Monday, December 15, 2008

October 30, 2008 "Insatiable, Voracious..."

That's what my dogs are. Ever since I fed them their first home-cooked dinner, Wolfie and Lexi have had nothing but food on their minds. With two intense German Shepherds following my every move day and night, I'm starting to feel like my Cro-Magnon ancestors when they heard the howling come closer, and saw pairs of glowing eyes staring at them just beyond the firelight.


I don't know how to interpret this new food fixation. Does it mean they adore my cooking (and it does smell good, if I say so myself), or are they truly hungry? Lexi's veterinary chiropractor/acupuncturist (one of Lexi's favorite people in the whole world; see doctorstephanie.com) did warn me that feeding a home-cooked diet would require a larger volume of food than feeding commercial kibble. But I wasn't prepared for how much larger.


In the good-old kibble days, Lexi would get two cups and Wolfie four cups of kibble every day, for a total of six cups. Bearing in mind Dr. Stephanie's advice, I increased the amount to eight cups a day for both dogs. I made up my first big vat of rice and chicken livers and sardines and kale and apportioned it neatly into seven freezer bags, each containing eight cups.


I laugh a bitter laugh at my naivete. Those bags are leaving the freezer at a much faster rate than one a day. For the moment, feeding TEN cups a day is barely sufficient to keep my toes from being chewed off. I've been told to watch my dogs' weight to judge how much to feed them. That's easier said than done. Day-to-day, my dogs look pretty much the same to me. That is how last winter Lexi somehow put on ten pounds, which we've been struggling ever since to get off her.


As I write, there's another, bigger vat of dog food cooking on the stove. I'm going out of town next week, and my husband is not into canine—or any kind—of cooking (I'll freeze some bags of human food for him as well). I'm also leaving some emergency kibble in the pantry (for the dogs).


But I'm into this cooking-of-dog-food for the long run, I hope, and I have to find a way to do it efficiently. Over the decades, I have mastered the art of producing a decent, nourishing dinner (though not one that would earn Michelin stars) for my husband and me in thirty minutes max (twenty is preferable). With that in mind, how big a deal should I make of my dogs' meals?


Is life too short to cook for dogs? Would the cooking time be better spent playing with Lexi and Wolfie? Keeping up with friends? Cooking for my husband? Doing yoga? Life on earth is a zero-sum game. What matters most?


What do you think?

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