It’s breakfast time at Tails You Win Farm and all of the dogs are eating, yet I have one extra bowl of food leftover.
As you can well imagine, or perhaps you can’t, feeding a herd of hungry dogs (because yeah, they are ALWAYS starving) is not only a job, it’s an art. My canine head count generally ranges anywhere from 18 to 24 depending on the day.
Yes, Jim and I DO live with “THAT” many dogs. Let’s get the normal questions out of the way…I’ll just provide the answers…you are already forming the questions in your mind.
- Yes, in my house.
- Yes, they are all together…except when we leave. When we leave they “sort.” That word is the cue for each dog to head to the place he or she stays when we are not home. It’s impressive. They all scatter…some into crates, some into indoor runs in the dog room, some upstairs, some just loose in the house.
- No, we are not hoarders. Our foster dogs come and go. We DO understand that there are great people out there who can love our foundlings as much as we do.
- No, they don’t all always like each other, but they generally work it out and learn to play nice with others. Anyone who can’t get along has to move along (Meaning to another foster situation! Don’t get your panties in a wad!).
- Yes, we have some foster fails (this is rescue-speak for a foster dog that came…and stayed). Edie the cow dog (I’m guilty) and Cookie the Dalmatian (I knew she would be Jim’s from the first moment he held her) come immediately to mind.
- Yes, we do live in the country. No, we do not have a kennel. No, none of our dogs are outside dogs…there is no such thing in our world. They have free run of the house and the dog yard.
- Yes, we are very good friends with our amazing veterinarians. (Dr. Henson…Dr. Johnson…Hammond Animal Hospital in Tulsa. They. Are. AWESOME. Hopefully they will credit my account in exchange for this AMAZING advertising opportunity. (Kidding guys!…?))
- Yes, there is a lot of dog hair in our home.
- The Dyson DC50 Animal. Best vacuum I’ve tested so far.
Ok. Back to feeding time. I am a professional dog feeder. I can feed 20 dogs in five minutes from start to bowls gathered and in the sink. I doubt it will ever be an Olympic sport, but if it is, I’m bringing home the gold.
I have a system, it will not make sense to you. It fortunately does make sense to me. Except today. Today I lost the gold by one bowl. One extra meal fixed.
This happens from time to time and it’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean I’m slipping. It does mean that a wonderfully sweet dog has found a fabulous new home.
Today’s surplus bowl is a tribute to Ginger, the adorable red dog with goofy, cute ears…one huge ear pointing up, one ear neatly folded down. I just read a line in a book that said when God finds a dog that is very special, he folds one ear down so he will know the dog when he sees it again. Ginger is very special indeed.
Ginger’s sister was adopted by a great guy a few weeks ago and this past weekend Ginger got a chance to visit a prospective home.(If you would like to read their story, click here) As I suspected/hoped, I soon got a text letting me know she would not be returning to my house. Ginger is now officially the new little sister to Cooper the cattle dog. She has been adopted.
So yes, my bowl count is off. I have to alter my routine just a bit…for now. Another foster dog will eventually step in to change my bowl count once again. And inevitably another dog will leave. In fact, Hansel the German shepherd mix puppy is off visiting a prospective home with Jim this morning.
My feeding routine is always a puzzle to be solved; always a work in progress.
Perhaps the next “one bowl too many” tribute will be to my dear Hansel, or to one of our other foster dogs as they find their way into new homes and new hearts. No matter who the lucky dog is, that spare bowl of food will remind me to stop for a moment to remember, to smile, and to be thankful.
If it means another dog safe and happy, I’ll settle for the silver medal any time.