Battling Butter's Allergies

After a trip to the vet the other day, we learned that the reason Butter can’t stop scratching and licking all the hair off his body (yes, really, he licks until there’s no hair left!) is because he may have food allergies.

Apparently, there’s a good chance it’s from feeding him people food. Which means we have to stop. Two and a half days into the no food policy, I’m struggling. Butter is too, but I think it’s hurting me more than him.

It’s mostly my fault Butter started eating people food in the first place, although Conservative Boy has fed him more than his fair share of pizza rolls, Doritos, and other treats (not to mention sips of beverages I shall not name here lest you be horrified).

It’s just that he was so skinny when he first arrived. And he looked up at me with those big puppy dog eyes (yes, the cliché is true) and I just couldn’t resist handing over my last bit of banana, the bite of buttered roll I was about to stick in my mouth, an occasional piece of cheese. Anything and everything he looked at longingly, he got to taste.

You try resisting when that warm little head perches on your lap and he gazes up at you while you eat. You try resisting when he sits calmly next to the table watching you, then reaches out a paw to remind you, hey, I’m right here whenever you’re ready to hand that over. Go ahead, say no, when he stands in the kitchen watching you cook until the drool slipping out of both sides of his mouth reaches nearly to the floor, a slobbery Fu Manchu.

You try saying no when, after you finish your cereal mid-morning, he stops to let you leave the office first, then runs ahead in the hall, spins a circle in the living room so you can catch up, and then follows you to the sink so you can set the bowl on the floor for him. Every. Single. Morning. There’s something about that beautifully orchestrated routine that seems so wrong when, at the end of it, the milk runs down the drain and the tail-wagging isn’t accompanied by fervent lapping.

Now I have to look away when I rinse the plates in the sink without setting them on the floor for him to lick first. Because he gazes up at me, puzzled, disappointed, brow furrowed. What did I do wrong, Julie?

And so I keep telling him: I’m sorry, Butter. This is for your own good—knowing full well it’s harder for me than for him. He’s a dog after all.

And I’m the crazy person who feeds him too much people food and talks to him all the time as if he cares a lick for my rambling. At least he’s not allergic to my chatter (I hope—or we're in big trouble here).

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