Sorry to say, I haven’t been rescued by some duck in a cape, because that would be really cool. It was a duck in a can. I know, I’d prefer the caped version too. It would make for a great story, and no ducks would have died for the telling.
As you know if you’ve been reading my blog these last few months, I have been having a terrible time with digestive problems. I’ve been to three vets, had bloodwork and urinalysis done, x-rays taken, two rounds of antibiotics prescribed, a special GI canned prescription diet, and numerous tries and fails of food types and ingredients. It’s been exhausting for all of us.
For quite a while we thought white fish and pumpkin with some added psyllium was the answer. It wasn’t, but it got me through the worst of things back in Las Vegas and kept us from getting tossed out of the RV park for completely fouling the place. When we came down here to Quartzsite, Arizona, the peeps made many trips to a grocery store just across the border into California to buy fresh tilapia for me. Spoiled, right? I wish it was about spoiling instead of damage control.
Despite their efforts, things continued to get worse. I knew what T was thinking whenever tears formed at the corners of her eyes as she was petting me. The Big C our home vet only wanted to whisper was becoming a more likely culprit. But Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) was still in the running and, although also a big, incurable nasty, carried the potential to be managed with diet and CBD oil.
Somewhere along the way, when shopping for unique proteins, T picked up a can of a duck and potato limited ingredient food. When it comes to dogs, food changes should be incorporated slowly, but with nothing to lose, she fed me the can of food (in three or four small meals) along with some additional boiled potato. By the next morning, the improvement was already promising. But with no Natural Balance Duck & Potato food available in Quartzsite or Blythe, T went in search of an alternative, coming home with a whole frozen duck from the grocery store.
Problem #1: A whole frozen duck doesn’t fit into any of the pots we have in the RV.
Problem #2: I was out of food other than boiled potato.
This is when a different super hero came to my rescue. Nollind! Armed with a sharp knife and a bunch of determination, he shaved and hacked and shaved some more, and by dinnertime I had a meal of fresh-cooked duck and potato. Did you know that if you take away the fat and bone from a five-pound, foot-long duck, you get maybe two cups of meat? And did you know that a 50-pound dog will eat one to one and half cups of food every day?
With the only local supply of duck difficult to prepare, especially in an RV, we had to go further afield…to Yuma! An hour and a half drive away, Petsmart had my precious duck and potato blend. We emptied the shelf. T and Nollind also bought a bag of the kibble version of this food, but I haven’t been allowed to try it yet. When something is working, the peeps are reluctant to make any changes. One cautious step at a time.
After three months of upset stomach, diarrhea, and low energy, this new food is like a miracle. I’m keeping up with the peeps if they don’t walk super fast and I’m able to go farther before needing my chariot. And I actually trotted out to meet a new dog neighbour a few days ago and loped through a small wash after T! These may sound like small accomplishments for the average dog, but if you’d seen my tortoise pace and lack of energy, you’d be impressed. And the other bit of good news … if diet can manage my condition, it’s probably not the big C.
I have to confess, I’m a little uncomfortable with a duck coming to my rescue. When I was younger, I had a very strong prey drive, and would chase and grab just about anything smaller than me that moved. I’m not proud of it, but one day along the canal, I grabbed a duck that came up out of the grass. T pulled me away and the duck seemed okay, but on our way back, the poor thing was lying dead, probably from the shock of my jaws wrapped around her neck. During a walk along the canal this past summer, I found a duck’s nest and ate one of the eggs before T could pull me away.
So, ducks don’t owe me anything, certainly not mercy. From here on, for however long I walk this earth, I promise to honour the duck and hold them sacred. They no longer have anything to fear from me … unless they come in a can or a bag of kibble. In that case, I will eat them, and be ever so grateful.