If you have been following the math, you know that I am raising 3 x three months old Labrador retriever puppies: Oliver the “one” puppy I was supposed to keep from this litter, Amelia the one who sneaked into my heart and Brian whom I am supposed to be selling. Now add the rest of our pack: Andre, Sabrina, Ella, Holly and Morgan, plus our temporary addition Miss Matilda a.k.a. Tilly. Tilly belongs to my client, now good friend Susan. When she decided to join the Army we agreed Tilly would stay with us if Susan was sent somewhere were Tilly could not go. Well that time has come as Susan will be serving in Afghanistan. We are not too happy with that, but Tilly is very happy here and that it turn makes Susan happy. So we are all happy.
In case you have lost track, that makes 9 dogs.
Our max has been 10. Technically Tilly will go back to her mom and I will sell Brian, so that makes 7; so I have not panicked… yet! Do you see were I am going with the title of this post?
There are a few times during the day when I think we would be prime material for a reality show. One such moments are mealtimes. Those of you who own Labradors I am sure will understand. Those of you who have picky eaters will probably think I am exaggerating or even lying. It takes my older labs 10 seconds to eat. These puppies can eat AND lick their bowls clean in 5. So, if we do the math again, the whole “older pack” eats in 50 seconds! No I am not kidding. By the time I put the third food bowl down, dog number one has already finished. This dog also is convinced that this was the starters and is asking for his entree, second course, dessert and plus cafe! “What do you mean, that’s all?” And the dog’s that have had to endure an excruciating wait of 30 and 40 seconds respectively, are threatening to call the Humane Society and accuse me of dog abuse. The fifth dog to get his food bowl is Morgan the Sheltie. She eats last because she was the last one to join our pack. When Morgan came to us she ate like a dog, now she eats like a lab (time-wise) BUT has added the herding dog routine, which consists of running in and out of the kitchen while she barks. Thank God the Sheltie adopted the lab manners and not the other way around. Can you imagine the labs running around and barking while they wait for their food?
Tilly, who used to be a finicky eater and even skipped meals altogether, is now really eager about mealtimes. She does a little circling dance and hurries off to get in her crate. After only 1-1/2 months with us she now licks her bowl clean, but it takes her about 3 minutes. My labs are perplexed but they assure me that by the time Susan comes back she will be down to 20 seconds, which is still slow, but acceptable.
No, I have not forgotten to feed the puppies. The puppies have started to eat in their respective crates. We do that first because I don’t know if you recall that they eat in 5 seconds, so they would actually steal the older dogs’ food. Now puppies know it’s mealtime and get REALLY excited so it’s a mad dash to the garage where the crates are located and I get permutations of (this is also a math term meaning every possible combination of): two pups in the same crate, puppy refusing to go in the crate, puppy getting in and then out before I can close the door. I think you get the picture. Then I go back in the kitchen to retrieve their bowls and they all start barking like crazy: “Come back, feed us, we need to make up for the 63 days we did not get our own bowls in Holly’s womb!”
When the feeding frenzy is over I have another chore: collecting bowls to be washed. You might wonder why this is a chore. Since they did not get the additional courses they were expecting and they are still starving, every dog, has licked every bowl, possibly diminishing the stainless steel thickness a couple of microns and in the process has scattered the bowls to rooms adjacent to the kitchen.
In case you were wondering, I feed my dogs twice a day!
In case we do get picked for a TV show, let me add the WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME!