Good news and bad news about turning 8 months old

What’s the different between the two dogs above? The one on the left is 8-month-old Dilly (as of yesterday). On the right you see the 7-month-old version. Not much difference. Older Dilly looks a bit more sleepy but he tends to get like that by mid-afternoon. He may be a pound or two heavier and a smidge taller. But that could just be a trick of the camera angle.

For Dilly, the BAD news about this landmark was it marked the beginning of his life without lunch. CCI puppy-raisers actually are supposed to eliminate their dog’s mid-day cup when the pup reaches the 6-month mark (adding a half-cup to the breakfast and dinner fare) but two months ago we were still fretting about Dilly’s delicate digestive system. Smaller meals — for a while — might be easier on him, we told ourselves.

This strategy seemed to work. He had no trace of diarrhea. In fact, he got to where  he was occasionally defecating only once a day, typically massive but firm deposits on his morning walk. Then about a week ago, we were awakened around 2 in the morning by the much-dreaded, high-pitched, pitiful sound of puppy distress. I took him out, and two hours later, Steve had to repeat the long trek with Dilly out into the darkened yard.

We have a theory as to what may have provoked this. The weather is finally warm enough so we can dine out on our patio, and a night or two before the digestive disaster struck, we got so caught up in talking that we failed to notice what Dilly was doing. Only when he had consumed the better part of the pot of kale nearby us did the carnage catch my eye.

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Ummmmmm. Would you believe me if I told you a gopher did it?

Can bunches of baby kale, seasoned with some kale roots and fresh compost, cause doggy diarrhea? Who knows. Thankfully, a few days back on the Diarrhea Diet (a melange of plain rice, cottage cheese, and Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Puppy Chow) straightened things out.

To be honest, this particular puppy has so completely stolen our hearts, we’re finding it more tempting than ever to coddle him. But we want to be good dog-raising citizens. So yesterday we served him a cup and a half of breakfast (that was the easy part!) and nothing at lunchtime. He looked a bit sad and hungry, but he tends to look like that whenever one of us is eating and he isn’t. We trust in a few more days, he will forget his lunches ever existed.

Compensating for this sad transition, he got to play with another puppy, only his second social date in a couple of months. Yesterday, the playmate was Emmett, a feisty four-month-old purebred Labrador male being raised by Mary Milton, who lives not far from us. Emmett still has a bunch of sharp little baby teeth, which he used to chew on Dilly. But Dilly chewed back. They climbed on top of each other; raced at top speed around our pool (miraculously avoiding falling in.)

I think the look on Dilly’s face says all you need to know about what a great present this was:IMG_7097 2IMG_7096 2

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Rice and cottage cheese

102615 rice and cottage cheese

Our last CCI puppy before Kyndall threw up so regularly that vomiting almost came to seem like her hobby. Dionne wasn’t bulimic, of course. She would have been thrilled to eat so much that she lost her girlish figure. Her problem instead was that she ate all manner of things that didn’t agree with her, prompting her to regurgitate them. The whole time she lived with us she never outgrew this pattern.

Kyndall is different. She’s the most aggressive, ardent chewer we’ve ever raised, but she typically does not swallow the things she chews,and moreover, she almost never chews our belongings, preferring her own toys and miscellaneous detritus in the yard. Few things have upset her digestive system. That’s why the events of the past few days have been worrisome.

Because Steve and I have been recovering from jet lag and colds, Kyndall and Tucker have been sleeping in Steve’s office. Last Thursday morning, Steve went downstairs shortly after dawn to give both dogs their potty break and breakfast only to discover that Kyndall had had a massive attack of diarrhea in (and next to — ugh!) her kennel. It took him almost a half hour to clean it all up, but then he fed her breakfast as usual and we gave her dinner in the evening too, figuring the attack was a fluke.

Wrong-o! There was more Kennel Diarrhea Friday morning, and Kyndall didn’t seem to normalize throughout the day, although she didn’t act the slightest bit sick or mopey. By Friday night, we decided that a 24-hour fast might be what she needed, so we fed her only ice cubes for dinner.

She was horrified but has had no Kennel Diarrhea since then. Still, her eliminatory products have looked sufficiently abnormal that we decided on Saturday to switch to the tried and true regime that we came to no so well with Dionne — first plain rice, then plain rice augmented with cottage cheese. By this morning (Monday), Kyndall’s diarrhea still had not returned, but her feces still looked abnormal enough that we felt afraid to feed her regular dog food again. I volunteered to collect a fecal sample. It’s at the vet’s now, undergoing analysis. The staff promised to call me back with results soon.

102615 K on the DDSuch is the puppy-raising life. Steve and I would be a lot more perturbed if Kyndall
were acting sleepy or unlike herself, but she’s been bounding through the house with more energy than usual (if that’s possible.) She gobbles down the rice and cottage cheese with gusto. No one ever said puppies don’t like that combination.