Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Diarrhea Porridge

The last few days with Team Stupid have been all about the glamorous side of fostering. Which is to say: poop. And pee. But mostly poop. As anyone who's fostered mutts for more than 48 hours can verify, you lose any squeamishness about potty matters real fast in this gig.

It turns out my unfounded optimism about Stella's housebreaking progress was, predictably, unfounded. Pretty much as soon as I hit "publish" on last week's blog post, the fates decided to punish my hubris by delivering unto me (or, more correctly, my carpet) one doggy pee puddle per day. I think this dog must have a bladder the size of a thimble -- I'd take her out of the crate, she would promptly and enthusiastically pee outside, hooray!, treats for all!, and then I'd take her back inside and 90 minutes later, pee puddle on the carpet. WTF DOG DIDN'T YOU READ THE DOG BOOK, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO HOLD IT SIX HOURS.

Then, because peeing on the carpet was getting stale, Stella decided to liven things up by peeing in the condo's downstairs hallway instead of waiting for me to open that one last door so she could go outside. You know, because that's exactly what I need to further endear myself to the neighbors.

But wait! There's more!

You might be wondering: this blog post opened with promises of poop! Where's the poop! And the answer is: also on my carpet, starting last night. Stella dropped a deuce under the dining table immediately after I brought her in from a potty waddle. But at least that one was easy to clean.

So I scrubbed the carpet and hosed it down with Nature's Miracle and put the little poop monster in her box for the night. Stella cried about being in the box, and then she woke up around 3 am and cried some more about being in the box, and then she woke up around 4 am and cried some more about being in the box, until finally I trudged groggily out to the living room to sleep on the couch so she would shut the hell up. Pongu was delighted. Me, not so much. But I did finally get to sleep a few hours...

...until I was unceremoniously awakened by the sight, sound, and above all smell of Stella unleashing a torrential diarrhea bomb all over the interior of her crate. And promptly stepping in it. And, as I let loose my best slow-mo action-movie "NOOOOOOOOO," tracking it all over the damn place, including all over herself, and spilling it through the side of the crate onto the floor underneath.

So I got to spend my morning grumpily lugging a furry little diarrhea bomb down the sunny streets of Bella Vista with my face unwashed, teeth unbrushed, pajamas unchanged, and disposition decidedly un-improved. And then I got to go to the store to grab some stuff for diarrhea porridge, which is all the foster furball will be eating until her pudding poop improves.

And here we come, at last, to the substantive portion of today's blog post: a recipe for what to feed your dog when its doodies look like the worst froyo flavor in the world.

6 cups chicken or beef broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
2 pounds ground chicken or turkey (you can also use chicken breast or boneless thighs, cooked and shredded into tiny bits)
Couple of scoops of canned pumpkin (I've never measured but it's probably in the ballpark of 1/2 to 2/3 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered eggshell (for calcium, if you don't have any handy you can skip this, as diarrhea porridge is hopefully not a longterm diet)

Cook the rice in 4 cups of broth until done, then add chicken/turkey, eggshells (if using), and 2 more cups of broth. Simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed and the porridge is super mushy. Stir in the canned pumpkin so that it's evenly distributed, remove from heat, cool and serve.

This is a blandissimo diet that should be suitably gentle on a stressed dog's digestive tract. Canned pumpkin helps with both doggy constipation and diarrhea so I like to throw a little in there on top of the usual boiled-chicken-and-rice blandness (plus, you know, beta carotene and other good stuff). Schedule permitting, I break the dog's meals up into many small meals instead of the usual two-meal breakfast/dinner schedule -- this gives the dog the chance to occupy itself with a bunch of frozen porridge Kongs all day (because you better believe an un-potty-trained diarrhea machine is staying in the crate most of the time, so it needs something to do in there) and makes each potential poobomb slightly smaller.

The recipe makes a pretty big batch of porridge. Hopefully Stella's tummy upset will be resolved long before it runs out.

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