Lola - She was a showgirl. By Bozemama

April 24, 2012

Posted By: Shaunescy

Her name is Lola. She was a showgirl. Well, she could’ve been if she’d been born a human. But she wasn’t; she was born a lab. A black lab. She’s 13 now and you’d think she was still a puppy when you see how vigorously she embraces each new day. Fresh snow, houseguests, a bowl of kibble, a hidden grouse, and, of course, a tennis ball (!) -- each is cause for feverish celebration. And, let me tell you, she’s been through some crazy stuff: She’s jumped off a 20-foot wall for no apparent reason, gotten tangled in a pig fence in a rushing stream, been attacked by other dogs, nearly died in an epileptic fit, suffered from an underactive thyroid, and lost most of her teeth. Talk about a survivor. She’s like the canine equivalent of Keith Richards – and we loooove her.

But, as most of us know, there are dog people and then there are dog slaves. I am the former and my mother is the latter. Each of her three kids has always known that if mom were ever faced with a “Sophie’s Choice” decision between us and one of her beloved dogs; we wouldn’t even stand a chance. (“They don’t talk back,” she reasoned.) And in some ways it was strangely comforting to know exactly where we stood. As a kid I learned early not to take it personally when she called me by her favorite dog’s name, I was even kind of flattered. I was more than welcome to snuggle up with her in bed, if I could find a wee spot in which to wedge myself among the pony-sized Spinone that took up more than the entire bed. And it was perfectly normal for us to drive an hour out of our way for the privilege of shopping for the doggies at the all-natural painfully overpriced pet store for coddled pooches. Organic emu oil-enriched truffle flavored kibble made with Kobe beef imported from Japan? Check. Color-coordinated personalized collars and leashes? Check. Pricey toys hand braided by the tiny fingers of Guatemalan children and made of all natural hemp? Check. Nothing but the best. They ate better than we did.

If I woke up with a stomachache or fever, I was told to “suck it up” and put back to bed. If the dogs show any possible sign of discomfort or illness, they go immediately to the vet who has cared for my mother’s precious dogs for over 30 years and who could now easily retire on a beach in Kauai with what she alone has paid him over the years.

And the crazy thing is that, even though mom fed her dogs scraps from the table and let them finish her ice cream cones (both of which are supposed no-nos, right?)each of her dogs – past and present – has lived amazingly long lives and kept most of their teeth. So, while I kind of hate to admit it, mom might be onto something with her stubborn adherence to feeding her dogs only the best all-natural food money can buy. The problem for me is that I’m a single mom with two kids, two cats, Lola (plus that compulsive shoe addiction), and I don’t feel like I have the luxury of indulging in expensive dog food.

On the other had, I can’t help but wonder if Lola could have been spared her chronic dental problems if I had fed her better food. And what about that hair-raising breath? Oh, that breath, which smells like a fish rotting in poopy cat litter. And her infamous flatulence, which could be used as a chemical weapon to take down North Korea. Hmmmmm . . . could I have spared her (and us) all these years by spending a little extra on her food?

Well -- according to this dog food calculator I found on Dee-O-Gee's website– I could be doing much better by Lola without actually spending more. Who knew? Well, now we do. And I’m going to do something about it. Who knows? Maybe Lola will live another ten years?

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