With the Giant Orange Toddler out of the country, I’ve taken a short vacation from counting how many days are left until the 2020 presidential election (842) while our friends in the UK babysit him for a little bit. Sorry about the mess he’s leaving everywhere he goes, guys, but thanks for coming out in droves on a weekday to let him know how you feel about him being in your house. Good show there. Especially the balloon baby. I’m hoping we see him in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade later this year.
This welcome break has given me a chance to deal with some bigger issues. Or, actually, a smaller one. Namely, Smallest Dog, who has been on something of a hunger strike for the past two weeks. It’s not unusual for SD to decide she doesn’t like whatever it is you’re offering her, but this is excessive even for her. It’s become something like what I imagine it’s like dealing with Kim Jong-un.
It started with the kibble. One day at breakfast, SD sniffed the kibble she’s eaten twice a day for four years with absolutely no problems and decided it was no longer satisfactory. Okay. I can see how you might get tired of the routine. So I did what I always do when one of the dogs is being fussy and I topped the kibble with chopped chicken.
No go. SD looked at the chicken like a Kardashian looking at a knockoff Hermes bag.
This happens with dogs, so I didn’t worry. Except that she did the same thing at dinnertime. Then at breakfast the next day. Smallest Dog has never skipped that many meals in a row. She did deign to eat some of my scrambled eggs, but only a couple of bites. Then she looked at them with the same world-weary expression with which she’d regarded the kibble and turned her back, which in SD body language means, “I am done with you and your unacceptable offerings.”
Off to the vet we went, where SD had her blood taken, her temperature and other vitals checked out, and her anal glands expressed. I hesitate to mention this last thing as it’s of a Very Personal Nature, but I want to impress upon you how thorough the vet was in assessing SD’s condition.
She declared SD perfectly fine. “She’s just being a Chihuahua,” she said. “I bet she’ll be eating in a day or so.”
A day or so later, SD was very much not eating. She was not eating any of the six different canned foods I bought for her to sample. She was not eating the $26-a-bag specialty kibble the nice girl at the pet food store assured me even the most persnickety dogs could not resist. She was not eating roast pork, or lunch meat, or anything else placed in her bowl.
This is not entirely true. She did eat half a mini cinnamon doughnut and a shrimp. And some more scrambled eggs. But a dog, even a very small one, cannot live on cinnamon doughnuts and shrimp. Also, she turned her nose up at the other half of the doughnut and a second shrimp.
We went back to the vet, who this time stared at SD and said, “What are we going to do with you?” in a stern tone. She then took an x-ray, just in case something inside SD was amiss. It was not. “She has a lot of gas,” the vet said. “And she’s been eating something, because there it is.”
I confessed to the cinnamon doughnut and the shrimp, at which point the vet stared at me and said in the same stern tone, “I don’t think Smallest Dog is the problem here.”
We were sent home with a bottle of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a hemp-derived product that the vet said might help. Among other things, it stimulates the appetite, provides pain relief (as a three-legger, Smallest Dog has wonky knees), and mellows out little dogs who might or might not be struggling with bad attitudes. I was also told to not give in to her pathetic little face and stuff it full of baked goods and seafood.
The next day, having had her first dose of CBD oil, SD ate three bites of canned food, but only after I put it in a real bowl and fed it to her on a spoon while she sat in my lap. And once she realized it was dog food, she refused any more of it. After that she spent the afternoon lounging in bed, listening to Phish albums and rambling on about how cool it would be if Burning Man happened every month and how she should totally start performing her spoken word pieces at open mic nights.
She’s since eaten some roast chicken, a piece of cheese, and more scrambled eggs. But kibble is still off the menu. Apart from not eating much, she seems fine. I’d be more worried, but I know supermodels who made it through the ‘80s on only cigarettes and Tab. Still, I hope she gets over this soon. With 45 returning this week, I need to get back to fretting. ▼
Michael Thomas Ford is a much-published Lambda Literary award-winning author. More Michael Thomas Ford