Not that I needed one, but I think I have developed an eating machine. It has 12 legs, 3 mouths and is focused 100% of the time on food.
It's no wonder these puppies have grown so big. They will eat anything and everything and are constantly on the hunt for More Food. They have turned this house into a canine version of Little Shop of Horrors.
This makes feeding the primadonas in the family very difficult.
I guess maybe it's the return from daylight saving time to to normal time, but the puppies are demanding to be fed somewhere between 4 and 5 a.m. these days. I think if there were only ONE of them this would not be the case but they feed (pun intended) off each other's demands. One wakes up, perhaps thinks "Feed Me," and comes to find me. If I'm lucky, I will be blissfully asleep. Puppy will whine and perhaps paw at my leg. I will ignore him. BUT, the noise and the activity will wake the other two, so rather than be discouraged and go back to sleep, now I have THREE puppies jumping and pawing on me until all hope of staying asleep is gone and I get up to feed them.
Now here is the problem. I feed them and they dive into the bowl (knocking half the food on the floor as I try to get it to the floor because they haven't eaten in like three hours and are about to die on the spot this very minute if they don't get fed), inhale whatever I've given them, and are finally happy and may actually go back to sleep. But it's 4 a.m. Dexter, who used to eat breakfast with the bigger pups, kind of looks up bleary eyed and says "you've gotta be kidding me. It's the middle of the night!" and, sensibly, goes back to sleep. Sheila and Lizzie, who are in the other room don't even bother to wake up because it's like, you know, FOUR FRICKIN' A.M.!
But peace is momentarily restored. Puppies have full tummies and are happy. And sleepy. And except for the fact that they all want to sleep on me, we are all happy and go back to sleep, except me, because by this time I have one puppy on my face, one with his butt end aimed at my face, and one clawing my legs trying to figure out how to climb into the chair to get with the other three who are already there.
But that's OK because it's cold in the morning and at least I am warm, if not able to sleep and we all finally settle in usually until Walt comes downstairs.
Now Walt, being up in a bed behind a closed door AND a gate that keeps the dogs off the steps, has had a nice night of sleep and by the time he comes downstairs there is actually light in the sky and this is a good thing.
All the dogs run to the stairs and he sits down and greets them one by one. Sheila and Lizzie yawn and stretch and get their morning skritches and then go outside to do their morning business and then they look at me and say "OK. Where's my breakfast?"
By this time Dexter, too, has come awake and, not having had any food when the other puppies ate, is ready for breakfast too.
Lizzie has always been the worst dog to feed, but when there are no puppies here, it's OK. Lizzie would do well with feeding on demand, always having food available that she can snack at throughout the day, because she leaps and leaps and leaps and comes to get me if she's hungry, standing behind my office chair and putting her paws on my shoulders. "Hey, remember me? It's time to FEED ME." She does an impatient little dance while she's waiting for the food, but you put it in her bowl and apparently she didn't want to actually EAT it, she just wanted to LOOK at it for awhile. You'd think I'd arranged it decoratively and put a sprig of parsley in the bowl for her to admire.
But of course, the 4 a.m. puppies are now awake again and ready to attack anything that smacks of FOOD so they dive into the bowl while Lizzie stands by and watches, in disbelief, as her breakfast disappears. You'd think that by now she'd know that was going to happen, but it seems to surprise her every morning. I try to wrest the bowl away from the puppies while there is still food in it, hoping to sneak it to her when they are busy elsewhere.
In the meantime, Sheila, the only really nice dog around here these days is very patiently waiting for HER food in the other room. I take a scoop full of food and pour it in her bowl and Dexter, who has been aced out of Lizzie's bowl by the other puppies, tries to sneak in a bite of Sheila's.
Sheila is a lovely dog and a wonderful dog, but nothing comes between her and her food, so she growls her loud, scary "I'm not kidding...get out of here, kid" growl at Dexter, who thinks that he is about to have his head bitten off and runs screaming and trembling and won't stop screaming until I pick him up and comfort him.
(I'm now thinking that Sheila may have done
a bit more than just growl at Dexter)
So now I have three dogs who have had two breakfasts and two dogs who have had NO breakfast. If I put Dexter in the playpen, as I used to do, with food that he can have without interference from the other dogs, he feels he's being punished and he cries to get out and completely ignores the food. I'm not nearly as concerned about Lizzie who could stand to lose a few pounds and I figure if she doesn't eat this morning she'll eat tonight, when I feed all six together.
And the puppies have now had too much food to eat, but it's like trying to herd sheep to get them away from Lizzie's bowl. They are getting much too strong, especially when working as one body.
The only good thing about their voracious appetites is that they will do anything for peanutbutter, so the pills that they are taking this week go down without any problem at all, deeply imbedded in peanut butter. Give them a glop of peanut butter and they think they've died and gone to heaven--and then spend the next five minutes licking each other's mouths to make sure they get every single bit of peanut butter they can.I love these dogs, in an "I hate you this morning" kind of way (let's not even talk about last night!). But it's definitely time for the puppies to have their own homes.