Our puppy boy is still with us and we’re trying to make his life as happy as possible. We’re grateful to have the opportunity to spoil Ivan just a bit. If he decides he needs yet another walk, we go for a walk. He gets lots of snuggles, bosses us around, and runs the house. When I mention this, the common response is, “So, how is this different from the way things usually are?” I reply that Ivan is no longer on a low protein diet and eats whatever he wants. He and Eric eat a steak about once a week. When we have salmon, he has salmon. We eat ice cream and he eats ice cream. His main meals are still sweet potato with lots of chicken breast. In addition to his chicken and sweet potato cuisine, we cook chicken breasts, cut them into smaller chunks and freeze them so we can always have some in the fridge for Ivan’s rewards and pills.
Chicken had always been most enthusiastically received. However, a couple of weeks ago, Eric cooked a roast. Ivan came into the kitchen to his dish of chicken and sweet potato. He looked at his little dish in its raised stand, looked at the roast on the counter, looked at us, and just stood there, waiting for us to realize he now expected more. Soon there was roast beef on top of his usual entrée, and he licked his dish clean. Since then I’ve made regular trips to the deli counter, requesting roast beef, sliced thin.
Ivan isn’t sure he wants to eat anything first thing in the morning. However, if I find the right little bit of something to tempt him, he will then eat his breakfast. This morning I scrambled an egg with some shredded roast beef and freshly grated parmesan cheese. I delivered this to him while he was resting in front of the heat vent. Ivan happily gobbled this and then decided, like a hobbit, he could have a second breakfast, so he strolled into the kitchen for chicken and sweet potato also topped with deli roast beef.
He has become more discriminating. Until last fall, he would take pills in a dab of his food, and always lick his dish clean. We now have to respond to his discerning palate with more choices and we must be clever about how we introduce medications. His liquid cough suppressant is carefully mixed into his lunch along with chicken broth and roast beef. Any pills are hidden in chicken breast or roast beef pressed into little balls and served one at a time among placebo balls of chicken or beef.
It has been 3 months since the doggy cardiologist told us we had only a few days with Ivan. He still likes short walks, and he still likes to roodle at us, trot around his back yard, and demand treats. Although he is slowing down, we feel very fortunate and very blessed to have kept him for this long.