Stolli is my old faithful girl. She is a beautiful red Staffordshire Terrier who has been my constant companion for over 14 years. She has been a typical staffy – an affectionate, super-attached, snuggly, crazy, chewy, ball-loving, fetch-obsessed grunter who has never shown any interest in doing anything but follow me around. Everywhere. Including the toilet. And the shower… like, under the water. Every day.
Stolli has suffered severe separation anxiety in the past and has had more than her fair share of bad luck resulting in BIG vet bills when I was a poor student (thanks Mum and Dad), but all she has ever wanted is to be my dog. (Well, until my husband came along, and then she wanted to be HIS dog!!) Once I became a qualified veterinarian she was more than happy to accompany me to work each day. She has been a wonderful companion and is still in amazing shape given her age. I truly believe that good nutrition and preventative medicine have played a very important role in her ability to age gracefully.
Now that Stolli is elderly she is very deaf, gets confused easily and has fairly advanced arthritis in her elbows and lower back so needs to be carried up and down the stairs. Give her a tennis ball and take her for a walk, though, and she will run around like a puppy, trying to drop the ball at your feet, still hoping you’ll throw it. What an attitude! Dogs are amazing like that.
Each of my (four!) dogs are fed slightly differently. Stolli receives a mixed diet tailored to her age, activity level and love of food. She LOVES LOVES LOVES food and has been known to eat the dinners of all four dogs in two minutes flat then walk around like a basketball for hours afterwards (not recommended!). Like many Staffies, she has a tendency to get fat. Stolli gets half her calorie requirement in the morning, either 4Legs or dry food. She is fed the other half of her calorie requirement in the afternoon which is always 4Legs and then a cup of steamed vegies so she is satisfied but her weight is kept under control. Every now and then I spoil her with leftovers like baked salmon skin, leftover chicken breast from the children’s dinner or that little piece of beef fillet steak my husband didn’t want (or that I may have hidden from him).
Stolli has been fed mainly 4Legs for most of her life. I did try making all of her food myself at one point but it was expensive, time-consuming and nutritionally so similar to 4Legs so that my canine home-cooking didn’t last long! A faithful friend like her deserves good food every day but it’s so much easier if I don’t have to cook it!
There is more information on the website on how to feed your dog, whether it’s just one type of food or a mixed diet (http://4legs.com.au/how-to-feed-your-dog-dr-felicitys-topics/). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the 4Legs HelpDesk.
Next month you will meet Stolli’s side-kick, Scrappy Coco Petal (yes, that is her name and the whole thing is used when she is in trouble). She’s a truly rescued dog with a big heart and quite the background story. Stay tuned…