Transitioning a Sensitive Dog

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Part III, December 16-December 23

Baxter was fine this morning, but I forgot to give him his meat before work. He seemed to look at me reproachfully all day! I gave it to him at night, and he did great.

We do Airbnb for our second bedroom. If you are unfamiliar with this program, it's a website that essentially sets people up who have a room with people who are travelling and need a room. It can be much cheaper than a hotel, or comparable, but people really like it because they get the opportunity to meet locals and find out about things to do, restaurants, etc. from people who live and love their cities and want to share the best of the best.

Last night we had a guy come who was travelling from Michigan to Reno for a new job. He had the most beautiful, gorgeous rescued pitbull. It was a little nerve-racking, because not being neutered, Baxter has been attacked by big dogs before. So we had them meet, sniff each other while on leashes, see how they reacted, etc., then kept the dogs separate the rest of the night. I know there is a documentary about pitbulls I need to see, and I know that a lot of times they can be great, but they still make me a little nervous at this point. I've never been around one in close proximity for a lengthy period of time before. The dog was quiet and sweet, and did I mention beautiful? Our guest said the dog had bitten other dogs before, when he was first rescued, so like I said, we just kept them separated. I made the pitbull a serving of Steve's Chicken and goat yogurt, and our guest said his dog hadn't eaten so well in his entire life! The dog went crazy for it, and followed me around most of the rest of the night hoping I had more magical treats up my sleeve.

We gave Baxter the bone again last night to make up for locking him up in the room for so long in the evening. He is really getting into it now, he got a good amount of marrow out of it - I think as far as his little tongue could get!

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December 17th

Baxter's morning walk gave me nothing to worry about. I am going to start giving him a nightly serving of the 2 oz's of Chicken starting tonight, so like I did with the yogurt, doubling his daily intake but spreading it out. I think he is ready for it. I will let you know how it goes!

December 18th, 2014

So I fed Baxter an extra serving last night, and this morning his walk revealed not even a little to worry about. I'm super impressed, with his stomach problems and everything I was expecting this to be much more difficult. I can't believe it is as easy as it has been, and it is a real testament to me that this is good quality food, and I'm not just saying that because I am an employee! I am genuinely impressed, and feel extremely blessed to have found such a good product, much less being paid to share it with others!

The bad news is that after I took Baxter in from his walk, the pit bull got out of the control of it's owner and attacked my cat. It was awful, he latched onto my cat's belly and dragged him; it took two grown men to get them apart. My boyfriend got bad bites on his arms (from the cat, thankfully - painful, but not life-threatening) and I had to take Magic (the cat) to the animal emergency room. He had to have surgery, stitches, everything, and he was in the hospital all day. Fortunately, he is a very fat cat (almost 20 pounds) and there was no damage to the internal organs. The vet said his fat saved his life - think on that next time you turn down that chocolate...

I try not to think if it had been my smaller cat, Rawri. I adore her and she would be dead. Regardless, Magic is ripped up pretty badly, and my boyfriend is struggling - his arm was really swollen and cut up, but emotionally it is worse. The owner of the dog promised to pay all the bills, which I was grateful for, but after he found out how much (839 dollars for the initial day in the hospital) he is starting to backtrack. Hopefully, it will all get worked out and we won't have to pay for the damage his dog did.

As I type, Baxter is licking the blood from Magic's stitches off of some towels we laid down for her. Gross. He is very intrigued by her right now and she is very scared of him - I think she smells differently than he is used to. Unlike the pit bull, though, Baxter would never hurt another living creature. He is all love and friendliness. It makes me appreciate him more. This whole incident, and how emotionally shaking it has been, has really made me appreciate today just how deeply we can love our animals. They are so worth it! We didn't blink about paying over a thousand dollars to save the life of a free cat from the shelter. That is what love does. So...anyone need some editing done? 😉

The cat is tired and not moving much, but doing well, considering. We had to take Luke to the walk-in clinic to get on antibiotics for the cat bites as he is starting to lose the use of his arms and it is turning red from the infection. It looks like we will be compensated at least most of the cost of Magic's surgery, but not the followup, and not the cost of Luke's care ( and he doesn't have insurance).

Baxter, however, is doing great. With the emotional stress of the rest of the day, I was too exhausted and distracted to feed him his evening serving of Steve's last night, and I know he missed it, but he is transitioning really well. I gave him both servings, morning and night, today.

My little family is sleeping a lot and doing their best to recover.

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December 20th, 2014

Baxter had a surprising amount of poop this morning, but it was all within a good range of solidity, though getting more wet towards the newer stuff. I am thinking it is time to start cutting him off of the kibble, and limiting his intake, because, with the amount of Steve's he is eating, he doesn't really need it. Again, because we have been too stressed catching up with normal life after the pit bull attack, I didn't have time to defrost his food first, and when I served him the frozen nuggets he looked at me accusingly and wouldn't touch it for half an hour. That was this morning, but when I served it frozen again this evening he decided he was okay with it. So okay with it, in fact, that he took the nuggets off the plate one by one and took them over to the rug in the kitchen to eat them in a more comfortable position. Which was just great. So now I have to clean my rug, I think. 🙁 Add it to the list of towels, blankets,bathrobes, scarves, etc. my injured cat has bled or leaked on as her stitches healed (she also has tubes coming out for drainage of her wounds) and I guess I am in for a major laundry day tomorrow. She is an absolute doll when it comes to taking her pills, though. And she is very affectionate, which is abnormal for her. She is also terrified of people coming in the house and hides under the bedside table shaking for ten minutes afterwards. Our other cat is weirded out by Magic's smell and has refused to come into the bedroom since we brought her home from surgery. I'm trying to spend some time in the living room with my normally affectionate Rawri, and she sat on my lap for an hour as I worked on my computer. It's a difficult time for our entire family, but things are slowly getting better.

By the way, Magic the injured cat is a boy. I just can't wrap my brain around referring to cats in the masculine, so I may go back and forth in my pronouns for her.

When your child is sick, neighbors and members of your community show their sympathy, bring meals, help with day to day chores, etc, because they know you are emotionally exhausted and could use the support.  People don't think to do that when your pet is sick, but between caring for the animals and Luke being out of commission I sure could have used it.  I did have one friend, however, who showed a surprising amount of consideration, and brought Magic some get-well presents.  It turned out the entire pet family loved them:

December 21st, 2014

Baxter is now getting 20 nuggets twice a day. He is transitioning well. We are feeding him half a small bowl of kibble in addition to the raw diet, but I am going to have to figure out soon how much he really needs to be eating.

We think the strong painkillers they put Magic on are starting to wear off. He is clearly in pain, and he is reacting worse to taking medicine, he is resisting more. That is good because it means he is getting stronger, but worse because we are having a lot more trouble giving him his antibiotics. If we fail giving them to him the first time and he spits them out they become sticky and difficult to get far enough down his throat, and they ended up just dissolving in his mouth. Then he starts to foam, which really freaked Rawri out. Tonight she did decide to come in for a few minutes, but won't get on the bed for more than a minute. Still, it is progress. Magic is supposed to go to the vet today, but with her still leaking I don't know if they are going to remove the tubes yet.

This happened, and I paused long enough to snap a picture before getting her off the computer before she leaked on it.  Gives you some perspective to how big she is - and how old my computer is...

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December 22nd, 2014

Baxter is doing so great, I am very proud of him. Even with the increase in his raw intake he is doing absolutely wonderful. He has been emotionally stressed and spending lots of the night cuddled up to me, because between Magic being injured and Luke being nearly immobilized without the use of his arms for two days as the antibiotics took effect, I've been stressed getting everything ready for Christmas in addition to everything else on my own, and Luke has been irritable, so home life has not been peaceful for our poor dog with all the exhausted tension in the air.  But Luke is getting better, and presents are purchased and wrapped, so he should be feeling happier soon. He is such an empathic dog!  And he loves his Steve's Chicken and goat yogurt!  It is a highlight in his day.  I've been impressed with how far the 5 pound bag goes, too.  It doesn't even look like we have made a dent in it yet.  Granted, he has not been on a fully raw diet yet, but still, it is surprising to me.

I finally got some nuggets in the fridge so he doesn't have to eat them frozen/half frozen.  We can't give them to him entirely frozen anymore because he continues to take them onto the rug to eat, so we pour them out and let them thaw for a half an hour before feeding him.  Which is, of course, pretty much torture for him.


Happy Christmas to all from Baxter, the dizziest dog of Christmas!


Transitioning a Sensitive Dog

The stools have solidified more again. The loose stool last night was only to be expected as he got his first taste of something different for the first time. Today I took the meat and smashed it up with a fork and spread it on his plate, and topped it with the Goat yogurt. No real need to do this, but it takes him longer to eat so psychologically I feel like he gets more out of it.

Transitioning a Sensitive Dog

My name is Aspen, and I am thrilled to become a part of the Steve’s Real Food family on the Operations team. I will be overseeing social media, customer service, editing, newsletters, and operations.

Over the next couple of months, I am going to be blogging about my experience transitioning my baby, Baxter, over to a Steve’s Raw Food diet.