After all of the agnosing and calculating, we've made a decision to pull back from the raw diet for the time being. The immediate reason is that the dogs are at the kennel for a week and we couldn't really expect the kennel owner to refrigerate a week's worth of raw dog food.
The secondary reason is that December is going to be a madhouse and not having to shop for and calculate the dogs' food ration is an item that I'm happy to have fall off the edge of the To-Do list.
We found a dog food called Real Nature that is probably better than anything we'd ever be able to assemble for them. Its primary ingredients are Angus Beef from South America, Barbary Duck, and some kind of fancy herring. Best of all, no corn and no wheat. I'd give you a link to the food, but it doesn't seem to have its own web site. It's made by a pet store company in Germany.
I was a little concerned about the propensity of kibble to expand with water, so I did an experiment and soaked a piece in water for a long while. Because of whatever special way this food is processed, it doesn't puff out the way regular kibble does. It just disintegrated over time. So it should be both yummy and safe in Callie's tummy.
Both dogs have taken to the food well, so we might just continue with it past the end of December. The downside is that we have to travel 30+miles one way to get it, but making that trip once a month wouldn't be bad. (Two bags should cover a month.)
I took the dogs to the kennel on Monday. It killed me to do it, especially leaving Callie for the first time. I hated leaving her after only 10 days, but it had to be done. She seemed fine with it, much more fine than Toby. He still hates going into the run, but I've perfected my technique and can get out of there before he's clamped onto my leg like a recalcitrant toddler.
The kennel owner, T, put Callie in the run and she trotted in with no fuss. T saw a problem though that I didn't quite understand, until she pulled up the outside dog door. Callie's too tall to fit through the door to the outside part of the run. The top of the door didn't even reach as high as her back. Oops. T assured me that she could take Callie outside a few times a day for bathroom breaks.
Just like prison, the dogs get play time in a fenced yard right behind the kennels. T is going to put Toby and Callie out for exercise together. This will double the amount of time they get and will also increase their exercise and burn off their excess energy. No matter how hyper he is, when Toby's outside by himself, he tends to chase his tail a little and then collapse in a heap of boredom. (Before we got Callie, I'd have to walk around outside to get him to run around at all.)
As much as I like my quiet, responsibility-free mornings, I really miss those damn dogs. On the drive up to Dublin, Peter said that it would be interesting if the dogs were able to send us texts about their stay at the kennels. The idea intrigued and amused me. So far, my imagination has gotten two texts from Toby.
The first simply said Suxors.The second said you broke my life. Maybe so. I'm looking forward to fixing it next week.