Remembering Roxy: Digestive Black Hole

Roxy (May 2007)

My last two posts on Remembering Roxy dealt peripherally with her main fascination with anything remotely food-like.  Actually, let’s be completely honest, Roxy had an overriding addiction to food and anything closely resembling it.  She had a particular obsession with paper products (paper towels and facial tissues, but not toilet paper … thank goodness!) and never passed a trash can she didn’t like (or that she didn’t want to root around in).

Roxy, like most if not all of the Rottweilers we’ve had over the years, lived for meal times.  She was incapable of self-feeding herself (I’ve heard that some other breeds of dogs actually know when to stop eating and therefore can have more food put in their dish than they would likely (or should) eat at one meal).  Most mornings, I would measure out a cup or a cup and a half of dry dog food and wait for Roxy to settle down (either sitting and laying down).  Then I would dump the food in her dish, stand back and give her the signal that she could proceed.  By the time I walked over to Apollo’s dish with his cup of food (a matter of a couple of steps), Roxy had finished her breakfast.  I ignored her and gave Apollo his breakfast, encouraging him to eat it (unlike Roxy, you have to cheer Apollo on or he won’t eat).  I’d then let Roxy out, and watch Apollo watching (and sometimes growling) at Roxy to keep her from snatching away his breakfast (which she would try to do if Apollo got distracted).  Never mind that Apollo probably wouldn’t eat it or would take his own sweet time to consume his breakfast, he was not going to let Roxy anywhere near his dish.

I remember one weeknight when the band was over for practice and Terry demonstrated Roxy’s snarfing ability for the disbelieving guys.  She convinced them of her food ferocity.

Several times over the years, if Terry or I forgot to close the door securely to the band room (where we kept the fifty pound bag of dog food and the dog dishes), Roxy would wait for Terry to take a nap and sneak downstairs for a snack.  We could always tell when she’d succumbed to her stomach, not only because the dog food bag would be tipped over or otherwise disturbed, but also by the evidence of her distended belly.  Roxy never learned to resist the bottomless pit that was her stomach, even though she would suffer for most of the day.

During the year before we rescued Apollo, Roxy would clear the kitchen counters for us whenever we left her home alone.  She particularly liked my fresh baked bread.  Terry got so frustrated with her they got into a scuffle over her behavior.  I learned to put the bread (and anything else remotely edible) up in the cabinets with the plates before we left the house.  Roxy eventually learned we weren’t going to let her starve and she didn’t need to raid the pantry, the counters or the trash can.

Earlier this year, we put a damper on her feeding frenzies by purchasing a slow-feed dog dish.  As you can see from the photo to the right, the center of the dish is raised up, forming an O-shaped trough narrow enough that Roxy could not get her entire snout down into the dish.  Any food put into the dish had to be lapped up with her tongue.  That doesn’t mean she didn’t try her best to circumvent the dish’s designers.  The very first time I fed her in the dish, she picked it up by the rubber seal around the bottom and shook it to dump the dog food out on the floor.  Soon after that incident, the rubber seal stayed off the dish so Roxy couldn’t find any way to grab onto it and turn it over.

Both of Roxy’s dishes stand empty in the corner of the band room now.  The bag of dog food I bought at the end of February still has plenty left in it.  Most days I can only get Apollo to eat one meal, unless I bribe him with a can of ‘beef cuts in gravy’ dog food.  You can tell he’s lost some weight, but some of that may be the both of our increased physical activity with my walking regimen.  Every morning, I miss not putting the food in her bowl and making her wait, impatiently and with the drool polling on her paws, until I let her have at her food.  You could definitely hear the sound of the wind created by the vacuum left in her empty dish a split second later.