Melvin has severe allergies. Anything he gets to that he shouldn’t will cause him distress, be it itching or stomach issues. Sometimes, worse. In the house, I have control. He has zero access to anything and if people are over and there is food, he is in the office with an approved treat so that he can’t get to anything that might fall or be left by a novice on the edge of the table. I wash his bedding daily. Yes, daily. In the house, we are golden.
When we leave the house, it’s like walking through a minefield. Unfortunately we live in a new neighborhood (that part is not entirely negative!) where there are those who challenge my control over what Melvin eats. Workmen, who eat chicken wings and then throw them into the open field. The field where we walk. Or pasta salad, that they may not love, so they dump it on the road. Half eaten donuts, yeah, they’ll toss that. BBQ ribs, bread crust, you name it, they throw it. They do not believe in dumpsters or garbage cans. Melvin finds each and every morsel. You know who else finds those things? The geese. And geese poop. And Melvin says ‘yes, please’ too that too!
I don’t have special glasses that highlight goose poop, Melvin always finds it first. I can’t see the chicken bone through the grass so that I can use ‘leave it’ before he sees it. This morning, in our safe place to walk, I realized the geese had recently tainted it. The entire walk was me pulling Melvin (and subsequently poor Jake). I’m sure it looked abusive to anyone who saw it! “Why won’t that crazy lady let that poor dog put sniff the grass?!”. Oh also, I regularly have to reach into his mouth and pull bones and food out. This is not pleasant for either of us but once that food goes down, I have lost control of protecting him.
For five years now, after countless stomach upset issues, vets have been suggesting that I muzzle Melvin on walks. They say this because it is in his best interest. I, being human and all, feel bad muzzling him. I don’t care if we come across someone and they worry he is muzzled due to aggression, that can be explained with a conversation I. Just. Generally. Feel. Bad. Muzzling. Him. That said, he is currently at home itching himself to pure redness due to all the goose grossness he ate this morning.