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Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Food Strategist

I have been owned by Pembroke Welsh Corgis since I started college a million years ago. My first dog was a Dachshund and passed away before I went away to school. Lonely for a new dog in the family I called local kennels in Louisville, and asked if they had any Dachshund pups. One kennel said "no but we have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy." Our veterinarian in Rochester was Joseph Robbins a Corgi fancier for many years. So, I went to see the pup and of course, like everyone else, fell in love. I named him Beauregard.

Beau was my introduction into the Corgi lifestyle. They are active, whimsical ,highly intelligent and stubborn companions, traits common to most herding breeds. However, they do like to eat..and eat and eat.... and then...eat some more.

Flash forward to Bentley, my second Pembroke. Bentley lived with me for a very long time and was part of the "pack" when I attended veterinary school at the University of Georgia.During my second year we studied the gastrointestinal system. My most recent lecture covered signs and symptoms of gastric torsion (the stomach fills with gas and can twist leading to the death of the dog,usually a large breed disorder).

When I came home that evening, Bentley greeted me a wee bit sluggish but happy. BUT, he looked like he was going to have puppies!! I rushed him to the emergency clinic. Outwardly he looked fine but he had a huge belly!!! An x ray indicated a possible mass and they scheduled a barium series the next morning (dye is swallowed to identify obstructions and masses). I was really worried. A quick look at his weight indicated he gained 5 pounds since his last visit. Hmmm...???

Corgis, tend to be ..ahem, portly, if you will , or "big boned" as my Mother said of me..But the increase of 5 pounds according to this vet was not good and was probably a mass. The next morning I gathered books and Bentley and made my way to the car..which failed to start. "Great!! " I said to myself ( it was actually more colorful dialogue) . I walked home to call the vet and delay the x rays. As I sat on my couch I spied the remnants of a bag of dog food..a 5 pound bag to be exact. It was left over from god knows when..but true to Corgi style, Bentley found it and devoured the entire contents. This whole scenario was made even more laughable when I had to notify the veterinarian of my discovery. I was ribbed a lot about that at school.

Nigel was my next Corgi who loved his food. On one notable Christmas eve he ate so much I had to bring him to my own clinic and pump his stomach.

Now, there is Chester Honey Hugger,my son Isaac's Pembroke. He was a gift from my dear friend Martha Ihrman, a nationally recognized PWC breeder and owner of Sunrunner Kennels. Chester, like all his predecessors is a delight. He is gregarious, charming, and a tad goofy as well. The latter trait his breeder says he learned from our Greyhounds. However, the one definable characteristic about Chester is that he loves to eat..more so than any other Corgi or dog in my life.

Like all my dogs, Chester comes to work with me everyday. He knows in the morning what cages and kennels will be open so he can snarf a morsel of food. At home he is there standing underneath your feet waiting for divine intervention so that a crumb will drop his way. And he is clearly a Corgi whose glass is always half full..or shall we say plate is half full. He is happiest when he is eating..but then who isn't??

But one day he had been particularly troublesome..into all the cats food, the boarders food...just being a Corgi. On my way home with my son I remarked about his dog's food habits and I do think I called him a pig. My son turned to me and said simply "He is not a pig, he is a food strategist"

That poignant moment between Mother, son and Chester well be remembered with laughter.

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