Friday, September 14, 2012

One Weird Dude

Joe has issues. If he was human he'd be diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. He'll lick and chew his front paws until they are soaking wet. When I tell him to STOP!, he licks the air. When I take him with me to run errands, I put his bed in the passenger seat of the car and he will lay quietly and lick the side of his bed until he has an ugly wet spot almost twice the size of his head. He doesn't like to touch the wet or damp grass with his paws, so he will walk around the perimeter of the yard where Tom's edges the lawn and the grass is almost non-existent until he reaches THE spot where he ventures out onto the grass to...well, you know. And at 2:00pm every single weekday, he will stand fixated, immobile and rigid as long as necessary at the doorway to the dining room, facing the living room where he can see through the front window when Tom arrives home. He is one weird dude.

Earlier this the summer, Joe started chewing his hind legs and butt just above his tail. Although he spends as little time as possible outside, I thought he picked up some fleas. I checked him closely. No fleas that I could see. To be on the safe side, I bathed him with pennyroyal shampoo. I didn't see any dead fleas in the sink or on his wet coat. But, even before he was completely dry he continued to chew. When he started chewing until his skin started to bleed, I knew it was time to do something more serious.

I took him to the vet. Dr. Chris found one flea under Joe's tail and immediately diagnosed him with an allergy to flea saliva {of course}. One steroid shot, a small bottle of steroid pills and a $30 flea repellant pill later, I had a incontinent dog that peed repeatedly at will on my new living room rug. He didn't even bother to lift his leg. He would just stand there looking up at me and pee. He clearly had no control. I felt sorry for the little guy, but I was pissed off just the same, or maybe just frustrated, or maybe both.

After a desperate call to the vet, we stopped giving Joe the steroid pills because he was, of course, allergic to flea saliva AND steroids and in less than 24 hours he stopped peeing on the rug. Yay!!

Then he started to chew again. He couldn't have fleas. I'd given him the flea pill already. What else could it be? I'd read about dogs developing food allergies and thought maybe that was Joe's problem. So, off to PetSmart I went to find a new dog food to replace his "Little Bites" (a 4 pound bag for around $6 bucks at the grocery store which lasted about a month and a half). Now he eats an all natural, top of the line something-or-other in a 4 pound blue bag for around $20 bucks.

Joe didn't have any problems changing food like some dogs do. He went from eating the cheap old kibble to eating the new expensive kibble without turning his nose up {insert my shocked face}. It seemed to be the only issue he didn't have. And the best part?: he pretty much stopped chewing his butt. Apparently it was a food allergy after all.

But then a couple of months later.....


No, we do not own a rabbit that is allowed free reign in our house. Nor do we have rats or badgers.


Joe has merely acquired another issue. He doesn't like the dark brown ones.

Joe scoops up three or four pieces of kibble in his mouth, drops them on the floor and eats the ones he likes and leaves the brown ones sitting on the floor around his food bowl.

I can't say I've never seen this sort of canine behavior before. About 20 years ago, we owned a ShiTzu named Gizmo. Gizmo hated peas, but we'd always try to trick him to eating them. When we gave him table scraps, we'd mix the meat, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas all together in Gizmo's bowl thinking he'd never be able to tell the difference. But when he was finished, he would have licked the bowl clean except for that handful of cooked peas that looked like they'd been washed and left to dry at the bottom of the bowl.

We can sure pick 'em, can't we.

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