(23) Eat Like a Bird: The Molly Diet

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)


When we took Molly in for her bi-annual veterinarian appointment, she ranked in the dog obese column on the weight chart. The doctor gasped at the difference between her last appointment weight of 96 pounds and her new weight of 130.

“She wasn’t really 96 pounds on her last appointment,” I said. “She stood with one leg on the scale rim.”

The scale is similar to the kind used for trucks or heavy equipment, dominating a wall outside of the exam rooms. A six-inch metal rim surrounds the scale, keeping it balanced and connected to the wall. Molly’s size overwhelms the plate she stands on so she puts her foot on the rim to steady herself.

“Regardless, she should  weigh  120—not 130.”

We cut back Molly’s food by eliminating treats and shifting to a mature dog food. Confident of her weight at the next visit, William placed her on the scale, watching to make sure she stood completely on the scale.

“Well, I see Molly gained another three pounds. What are you feeding her?”

The veterinarian recommended reducing her food to three cups instead of four a day. On this visit, she gave Molly antibiotics for her rash.

Have you tried making a dog take six tablets a day that smell worse than spoiled avocados?

Molly would have nothing to do with the medicine. William tried the direct approach of putting them in the back of her mouth and holding it shut. She hid them under her tongue and spit them out one-by-one.

We tried wrapping them in pieces of egg, muffin, hot dogs, and bread. She ate the extra food and spit out the tablets. We broke them open and spread the medicine over her food. She nudged her food around until the powder fell to the bottom of the bowl and ate around the powder. Finally, we cooked up egg whites or other foods and chopped the powder into the food. Bingo!

This worked for a few days until we noticed more bulges in her belly. She packed on the weight from the extra foods we used to camouflage her medicine.

Out of ideas about how to help Molly lose weight, Molly found her own solution.

Humming bird at our feederI fed over 50 humming birds over the summer and spotted the robins invading the hummingbird feeder. Not wanting our little humming birds evicted by the big birds, I set up a feeder of wild birdseed for the robins. Because the feeder needed a flat surface, the floor of the balcony became its nesting place. The birds flocked to the feeder, enjoying Molly’s water bowl near the feeder for a bath.

With cooling autumn temperatures, I let Molly lay on the balcony. Having never touched the robins’ seed, Molly laid out to tan (before the vet told me a dog can get skin cancer from the sun).

I heard something topple outside and ran to the balcony to check on Molly. She had knocked over the two-Bird seed spilledliter bottle filled with birdseed and feasted on corn, dried fruit, and birdseed.

Taking Molly to the veterinarian on Monday for her latest allergic reaction, the veterinarian commented pleasantly that Molly lost three pounds.

“Wow, this is great. What did you do for her to lose this weight so quickly?”

My response?

“Oh, Miss Molly eats like a bird!”

Miss Molly

Here is a great article on how to give your dog or cat pills when your pet is stubborn. We haven’t tried the blowing-on-the-nose trick but I think we may try that next:  http://ezinearticles.com/?How-To-Give-a-Stubborn-Dog-or-Cat-a-Pill&id=6351173

Post your Comments:

Do you have difficulty controlling your dog’s weight? What do you do to help your pet reach and/or maintain a healthy weight? Please post your comments below.

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.

4 thoughts on “(23) Eat Like a Bird: The Molly Diet

  1. Susan Pompea

    I always feel so guilty if I eat in front of my cats and they don ‘t have food. Never mind that I fed them while I was making dinner–they look at me as if I am starving them. If my cat is having something done at the vet’s and the instructions state “no food or drink for 8 hours”, I’ll skip breakfast until I drop him off at the vet’s office.
    I’m enjoying and learning a lot from your blog.

    • Penelope Culbreth-Graft Post author

      Thank you, Susan, for sharing your experience with your pets. There are a lot of similarities among our furry friends. Molly hasn’t talked about her cat yet. Thanks for bringing up the subject and for telling us about your special friends.

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