Friday, December 19, 2008

My Little Dumpster Diver

I know Otis has the Big C now and I'm supposed to be spoiling him rotten, but my goodness, the little guy sure can get on my nerves. I just don't think I can let him out on his own anymore. The coyote is one deterrent, but minor compared to his current obsession with the 3/4-full dumpster at the home construction site on the end of the block. Otis will walk to our front door and give me his "I gotta pee" look he's given me a million times, but I'm convinced now it's just a front for an opportunity to high-tail it down the street to harvest for gold. Two early evenings in a row now I've had to trudge down there in the slushy snow to spook him out of that damn collection of filth. Believe me, it ain't gold.

He crawls under the temporary barbed-wire fence that surrounds the property and he leaps up into the opened end of the dumpster. It's filled with lath and plaster, rusty nails, dry rot, wires and cables, all sorts of other debris, and discarded scraps from the workers lunches, which is what Otis is actually digging for. I literally found him burrowed beneath the lath and plaster chowing down on something buried underneath. And to make matters worse - and I don't know if I've mentioned this or not - he's gone completely deaf over the past three months! He never listened before, but now he has a built in excuse when he doesn't acknowledge my call. So imagine me there attempting to get his attention from the other side of the barbed wire fence. It's dark, he's buried, and I'm so steaming mad that I'm melting the snow beneath my feet. To boot, I'm standing in a neighbors garden which allows me the slope I need to get high enough to look down into the dumpster positioned in the driveway next door. I have to reach down with my hand to roll a snowball solid enough to throw towards Otis to get his attention, but not hard enough that it would mame him should I accidentally strike the bugger with it.

Fortunately, my toss hit in front of him and splattered debris and snow into his face. He looked up and spotted me and knew immediately he was in deep doo-doo. He climbed his way out of the hole, licked his chops, jumped out of the dumpster, ducked under the fence, and scampered away from me just in time to allude my right foot to his butt. He runs all the way home, barks at the front door hoping Nicole or Sam will open it up before I get there myself, then goes and takes refuge behind them. This does not delay his detention for long, and it's off to his bed in the kitchen where he must stay until I deem whatever he scavenged in the dumpster digested. I don't want it coming up on the shag rug in the living room, after all.

It just chaps me that he knows what he's doing is wrong. And he knows there are consequences, yet he does it every chance he gets, and sometimes, like today, he's even creating those chances. Man, if he hangs in here long enough that Stella starts crawling on the same floors he's walking on I don't know what I'm gonna do. After romps like in his video and what I've witnessed tonight, well, it's disgusting. Maybe I'll get him a pair of booties for Christmas.

What also chaps me is that I've been feeding Otis like a damn King for the past six years and he still feels a need to go hunt for cat poop in flower beds and lunch scraps in dumpsters. I began feeding Otis raw meat and organic vegetables over six years ago. It was the after the first bout with cancer that Dr. Judkins suggested I get Otis off of processed dog food and start him on raw meat. When I asked if he'd be able to handle it, he pointed out to me that dogs are carnivores and they've only been eating crappy dog food for 60 years. His point was that their system could more than handle it. And on top of that, Otis would be a lot more satisfied. Dr. J's feeling was that there's something that's causing all of these unexplained cancers and illnesses in dogs and cats, and he figured a lot of it probably had to do with processed pet foods. So, I bought into it. I figured it could only help. I also figured it wasn't going to be a long-term commitment. We'd already removed twelve little tumors for Otis and I figured there were more to come. But here we are six years and gobs of money and effort later and only now has the cancer returned.

I remember the first time I fed him the raw meat and veggies. He absolutely devoured it. Just like a carnivore, in fact. And when he was finished he looked up at me and I swear it was as if to say, "Geez, what the hell have you been feeding me all these years?"

Otis' coat took on an immediate shine. He's eyes literally sparkled. He suddenly had a ton more energy. And his poops were so perfect and firm that you could have played football with them. Ok, that's gross, but it's true. He was a whole new dog. And what was best was that he didn't grow a single new tumor.

So what I'm going to do now is take you through the process by posting some pictures of the lengths I go to keep this puppy alive and kicking. And by the end hopefully you too will feel my pain when it comes to his little scavenger hunts.

The preparation begins with a trip to New Seasons grocery store. When I first put Otis on the raw meat diet I used to have to go to the meat department in the back of the store and ask if they had any of their pet food in the freezer. Usually they did. It wasn't a mainstream item of day but they tried to keep stock in the back for the few like me who desired the carnivore route. Instead of tossing the meat scraps into the trash, someone had the bright idea of using them for profit, and believe me, I've contributed a lot of profit! My good money is paying for chicken gizzards, hearts, livers, backs and necks. Yeah, not many humans would want to eat this over a thigh or a breast, but dogs don't discriminate when it comes to raw meat, which is why cat and squirrel would be on most of their menus, too! Anyway, this meat has become so popular with owners that New Seasons built a cooler in the pets aisle and they've been stocking it for a couple of years now.

Carrots, yum. Maybe it's true what they say about carrots and eyesight. Otis can spot a table scrap from three houses away. Too bad they don't make a veggie for hearing.

I switch back and forth between green and red cabbage. Green is cheaper by the pound, but red seems to be more dense and last longer, both in shelf life and in the fridge itself. I suppose it's a wash. Either way, Otis eats both. He'll even eat cabbage by a la carte! One funny thing I like to do is feed Otis a piece of cabbage then take a picture of him while he's chewing it. Makes it look like he's talking. Hilarious.

I don't often feed him beets, I more just got them for this photo-op because they're pretty. He eats them too, though. There's not much he won't eat.

Again, the radish were more for the pretty picture. I don't often use "wet" veggies in his food because they tend to make the end result a bit too, well...wet. But again, Otis love a radish. He'll eat these a la carte as well.

Broccoli is a HUGE favorite of Otis'. Unlike President Bush(41), he LOVES broccoli.

I stick about a week supply of veggies into the Cuisinart and chop them all up. The photo above is not a weeks supply, I just thought it was pretty so I took the photo.

This is almost a weeks supply of veggies. I find that a weeks supply is about the distance the veggies can go in the fridge without getting a little too stinky by the time they're gone. So basically, I go through the shopping and Cuisinart process about once a week. You add that up over six years and perhaps you will appreciate my disdain for Otis when I find him rifling through a dumpster.

Green Alternative is the bomb. It provides all the vitamin and mineral goodness the meat and veggies might not. This includes Organic Flax Seed Meal, Spirulina(grown without chemicals), Organic Pumpkin Seed and Organic Garlic - as if Otis needs any help making his breath any worse.

This is what it looks like when it's ready to serve. And as you can see, Otis is always ready to go.

And go.

And go.

And this is what I mean by licking his chops.

You'll never believe this, but Otis just barked at the front door. He wants out. Damn him.

1 comment:

deb said...

O but the dumpster and deafness do remind me of my own Henri. I had the same curiosity about processed pet foods and his kidney disease. I have similar suspicions about processed food I eat myself, but I get a little more variety, gypsum board aside.

Lucky dog Otis.