Alayne took this photo a few days ago towards the end of the evening feeding. This is a common scene — Darla and Wilbur waiting patiently for Mopsy (a.k.a., deaf Esther) to finally finish eating so they can clean up what’s left. Mopsy is a very slow, tentative eater, and sometimes — to Darla’s astonished delight — she will just walk away, leaving a half-finished food bowl. Score! So one of us is always there to monitor the situation so Darla doesn’t get to pig out if Mopsy abandons her dinner. (She’s a very food obsessed girl!)
If Mopsy does walk away early and leaves a lot of food behind, we’ll pick up her bowl and feed it to her in the kitchen while we’re having our own dinner.
Wilbur, who has no teeth left and eats a liquid diet, nevertheless likes to eat pieces of kibble he finds left over from Mopsy. He quietly works his way in behind her and stands there, offering just a little bit of pressure for Mopsy. We’ve found that she is more likely to finish everything if she knows someone is hanging around waiting for her. Larger dogs make her nervous, however, which is why we make sure dogs like Darla keep their distance. But Wilbur doesn’t bother her — yet his presence does seem to motivate her to finish. Even when she cleans her bowl, she’s dropped kibble all over the bed she stands on to eat, so there is always something to grab when she’s done. (The bed is on the floor because Mopsy isn’t very steady on her hind legs, and it helps her stand while she eats.)
Most dogs eat in their crates — I think you can see blind Stella in the giant crate by the door, having just finished and waiting to be taken outside — while others eat out in the room, like Darla and Mopsy. It has to do with how fast they eat, where they are most comfortable eating, whether they are likely to wander around the room bumping into other dogs who are eating, whether they will try to sneak in and “share” another dog’s dinner, etc. A few dogs, like Taco, Aurora and Sophie, eat dinner later at night because of medication or other reasons.
But, once Mopsy has finished, the patient ones eventually get their rewards!
Another Shelter Challenge contest is underway, having started on November 16th and running until December 20th. We just won a $1,000 state prize in the last round for coming in first in New Hampshire — thank you so much for all your votes! — so we aren’t eligible for that particular prize this time around, but are eligible for other categories like the grand prize. Please remember you can vote every day. The contest is here: ShelterChallenge.com