About a month ago, Ken was looking inside Atlas’s ears, as one does, when he noticed that they looked dirty. He cleaned them but it didn’t seem to help. On Friday, when Kate came home from school where she’s studying to be a veterinary technician, we asked her to examine him.
“MY ears!” he proclaimed, wriggling around.
“Hold still,” she said. “Hmm. It looks like either ear mites or an infection. Better take him to the vet.”
So we did. Atlas, of course, goes mental with excitement if you ask him if he wants to go for a car ride, but the bloom was soon off THAT rose when he realized that it wasn’t a fun trip.
“MY EARS! MINE!” he insisted, shaking and peeing all over the examining table when the vet took a look, but he calmed down when he realized she wasn’t going to do to his ears what she did to his testicles. Yes, it was some kind of yeast infection. And after two weeks of ear drops, and two subsequent visits to our vet (free-of-charge follow-ups), the verdict was in. “No table scraps or treats for at least a week. He’s only allowed to eat his kibble. That way we can rule out food allergies.”
“Liver treat now,” he told her.
“Sorry, buddy. Not today.”
When Kate and Ken brought him home, I was aghast. “How am I supposed to go a whole week without giving him treats?!”
Because I am the WORST dog mom in the world, and I spoil him completely. He immediately recognizes “cookie”, “treat”, “Krispie”, “special”, “yogurt”, “chewy”, “strip”, “stick”, “delicious” and numerous other words that denote foods that NOW he was unable to have, and which I was unable to give him. At lunch that day, I poured out his kibble, and he came running in the kitchen and stared at the refrigerator.
Me: Eat your lunch, sweetie.
Atlas: Special, please.
Me: No special today. Ooh, look. Yummy kibble.
So the food stayed in the bowl until dinnertime. Atlas sat where he always does, kitty corner between me and Kate, hoping that someone would give him “summadis”.
Me: Can I give him just a little bit of salmon skin?
Kate: Mom. He can’t have anything but his kibble.
Me: But his kibble is ‘salmon and potato’ flavour. This is just like his kibble.
Kate: Here’s a rule. Every time you want to give him something, ask yourself, “Is it his kibble?” If the answer is No, then you can’t give it to him.
Me: What about a potato?
Kate: IS IT HIS KIBBLE?
Atlas: Kate is mean.
Me: Yes, she is.
Kate: Do you want him to get better or not? Hey! Did you just give him something?!
Me: No! I was wiping his drool off my pants!
Kate: You BETTER have been wiping his drool off your pants, Mother.
And it was the worst week. At first, he went on a hunger strike, leaving his dinner in his bowl overnight and refusing to touch it in the morning. When he realized that wasn’t working, he started to play on my emotions:
Atlas: Ma. Some yogurt for me?
Me: I’m sorry, baby. I can’t give you any.
Atlas: Was I bad? Don’t you love me anymore?
Me: You can lick the cup. Don’t tell Kate.
But then I realized that if I didn’t abide by the vet’s advice, not only would I face the wrath of Katelyn, but his ears wouldn’t get any better. I started hiding in the bathroom to eat breakfast, and at dinner, we were steadfast. After a few days, he was eating his kibble regularly but he was still mopey, so we went out and bought him some stuffies—a hedgehog, a fish, and an alligator that was advertised as a “tough toy”. He doesn’t normally get things like this because he immediately rips them apart and tries to eat the stuffing out of them, but this time, he was so overjoyed at being given SOME kind of treat that he carried the hedgehog around with him for a couple of days before attacking it and shredding it. Same with the fish. But by the time he’d massacred the alligator (tough toy, my *ss), the week was up. Kate and Ken brought him back from the vet appointment with the joyous news that his ears were all cleared up, and that he could have some treats, but nothing processed, no chicken, and no wheat. I don’t know who was happier:
Me: I put the salmon skin in the freezer for you. You want some?
Me: You certainly are.