Peanut Butter & Care of Dogs

May. 15 2018
From the Farm

When I was a small fellow I liked to cut up a banana and hide the pieces in my Dad’s cereal. He was always surprised, and appreciative.


So I smile when I am hollowing out a space in our dogs’ suppers for a spoonful of peanut butter. We feed them twice a day, separated from the sheep, and, because Spring has arrived and it has warmed up, they don’t need as much food as they did in the cold.

Here you see them on the last Sunday evening of April: Tibbie on the left, Flora in the middle, and then Fife.

Because of health challenges, we know roughly what the first two weigh: Tibbie, at 112, tore both of her ACLs last fall. One was repaired in December, the other in January, and she spent four months living in a cage in the shed, being walked three or four times a day, lambs keeping her company at night and when it was bitter. She had a battery of pills to ingest, and no quantity of peanut butter camouflaged them, so our skill levels at getting them down her gullet were sharpened. Notice her left hind leg.

Her fur is growing back and we know that she is grateful for warm days and nights because she doesn’t snuggle into the hay bales the way she did. And she is really grateful for the repairs: on occasion, she will wheel and then wheel again. She’s out of the cage.

Flora, now recovered from a lump on her neck, weighs 120.

Yes, she is a mature lady and she prefers to recline when she eats. You can see where her fur was shorn to give access to the Veterinary Service at Kansas State University. No caging was necessary for her and she was willing to ignore her pills if they were in a glob of peanut butter. She seemed resentful that Tibbie was not helping during her winter in the cage, but they mended their relationship when Tibbie returned to active duty.

What Fife weighs is anyone’s guess. Because he is healthy there has been no reason to load him into an automobile for the forty mile drive to K State and a scale. Running my hands down his flanks – he is an affectionate fellow, and often waits until Flora and Tibbie have finished eating before he starts – I’d be surprised if he’s anything less than 150 pounds.

So why peanut butter on a mild evening with no pill requirement? A day or two ago, Flora, presented with her supper, licked the clean edge of her bowl and then looked me in the eye. Her message was clear. I’m tending our relationship.

Copyright Jerry Wigglesworth, May 1 2018