BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU
17 May 2005
I have officially given up "nursing" Bruiser.
Bruiser developed this wonderful new trick, now that he has teeth. He sucks on my finger and then clamps down hard with his new teeth--which is bad enough--but then he jerks his head back with the teeth still clenched. As much as it used to hurt when Toby, Jed and Leo scratched my hand and I ended up wearing a glove to feed them, this by far surpasses that on the pain scale.
So Bruiser is now on syringe feedings only--no more fingers. This actually resulted in an improvement in his feeding anyway. So much milk was spilling out of his mouth, that I wrapped his chin and paws in a towel, which soaks up the milk and has the advantage of covering those razor-sharp claws which love to dig into my hand. He has also, in only a couple of feedings, perfected taking milk from a syringe without sucking on a finger. By the end of his second feeding, he was hardly spilling a drop, and I hadn't been bitten or scratched.
For Sydney it's a different story. He can't quite get the hang of the syringe without a finger to suck on as well, so I'm still "nursing" him, though today he began nibbling on my finger too (his teeth have come in a couple of days later than Bruiser's), so he may also soon be having to learn how to take his milk solely from a syringe.
And then there's Rosie. Feeding Rosie--by any method--is a challenge. She is starving. She roots and roots and roots, but can't seem to settle down to any particular way of feeding. It's a struggle through half of her feeding, and then suddenly, inexplicably, she settles down to calmly suck on my finger. Go figure.
Rosie's routine, however, includes a post-feeding idiosyncrasy, which is that when she's full, she crawls up to my neck and licks me furiously on one side of the neck, the throat, the chin, the other side of the neck, and then back again, adding the lower cheek as well. By the time she has finished her licking, I feel like I've had a bath in Esbilac. I pull her back, hold her up so that we're nose to nose, she licks my nose and lets out a big puppy burp. She's really very cute and very funny.
My new challenge, I realized today, is that when they ARE ready for solid food--where do I feed them? Solid food is a HUGE mess, which worked on the papers or sheet in the kitchen with the other puppies, but now that's not possible....so where do I feed them? Well, I'll cross that bridge when we come to it, a few days from now.
Breakfast Monday morning was an interesting challenge. The babies seem to be skipping their 11 p.m.-12 a.m. feeding, so they had gone from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and woke up starving. They immediately set up a racket. They each wanted to be fed NOW.
When they wake up like that, Sydney is the loudest, so he gets fed first, but as soon as I pick him up, Barracude Bruiser begins clamoring even louder than Sydney had in the beginning. Walt had Bruiser and Rosie in his lap while I was getting Sydney's food down him.
He had taken about half of his food when I realized that at my feet, Kimba was eating Sheila's breakfast.
Sheila has been really weird in the last 2 or 3 weeks. Suppertime has always been the highlight of her day and she does her happy supper dance whenever food appears, but suddenly a few weeks, ago, she stopped diving immediately into her bowl, but instead just stands there looking at me. I figure there are two possible reasons for this--one is that the last time I bought dog food, I bought a different brand, so it's possible she doesn't like this one as well (naturally--it's cheaper!). The other possibility is that I always give her a treat when I leave the house, but once I left the house after I had given her her breakfast bowl, and she may be nervous about eating, thinking I am going to sneak out on her without giving her a special treat.
Kimba, on the other hand, lives to eat and will eat anything she can reach, animal, vegetable or mineral. Her entire life is spent on a quest for more food. This resulted, over the years, in her becoming a sausage with legs, but with the extra exercise she's getting playing with Sheila and the fact that I started actually giving her only the amount of dog food that she's supposed to have, she's slimmed down nicely to where she is now the weight she's supposed to be. But still she is ever vigilant in her search for more food. In the past, she usually finishes her bowl and then sits, watching Sheila, going to her bowl when Sheila finished her food, and licking any imaginary crumbs that might be left.
So this new quirk of Sheila's is just ideal for Kimba--she finishes her bowl and is ready to take Sheila's if Sheila walks away from it. But I don't want her to turn into a sausage again, so when I realized that Sheila had barely made a dent in her food and that Kimba was eating this second bowl of food, I held Sydney out from me (he immediately began complaining because he was still hungry).
I pulled Kimba away from Sheila's bowl, whereupon Sheila went back to the bowl and Kimba started a fight with her for taking "her" food. So I had this yelping puppy in one hand, and a snarling Kimba in the other with Sheila starting to respond and it threatening to escalate into a real dog fight.
You know--there were days when I had five kids all clamoring for breakfast and trying to get everybody off to school, Walt fed, his lunch made and all the stuff that went along with raising a small family.
It was easier than this!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
And now it starts--they are awake and want out. I have to