Dog Days

You know in the movie UP how the dogs had collars that translated their barks into human language? I want one. Desperately.

The last few weeks have been rather frustrating for me and el perro. It began with the indignity (for him) of a visit to the vet for his semi-annual senior exam. Everything checked out as expected except for one blood test, for an enzyme that measured heart function. A normal dog would have an enzyme count of about 900. A sick dog would have a count of 1800. My dog? A count of more than 3700. The vet and I were both shocked by the results. With a off-the-charts count like that, Benji should have a laundry list of symptoms, but when the vet ran through the list with me, I could honestly say Benji had not a single one. That left the dear doggy doctor scratching his head. What to do? What to do?

The answer, it seemed, was medication. Even though the dog was not acting sick, something was clearly wrong with his heart function. So, I went home with two medications and crossed fingers.

Things went well for about 24 hours. One of the meds--an antibiotic to knock out any possible infection--was supposed to be taken twice a day with food. Benji, at first, would only eat once a day. And then not at all. I kick myself for not anticipating this. He reacted the same way the last time I had to given him antibiotics. I ended up stopping the treatment that time just so he'd start eating again. I did the same this time, but now my dear beloved doggie won't eat dog food. At all. Last time, it took me two weeks to find a new brand of dog food that he'd eat. We're into week 3 this time and we're not even on the dog food continent.

But a dog has to eat. The question is, what? Turns out, my dog is a pickier eater than I am. So three or four times a day, we do this little dance over and over:

For the moment (i.e., until he changes his mind), he prefers freshly cooked ground beef. That's right: Freshly. Cooked. As in unless he watches me cook it and pour it from the pan into his bowl, he won't eat it. No cooking a whole bunch at once, storing it in the fridge, and doling it out as needed. Nope. Must be freshly cooked. I've spent more time at the stove for the dog than for myself. 

Also, I can't mix anything with the beef--which does not bode well for his kidneys. Because of his kidney failure, he's supposed to be on a reduced protein diet. That seems to have gone out the window. I tried mixing some rice with his beef. He ate the beef and picked out the rice kernels. I found them scattered around my kitchen floor.

I would give my right arm to be able to have a conversation with the dog, to find out what the heck is going on in his doggy head, and to explain why it's important for his health and my bank account for him to go back to his previous diet. Barring that, I'm thinking perhaps a personal canine chef might be the answer...