From My Window
Expensive Pet Food
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
Regular readers know I have a large collection of companion animals " two elderly horses, two dogs and four cats. All are rescues except one of the horses. I take great joy in our animal family members " they make me laugh, show their empathy when I am sad, and bring me great happiness. Yes, I have to feed, walk, water, and care for them, but it's a very small price to pay for their companionship, and I would be very sad without animals in my life.
Occasionally, though, I have a week like this one that brings things not so enjoyable to my life.
Last week, for reasons that I simply can't comprehend, a large adult rabbit chose to somehow squeeze his way into our fenced-in backyard. Our chain link goes all the way to the ground " so the only way it could have gotten in was through the small gap in the drive-through gate. There is no high grass or cover in this yard, and since our two dogs are out there a lot, surely it must smell like "predator." I can't think of a single reason this move made any sense. Nonetheless, the rabbit was there, I let our dog Ivy out, and it was over in seconds. I didn't realize what had happened for a bit, but when I noticed Ivy standing stationary in a corner I went outside to check and found that although she'd just been fed, she had eaten the entire carcass of the large adult rabbit with the exception of the cottonball tail and two lower hind legs.
Ivy weighs 55 pounds, but it was still obviously a lot of rabbit as she'd eaten the head, all the fur, the guts, the works. I put her into the house so I could dispose of the tiny bits left outside before she decided to eat them too, and by the time I got back in, she had vomited up two big piles of rabbit on the only rug in our house.
The stench of barely-processed rabbit was horrific. I cleaned it up, gagging and retching myself. The good news, I thought, was at least I didn't have to worry about some bone shard being lodged inside her, since there was so much to clean up, surely it had all come out.
Two days later it was apparent something was "not right" with Ivy. She continued to eat, but something was causing her digestive system to revolt in a major way. We fed her the home remedy for this " small amounts of canned pumpkin. (Not canned pumpkin pie filling, just canned pumpkin.) It clearly helped but the minute we'd discontinue the pumpkin the problem re-occurred, so I finally took her to see the vet.
The vet said Ivy was the third "Rabbit Diarrhea" dog she'd seen so far that day. (She'd also seen a small dog that had eaten a dozen frogs out of a water garden and was barfing up green legs.) Seems odd that our canine companions get ill from what would be great chow for their close cousins, coyotes and wolves, but the vet said dogs often get a bacterial infection from rabbits, and rabbits are also notorious for passing along tapeworms. (Rabbits are full of fleas.) We got fixed up with wormer and some medication, and Ivy was soon her old self. But I could have fed her a filet and a lobster tail for what the rabbit dinner cost me.
I was ready for a drama free day the next day but first thing in the morning, our cat "Beeker," gobbled breakfast with his normal enthusiasm. Shortly after, he started circling and crying out in a pitiful fashion, then began retching. After he threw up breakfast, I saw something hanging out of his mouth. I grabbed it, and was astonished to find myself holding the end of a piece of string. I started pulling on it and out came about 14 inches of heavy string. Beeker immediately ran off in obvious relief.
The day before I'd brought in about three feet of heavy string, about the diameter of cooked spaghetti. I used a short piece to tie up a garden sign, and since the cats were all enjoying playing with the remaining string, I left it for them. Apparently Beeker chewed off this 14 inch section and somehow managed to swallow all of it. WHY a well fed cat would eat so much string is another one of those inscrutable animal mysteries, but at least we escaped without him needing a surgery or worse. I quickly located the remaining string and threw it out.
The nasty results of these two pet digestive upsets are currently simmering inside a trash bag in the 100 degree heat of Oklahoma, under the lid of our green trash bin. I am thinking that our garbage man will deserve some sort of combat pay when he opens up the bin and retrieves that stinking mess. Or perhaps we will find it at the end of our driveway with a sign on it " "Return to Sender."
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