What’s so beautiful about a dog eating, you might wonder.
What you can’t see, is that Kiera has already finished, while Graidy continues to eat.
What’s the big deal about that, you might ask.
When I first met Graidy, he was a sack of bones. And that was after he’d been eating well in rescue for more than a month! I can’t imagine how emaciated, how close to death, he was when he was first found as a city street stray. Needless to say, food, getting food, having enough food, having his own food, has been a big deal for this boy.
The first time I fed him, he gobbled his food so fast, while frantically looking around to make sure that no one was going to steal it, that it was literally gone on the count of three. Then he paced in agitation, watching Kiera calmly eat her remaining food for another minute or two. It was distressing to watch.
Having had rescues and shelter dogs before, I knew I could have fed him the whole bag and he would still gobble, and still be looking for more. That’s how it is with starving dogs who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from. I knew Graidy just needed time. Time to be fed twice a day, every day, for days on end. Until he’d feel safe enough, at home enough, to realize that every day, twice a day, he could count on being fed.
It took a long time — probably almost a year, if I think back on it — before he stopped scarfing and slowed down to a normal eating pace. Now he’s even slower than Kiera.
Seeing how far he’s come is, indeed, a beautiful sight.
9 thoughts on “A Beautiful Sight”
Hi Cole. Wow, a big guy! And an older one, bless your heart. How often does an older Ridgeback mix get so lucky? I’m betting not very often. Sounds like he got to live the rest of his life in a loving home, thanks to you.
Cait, thanks for stopping by!
Hi Karen. I found your blog through For the Love of Labradors and after reading a bit of your profile, I realized you were the author of one of the best animal books out there (It’s one of my favorites.) =) In any case, I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I’ve been touched by your accounts of moments with your daughter and your dogs. I just had to comment on this post. I had at one time a great dane/rhodesian ridgeback mix that I adopted when he was about 6 or 7. He was well taken care of as a young dog, but after his owner died, he bounced from the shelter, to abusive home, to the streets, and back to the same shelter. It took nearly 18 months for him to slow down his eating enough so that he wouldn’t throw it up and then scarf it down again. It’s nice to see that Graidy feels so loved and taken care that he can take his time and enjoy his dinner. :)
Jan, it is so heartbreaking to watch. I hope she was eventually able to hide food less often. In the beginning, Graidy would eat so fast, he’d throw up. Then he’d gobble that.
I had a rescue dog who ate like a vacuum cleaner, very heartbreaking to watch her. When she got full, she would hide food in the couch cushions.
Martina, what a lucky boy Gordy is. Graidy has always been a happy boy. Tail wags from day one. Food and abandonment have been his two issues. It’s not likely he was physically abused.
My SP rescue, Gordy, was the same way for a year. He hid under the dining table for three months except for when he wanted food or potty time. Love won him out. Especially when “Gwandma” crawled on the floor on her tummy to his spot under the table and softly touched him and told him how much he was loved and he would never never ever be mistreated or hurt again. Rescues have such deep love and the rewards of adoption are unfathomable. When did Graidy start raising and wagging his tail?
Jen, I think there were three components to Graidy’s “recovery”: 1. definitely love, and 2. eventually trust, but 3. is that I think Graidy was young enough (approx.10 months old)when I got him to still be able to heal.
I’ve had another shelter dog that never overcame her shyness from lack of early socialization. She was about four years old when I got her. So I do think age does play a part for some issues with some dogs.
oh Excellent! I often wonder if some dogs ever get past that need to gobble. Good job!
I have a rescue boxer who has lived with us for 4 years now. He is the sweetest, kindest dog ever. He has a scar around his neck from someone letting a collar grow into his skin, thankfully he was very forgiving of the human race and has lots of love to give.