Monday, October 27, 2008

My Dog Bridge

How could I say no to this face?
It was that time again so I pulled out a few kilos of turkey and chicken mince from the freezer which I had collected during the past month while it was on special and made a months worth of dog food. Some would say and one person did say to me directly, "How can you justify the time, effort and money spent on making your own dog food?"
Funny word that, 'justify', as if I had to defend my decision to do it. I wasn't committing an offence either legally or morally so why the question? Don't know!.. but as I have just lovingly cooked a few kilos of minced meat with vegetables, rice, eggs, pasta, rolled oats and flour it had me thinking as to why I do this and so I thought I'd write about it.
Many years ago while going through countless sessions of counselling to get to the nitty gritty of my emotional problems, a social worker asked me if I'd ever considered getting a dog. Well, yes of course I had, I love animals and I knew that they can play a vital part in a persons recovery from so many ailments. So as part of my therapy I decided to research different dog breeds with the view of getting a dog. It was several months before I came to the conclusion that I wanted a Maltese x. I put the notion out there in the universe and the very next week a friend knew of someone whose Maltese has just had a litter of Maltese - Shih-Tzu puppies. I went along to have a look and sat there with one female puppy, two weeks old and she sucked on my finger. I fell for this one immediately. Alas, she was taken but through luck or divine intervention the people who had picked her out changed their minds. She was mine! I brought her home at the age of 7 weeks and she never cried or got me up at night. I fretted before I got her that I would be stressed out looking after a puppy but we soon settled down into a happy rhythm. She was my little gift from God.
I began taking her for walks every morning. "Of course you did", I hear you say, but for me leaving my home was filled with fear sometimes. Depression and anxiety can have a marked affect on social interaction but I was amazed at how a puppy could break down the edges of my anxiety and I was soon interacting with people on the street and my neighbours again. What a joy this was!
I didn't start cooking her food until she was about 2 years old and I think I tried every dog food on the market. Yes, I had a fussy eater and was throwing out more food than she was eating. I found a recipe for making my own doggie chicken meatloaf and it was a hit the very first day. Rarely do I have to throw any out and in the long run she is getting better nutrition and I am saving money. And so if I were to justify the time, effort and money where my dog is concerned, which I'm not then I would have come up with two pretty damn good reasons.
Recently she was diagnosed as having something wrong with her, possibly Cushings disease and an estimated $2000 a year vet bill. Yikes! On a very limited income this scared and overwhelmed me a little. All her symptoms point towards Cushings disease but the blood tests were inconclusive. I went ahead and purchased the pills she needed to trial her on them for 50 days. She has now been on Trilostane for two weeks and the turn around in her health has been amazing to say the least. So I consider the $145 for 50 pills another investment in both her health and mine. If she was a guide dog for the blind she would receive this type of care and I put her at no less a value because she has improved my quality of life. Bridge, the little gift from god who helped me traverse the gorge of depression and anxiety.
(postdate: In retrospect this last bit is a tad over the top but you get my drift)


Anonymous said...

bridge is worth every bit of your time,,I cooked most of cappers meals for 17 years it is better for all dogs if only all people loved there dogs as much, the world would be better , dogs love there owners so much and a lot of people love there dogs which bothb parties are in a win situation jill

Belinda said...

I absolutely believe you're doing the best thing for your dog by cooking up its food. Besides all the usual reasons for doing so (lower cost, better nutrition, less waste through discarded packaging, etc), I find that dogs actually smell less 'dog-like' when they have a home-made diet. As just one example, my friend has a dog that never ever smells- not even doggy breath- and she is on a homemade diet.

I haven't got a dog at the moment, but I would love to get one as soon as I get closer to affording it. I believe that a dog's ability to reduce depression in a person is outstanding, and I want that in my life too.

Lovely post; I'm sorry to hear she's not well!

JF said...

Jill and Belinda,
Thank you for your comments. Bridge is almost back to her old self again and is playing like a puppy even though she is 8 years old. She still has a ravenous appetite though which can be a part of the disease.