Don and I have three dogs between us: a lab mix, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, and a hound-mix of uncertain heritage. All three are rescues from the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina. The lab- and the hound-mix both have health problems. As you can see, the former is a senior gal:
She is starting to have health issues such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and, most disturbingly, liver trouble. So she is on a special diet to help manage all three issues.
Before we got him, the hound-mix was found wandering the streets of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with both right legs broken and bound up with Duck Tape. Luckily, Animal Control found him and took him to the SPCA, which patched him up and found him a good home, namely us. But his back right leg will probably never be completely right. He walks funny and he sits oddly due to his injury:
If there is trouble, he is going to find it, so he is the boy who started the mystery.
Don and I watch what we feed all our dogs. We feed Blue Buffalo Dog Food, we feed them on a schedule, and we ration their feedings carefully. Despite this, and despite their near-manic activity levels, both hounds were gaining weight. This guy was starting to have some trouble moving around, so we cut back his rations a little bit, but he kept gaining.
The mystery began to unravel when he came in the house and threw up one day. There seemed to be a hot dog in the vomit. I am a vegetarian and Don is a cardiac patient, so it has been years since we have had wieners in the house.
Could somebody else be feeding our animals?
Two days ago, Don came home from work to see that the dogs had lapped up all the water he left out for them that morning, which is A LOT, and on a cool day, to boot. Intrigued, he inspected the yard. This is what he found, in a corner of the fence:
Our next-door neighbor works as a deliveryman of chips, crackers, cookies, etc. Yesterday Don found sugar cookies in the backyard, and this morning I found another kind of cookie that I had difficulty taking away from our Walker Hound, who looks terribly pleased with himself:
This morning I finally spoke to the neighbor who, after some hemming and hawing, admitted that her sister has been feeding all three dogs through the fence. Apparently, our canines are outstanding beggars, and she couldn't resist the eyes they were making at her. We have communicated our dogs' health needs and received a solemn promise that the illicit feedings will stop. Mischief managed!