bit.

I’ve also learned that if you add garlic to your indoor dog’s food, it will make the output from the indoor dog, when she goes into the backyard to … well … to “make output” … it will make it less desirable to a dog who might like to eat such things.  Fortunately, you don’t have to add garlic to the food of the dog who might like to eat such things, because self-made output is about the only thing a dog like that will not eat.  Yeah.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.  Except that when you come over to visit us, be careful if you walk through the front yard.  That’s become the outlet for the inside dog.  And if T.P. ever escapes the backyard, she’s not hard to catch.  She’ll just be around the corner in the front looking for the all-you-can-eat buffet.

This week, it’s freezing where we live.  It’s so cold, that we’ve been letting T.P. sleep inside at night, in our room, instead of staying in her doghouse.  This morning when I left for work, it was still 28 degrees, so I made the decision to leave her in the house.  All other humans were gone.  I checked the house over twice, and made sure the counter tops and table were free of food.  I also made sure the trashcan was secured behind closed doors.  Confident that she would be a good girl, I left her home alone, knowing my husband would be back in a couple of hours.  About exactly 2 hours after I left her, my husband called me at work.  His words were, “you set me up”.  T.P. had found a way to get in trouble, and it was her starving nature that lead the way.

The counters were clean – check.
The trashcan was closed behind doors – check.

What possibly could she have found to eat?

Apparently the head of a medium sized Labrador is small enough to fit through a 7″ x 5″ cat door.  A cat door that leads into the garage.  A garage where I put a bag of sealed garbage last night.  T.P. had stuck her head through the door and had pulled almost the entire Hefty bag of garbage back into the house, piece by piece, and spread it all over the kitchen and den floor.  The only things that she wasn’t successful at getting back into the house were items that were too big to fit through the small opening, like an orange juice bottle and some hamburger meat styrofoam trays.  Other things that were too big to pull through, she chewed up and swallowed while her head was still protruding into the garage through the cat door.

Yes, life with a recovering starved dog provides for some head-scratching, reconsidering moments. But when we remember where she came from, and see how far she’s come, we can’t help but smile at the love she has for us…..and us for her.  Garlic-breath and all.

T.P. and #3

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Pattie on January 25, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I love this story! Too sweet and funny : ))

    Reply

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