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The Story of a Dog

For several weeks, I have been ignoring the elephant in the room—at least as far as this blog is concerned. And by “elephant,” of course, I mean “dog.”  And by “dog,” of course, I mean Hippo.

But readers have been asking.  It turns out (not surprisingly) that no one wants to read about kumquats when everyone knows perfectly well that I could be posting dozens of cute puppy pictures.  Faithful readers, I will deprive you no longer.

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Hippo and the Blue Plate Special

Mr Hippo has now been crashing at our pad for a full week.  I think he’s getting used to his new digs.  He is out sunning himself on the stoop right now, which is his favorite things to do on sunny Phoenix afternoons.  Plus, he’s pretty content because he just gorged his skinny self on his first homemade doggie meal.  I need to do some reading to figure out the proper ratios of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates he’ll need for long term health, but this was just an experimental dish to see how it would go.  And to see how it would, you know, go through him.  I know a lot of doggies get stomach issues when their diets are changed, but this guy has been very regular despite a couple different kinds of canned food donated from the neighbors, some veggie and fruit snacks, and a previous diet that seemed to alternate between both dry and canned food, according to the neighbor who knew his family.  Here’s hoping Hippo’s unstable past has given him a stomach able to cope with pretty much anything.  Surely, surely, his neglected little stomach will love dishes like these?

Looks good enough to eat, right?

That’s kind of the point, after all.

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Hippo Watch: Tuesday

That muhammara post is coming later today; sorry, but I have been swamped with classwork, coupled with taking Hippo to the vet twice in the last two days.  The animal control vet wanted him examined in a full-facility clinic to check for Valley Fever and glaucoma, so we took him to a wonderful new vet today.  The doctor gave him a clean bill of health, with the stipulation that he needs to eat more to put on some weight and chew some bones to clean up his teeth.  Not a bad check-up!  It turns out the redness in his left eye isn’t an infection, but rather a fairly common phenomenon called “cherry eye” where the tear duct on a dog’s third eyelid pops out a little bit from where it’s supposed to be.  We’re going to try massaging it back into place later today.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll look into other options and decide what we want to do.

You will note that in the picture above, Mr Hippo is wearing a very stylish and becoming personalized scarf to help keep him warm in the daytime.  He got an exciting gift box from Grandmasaurus yesterday, and this was tucked inside. I think he wears it well.

Being completely responsible for the health and welfare of a dog, even if it is only temporary, has been an interesting experience.  I am used to dogs, as I grew up with them (as in, my family had some, not as in “I was raised by wolves”), but I have never been the primary caregiver.  One of the things I’ve found very overwhelming in the last couple days is trying to sort out what exactly to feed him.  Since this is, after all, a blog about making strong food choices, I thought I should take advantage of Hippo Watch and talk about something a little better suited to the usual content here.

So, what does one feed a dog?

Duh.  Dog food, right?

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Hippo Watch: Sunday

And here he is, Dr. Wrinkle-Head himself.  This is his “You talkin’ to me?” face.  I was, in fact, talking to him.

Time since last accident: 31 hours and 5 minutes

Surprising hidden talent: Self-restraint; specifically, the ability to not gobble a pile of kabobs at snout-level when I turn my back for two minutes. Also, he does sing a nice back-up to Tori Amos’ “Little Earthquakes.”

Today’s Very Big Deal: We went on a walk to a nearby park crawling with people, shouting kids, and bicycles zooming past.  He quivered and quaked, but he also met five very nice people and one very enthusiastic floofy white dog in an owl sweater. All in all, not too bad, but I think Hippo was a wee bit jealous of that owl sweater.

On the To-Do List: Get Hippo to sleep through the night.  Being serenaded at midnight, 2, 5, and 7a.m. is not our idea of fun.  Also, the vet is supposed to be back in her office tomorrow, so we shall be making Mr Hippo an appointment to get checked over and hopefully get some medicine for his little eyeball.  Huzzah!

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Hippo Watch: Saturday

So sorry this has nothing to do with food…but I can’t help myself. Look at that face!

Time since last accident: 7 hours and 40 minutes (but he was some 50 hours strong before that, I swear)

New favorite foods: Orange slices and garbanzo beans.  He likes to chase and scarf the beans when I toss them.  I’m hoping he can work up to something impressive and playful like catching them in mid-air, but so far he just lets the little beans bonk his noggin or roll on the ground next to him.  Even so, he really, really seems to enjoy the bean game.

Best event of today from Hippo’s point of view: Meeting (and very extensively sniffing) Chica from next door.  She’s a big and boisterous dog who rolled over on her back and let tiny Hippo lick her from her teeth (yes, really, her actual teeth) to her—well, you know—for some 10 full minutes.

Best event of today from Laurel and the Unicyclist’s point of view: Two anxiety-free Hippo poops in the out-of-doors.  (Hippo has been neurotic about doing business in front of us on his walks; I think he’s worried we’ll hit him, so he spins and cries horribly when he has to go.)  Here’s hoping we get a third one in before calling it a night.

On the To-Do List: Get Hippo a sweater.  Watching this lightly-furred Chihuahua mix quake in the 40-degree weather finally helps me understand why some people dress up their dogs in clothes.  I don’t care if all the other dogs do make fun of you, honey, we’re getting you a sweater.  Maybe something in a nice argyle.

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I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas

Christmas at our place was rich with stuffed squash, soup, pies, ambrosia, and fresh bread; all the usual suspects.

Unlike past Christmases, however, this one also contained something more out of the ordinary. Specifically, we had ourselves a hippo this Christmas. No, not on the table.  In our living room.  He’s pretty cute, actually.  This hippo is likely to eat up quite a bit of my time in the coming weeks, which is why I’m breaking from my usual postings about food and policy to tell you about him. If postings are sparser than usual, I can guarantee you that his skinny shoulders carry a good part of the blame. So, who is this hippo? Well, he’s a bit unusual, as hippos go.  First, this hippo is not especially fond of water.  Second, he’s neither as corpulent nor as leathery as you might expect.  This hippo—rather, this Hippo—is a tiny, terrified little creature who accidentally found his way into our lives, and who now has a spot in our home.

All evidence thus far suggests that he’s okay with that.  Here you can see our Hippo exploring the basil in the garden.

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