I know what you’re thinking. I’m going to talk about what I feed my dogs. Well what you feed your dogs is not nearly as important as how and when. Dogs are like humans. They feel comfortable when the routine is the same every day. This is especially important for rescues who have lost their trust in humans and the world in general. For an abused animal to know food will arrive every single day, twice a day, at the same time, is a security blanket they need. Setting a routine is the best thing you can do to heal their insecurities and win their trust. Food is everything to dogs. The promise of two meals a day, every day, means more to them than you can know, especially if they’ve been starved or neglected.
I have nine dogs. Feeding time is a little tricky. Every dog has a bowl and every dog has a place to eat. They eat in that same place every day. There is an order I follow, and they know that order. Without the routine, the order of feeding, there would be fighting and general chaos. Because I follow this order always, I can feed all nine dogs in the same room. None of them have to be separated.
The dog I’m going to talk about today is Chester, a half Jack Russel, half something else. I got Chester from a rescue operation in New Smyrna, Florida. He was pretty skinny and about nine months old. He had hook worms. I treated him for them immediately. Chester was abandoned by his previous owner in an apartment with no food or water for approximately a month. He is a survivor. Rescues like Chester who are starved develop some interesting survival habits. Chester knows cardboard such as toilet paper tubes will make the pain of an empty belly go away and not kill you. He is an inveterate garbage hound. I have to shut all the pantry doors because he will open bags or boxes of noodles and rice and eat them. No bug is safe around Chester. He licks the walls for moisture. He knows if he bites a water bottle, he can get water from the hole. He will lick his empty bowl and all of the empty bowls until they are shiny. I picture him going to his bowl in that abandoned apartment and licking it while hoping something will appear in it.
Chester can be a troublemaker. Jack Russels are killers. Chester is now three-years old and has fifteen rats under his belt, three squirrels, and we no longer have a mole problem. He is also an escape artist. We finally have the front yard of our acre Chester proof, but the back still has a hole he can squeeze out of somewhere in the palmettos. He doesn’t like escaping alone. He’d rather someone went with him. He’s a charming fellow and a nosy scamp who has already survived an encounter with a water moccasin. When there is a fight among the other dogs, Chester will jump in. Jacks are feisty. Peepers, the Boston Terrier, is his particular friend.
When I first got Chester he had bad dreams. He would cry in his sleep. He also has separation anxiety and he worries. Some dogs are worriers some aren’t. His bad dreams are gone, but if I leave for a few hours, he will knock me down with joy when I come home. Never forget dogs have feelings and emotions. Abuse leaves scars that time can heal but not erase.