Ahhh spring. Finally the weather is mild enough to let the dogs lie outside and chew on bones. I just love watching my dogs chew on real, fresh bones. Of course, I would never give my dogs cooked bones (I know most of you know already that cooked bones are brittle and tend to splinter. Don’t ever give them to your dog.), but I love giving them the kind of fresh, raw bones that are safe–the large joint bones or large long bones from beef are my preference.
The first time I watched dogs chew on real bones I was astounded. Okay, that sounds pretty strong, but I had not anticipated how much exercise and skill it takes to chew on a bone. All of the parts of a dog’s mouth, including the jaw muscles and different types of teeth are engaged in tearing, pulling, grinding and chewing. It was an epiphany watching them work out over a bone… “Oh! That’s what all those different kinds of teeth are for!” Chewing on large bones not only provides exercise, it must be so wonderful for dogs to be able to do it. Talk about doing things that you are good at and that you enjoy! Bones satisfy both of those criteria for dogs, and it is a joy for me to watch them do it. I spent a couple of minutes yesterday watching Lassie go to it.. I suspect she was in the state of flow that Csikszentmihalyi talks about as a route to true happiness. (I was taught to pronounce it “chick sent me high”!.. and I’m missing some accent marks, don’t know how to add them in the blog!)
I realize that there are lots of strong feelings about feeding bones, not feeding bones, canine nutrition, etc. It’s interesting how much things have changed since I got my first Border Collie, who was fed Purina Dog chow from the supermarket and lived 15.5 years. Now my dogs get lots of fresh real food, high quality canned food, organic vegetables. Sometimes I have to stop myself from feeling guilty that I’m not feeding them well enough, and these are dogs who get custom made dinners every night (along with meat and vegetables, Lassie gets Steel-cut organic oats, Willie gets a sardine added to every dinner, etc). How to feed a dog is certainly is a hot topic: sometimes discussions about food get as heated as ones about politics. I try to avoid arguments about food, and keep my perspective relatively simple: I feed varied, high quality food, giving each dog the protein source I think is best for them. It’s not all raw and it’s not all cooked. I’ll write more about feeding dogs if you are all interested, but for now…
here’s Lassie flowing in bone bliss:
And here are some photos new lambs: I got to watch Rosebud give birth last night (I have photos but they are pretty graphic, not sure that squeamish viewers would want to see!).
Here she’s licking off her first lamb, about 2 minutes after its birth. She swallows the sac, which provides nutrition, helps to dry off the lamb and prevent hypothermia and stimulate the lamb to get up and look for milk.
This next photo shows her licking off her second lamb, born about 2 minutes before the photo was taken. The first lamb was born about 10 minutes before, and is making her first attempt to stand. I’m happy to say that all are doing well, last I checked–full, fat bellies and warm, toasty mouths, all signs of happy, healthy lambs.