© 2010 Aaron Atkinson

One Big Bite

I have read that for every mile a bird hunter walks in the pursuit of pheasants, his trusty bird dog runs four to six miles as it casts back and forth in front of the hunters. In an average day afield, my hunting buddy Scott and I traverse between eight and ten miles. That means our pups are covering anywhere from 32 to 60 miles each day we hunt.

Running one to two daily marathons will burn some serious calories, and eight hunts into our 20 hunt season Indie is down from 52 to 44 pounds. Her bony hips and ribs are beginning to protrude, and even increasing her food to an all-you-can-eat Science Diet buffet isn’t enough to make up the burned off difference.

At the end of each hunting day, Scott and I fill up our dog’s bowls with food. After warming up on their own kibble, the dogs are quick to switch bowls, as the different variety holds strong appeal. While we’re both hesitant to pull our skeletal dogs off a bowl of food, we both know that over-indulgence in strange food can put them on the fast track to digestive distress. So after a few moments we put our pups back onto their own bowls.

In one particular instance, knowing that we were going to revert him back to his own food, Scott’s shorthair Remmy dug his face deeply into Indie’s food and gulped four quick mouthfuls of food. His floppy cheeks bulged like a squirrel at a peanut feeder. Once his bowl was replaced, he turned to the side and spit his smuggled mouthful of lamb and rice chow on the floor and then began to re-indulge at his leisure.

Scott and I shared a hearty laugh at Remmy’s resourcefulness, while our pups continued to share their hearty meals.

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