Apparently not Australian

By Mir
March 16, 2015

It comes as no surprise to anyone who’s known me for any length of time that my favorite topic of conversation is dogs. Specifically, my dogs. Because they are smushy wuvvy fluffy balls of ridiculousness.


“Help, my teeth don’t all fit in my mouth.”

When the bible talks about pure love and devotion, I believe it’s referring to something nigh unto impossible to achieve among fellow humans, but something that naturally occurs with pets. Just looking at them lowers my blood pressure by at least ten points. They’re the BEST.

Even when they’re, y’know, not.

I got one of those reminder postcards in the mail about a month ago, you know the ones. Really they should say COME GIVE US MONEY PLEASE, but instead they say, “Duncan is due for his yearly vaccinations! Please call our office to make an appointment!” I put it right next to the reminder postcard I got about how I was due for a mammogram… last August. Except I love Duncan a lot more than I love myself, it turns out, so I went ahead and made him an appointment for last week because I want to keep him healthy. It also turned out that somehow they’d never sent us a reminder for Licorice, so I took Duncan in one day and while I was there I said, “Huh, seems like it’s been a while since Licorice had her shots…?” and they looked it up and WHOOPS, she was overdue, so I got to go back two days later with her. FUN.

Taking the dogs to the vet is always an adventure. Duncan enjoys riding in the car, and the vet gives him treats, so for the most part he’s down with whatever’s happening there. He hops into the car, struts around the office like he owns the place, and begs for treats. Licorice, on the other hand, begins shaking violently the second I place her in the car, spends the entire ride trying to crawl into my lap, cries the whole time we’re at the office, and refuses to take any treats because she is so distressed. A study in opposites!

So I brought Duncan in and in addition to his shots, I wanted them to trim his nails because I am lazy, so the decision was made to muzzle him because is a stress nipper. (This is a nice way of saying that he has no problem biting you if he gets pissed off.) Duncan loves the vet but he HATES being muzzled, and with his jaws held mostly-shut all he could do was snort a lot and flick his tongue in aggravation, which meant I couldn’t stop laughing at him because he looked like a deranged, angry anteater. *flick* *flick* *flick*

Duncan is a delicate flower, as you may recall, with myriad health issues, and I’m not saying the vet’s eyes actually turn to dollar signs like you see in cartoons, when we walk in, but I’m not saying they DON’T, either. “How’s he been doing?” he asked, while checking him over.

“Oh, he’s good. Seems happy. We feed him every four hours and it seems to be working. But, um, his ears are a little gunky, can you check them?”

The vet checked his ears while Duncan continued to flick his tongue. “I don’t think he has an infection,” he said. “This is more like the yuck they get when they have food allergies. Maybe we should try a different food.”

Duncan came to us an overweight mess of allergicness, and he’s been doing well on the food we feed Licorice. When I pointed that out, I got a lecture about how allergy-prone dogs can develop new allergies over time, blah blah blah, did I just want to buy a small bag of the special hypoallergenic food to see if anything changed on it? Okay, fine. I’m a sucker.

But! They were all out. No worries; they should have it in by the time I needed to bring Licorice in for her appointment.

Duncan had a good shake when the muzzle came off, got his biscuit, and trotted out of there happy as a clam. (Are clams happy? How do we know?)

Two days later, which happened to be Friday (this will be important in a minute), I brought Licorice in for her appointment and she got all her shots and cried and vibrated and then got very annoyed that we couldn’t leave IMMEDIATELY because I was buying this special food for Duncan. Special food which costs $24 for a 6-pound bag. I was thinking, hell, I could just feed him chicken or ground beef for that price, but no, I could not feed him these contents any other way, because this food is SUPER SPECIAL.


Yep. Doesn’t your dog eat kangaroo? No? You must not love him as much as I love Duncan, then.

I’ll admit, I was kind of squicked out. And then I was annoyed with my own hypocrisy, because I feed the dogs meat, I eat meat, myself, and why is kangaroo somehow weirder/less humane than beef or chicken? That’s silly. And yet… ugh. Kangaroo.

Friday afternoon I fed Duncan the new food. And then again at dinner. And again at bedtime. He scarfed it all down, because 1) it’s food and 2) he’s a dog.

Here I need to point out that Duncan sleeps in a bed on the floor of our room, but Duncan DESPERATELY WANTS to sleep in the ZOMGTHEBIGBED with us. Like a toddler, he often wakes up in the wee hours and comes and paws at the side of the mattress until I pick him up and he can tuck in with us for an hour or so. It’s adorable. (Licorice is part gazelle and so can just leap into our bed if she likes, which is why she doesn’t sleep in our room. Duncan is too arthritic to manage this.) Sometimes when I’m having a really hard time, Otto will put Duncan in bed with us at bedtime, while saying, “I figured you needed a dog to snuggle tonight.” Because I LOVE having him in the bed with us; he snuggles and I sleep better. But Otto, with his need to be a sleeping island, finds a dog in the bed disruptive. The dog wants to TOUCH HIM and Otto (claims that he) ends up on the edge of the mattress, trying to get away from him. So Duncan sleeps in his bed on the floor.

But… Otto was out of town for a few days, and yeah, Duncan was sleeping in the bed with me because I love him and I was lonely and sometimes you need a snoring dog in your armpit, okay?? Don’t judge me. I wasn’t hurting anyone. Friday night, Duncan and I tucked in to the ZOMGTHEBIGBED and I prepared for a blissful night of sleep and dog-snuggling.

Funny thing; TURNS OUT that perhaps Duncan isn’t quite so down with the kangaroo diet. I awoke to that terrible sound that all dog owners know and fear—the repetitive, pulsing HORK HORK HORK which signals something terrible is about to happen. I sat up, felt around, patted Duncan, and he stopped making that noise. He did not appear to have actually vomited, and I was pretty tired, so we went back to sleep… until the next time it happened. And this time, he definitely did puke. And then tried to eat it! Because of course!! I cleaned up and retrieved towels and patted him and figured he was empty BECAUSE I AM A MORON and yeah, an hour later, he did it again.

Bonus: In the morning I discovered that he HAD puked that first time, too. Yep. Of course. My name is Mir, and I spent a good portion of the night sleeping in a puke-crusted bed. (Hey, it’s a king, and he was considerate enough to puke over on Otto’s side. Could’ve happened to anyone.)

Saturday was spent washing the duvet and cover, the sheets, the mattress protector, and the dog himself (he didn’t smell so great). I switched Duncan back to his regular food and he’s been fine ever since. Of course when Otto called to see how things were going, I was all, “Good news! I’m totally spring cleaning and washed all the bed linens!” Technically that was true.

Of course this happened on the weekend, so that I couldn’t call the vet until today. He asked if I’d blended the old food and the new food to ease Duncan into the change, and of course I hadn’t because did I mention how I am a moron? His suggestion was that I try again but with a blend. My suggestion is that he take his kangaroo food and… oh, never mind.

It’s a really good thing these dogs are cute, is all I’m sayin’.


  1. hokgardner

    My mother, who lives in your general area, must go to the same vet. He tried to sell her cat food made of kangaroos. She declined.

  2. Nelson's Mama

    Nelson has been eating bison, rabbit and vension…there are lots of options out there.

    There’s a product called The Missing Link (the one for skin) that really helps allergies.

  3. Jen_A

    I think there was a This American Life episode where Ira Glass talks about feeding his dog actual kangaroo meat (as in not just an ingredient in a dry dog food)? (SIDE NOTE: Yes, I was right, here’s the transcript of the ep: I recall thinking this was extremely odd, but perhaps it’s more common that I knew. Anyway…poor pukey Duncan. Poor (no literally) puke-encrusted you.

  4. Kristi

    So I work at a pet store and became a total dog food nerd and did All The Classes (did you know there’s classes?) and then started reading research papers by Real Scientists That Don’t Work at Pet Stores and, well, y’know. So I will say this, that most dogs are allergic to one, two, three, combination, whatever, of these things: grain, chicken and beef. If your previous food had one of those things (and if it had colors; lots of dogs don’t do well with industrial strength dye), maybe try the same brand you were using without those three things or look for something that says Limited Ingredient Diet. And, y’know, I’m a dork, so feel free to email me. Because kangaroo is effing expensive.

  5. Kristi

    I feel for you Mir. Kristi ^^ – my speshul snowflake licks and licks her paws. I switched her from Ceasar food, to the Blue stuff and now she is on Wellness. I’ve switched her completely both dry and wet food. She is still licking her paws…any tips on what else I can try? Her vet is not very helpful.

    • Nelson's Mama

      I’ll give you the advice I’ve been given from a great shih tzu rescuer – it worked great for my dog until he got sick and quit eating. :(

      Switch to a high quality grain-free food. Give a chewable multi-vitamin daily (I buy Pet-Tabs with the green cap). Add The Missing Link to special Snowflake’s food (the one skin, coat & more), it has omega 3 and probiotics. And, the most important piece , apparently it helps their immune system, is ester c, or vitamin C – I buy it in powered form from Amazon. It can take a couple of months to see a difference, but it’s worth it.

      Nelson was a stinky, itcky mess and was on steroids and I started this regiment and he got so much better. He’s off the supplement wagon right now and I can tell such a big difference. :(

    • Kristi

      It could be anxiety rather than a dietary thing, is there a specific time that she does it? Or, believe it or not, she could be allergic to grass. I’d try wiping her down with plain baby wipes for a little while and if that doesn’t work see if maybe it’s an anxiety or boredom thing – they often lick for those two reasons.

    • robin

      Hey Kristi, I don’t know if this will help but after several Vets threw up their hands in frustration it cured our Golden retriever of his paw licking habit.

    • Sherry

      Our dog is a paw licker. After trying different foods, allergy shots, and allergy pills, the vet swabbed up in between his paw pads. Lo and behold, that child has an “always will be there” yeast infection. Now we have pills, special shampoo, and a foot soak.

  6. Brandi

    1) Kangaroo is DELICIOUS. Our Mongolian BBQ has it as an option – I always choose it over everything else!
    2) My cat’s food (imported from CANADA to the UK! because I am a sucker! I also only feed him gluten free because I don’t want mister licker to lick me with a gluten tongue!) costs $60 for 13 pounds. Uh, yeah. Luckily cats don’t eat much…?
    3) My cat sleeps on me all night, every night. Last time I went away I realised I can NOT sleep without holding something tight. Something cat sized. Yes, I did buy a stuffed rabbit I can sleep with.. my cat is named Tegan. The stuffed rabbit is named Vegan. Get it? ;) I was the nearly-30-year-old walking around the airport with a stuffed rabbit in her bag… yeah

  7. Emilie

    So, I’ve been living in Australia for over 10 years and guess what is in my refrigerator (for human consumption!) as we speak? Yep, Tuesday night will be kangaroo mince burritos night! Kangaroo is actually cheaper than beef mince. It took me some time to mentally get used to it early on (I grew up in Quebec), but it is actually is pretty tasty (not that I am recommending you try Duncan’s food or anything!). So in light of the price you paid, maybe I need to start looking into a kangaroo dog food exportation scheme as my get-rich-quick strategy

  8. Chuck

    I didn’t try kangaroo any on my trip to Australia. At one place I stayed that had a restaurant, the hostess asked if I’d tried any and when I said no, she said it was good. Then she said, “Actually, we’re the only country I know of that eats its national animal.” At any rate, it’s still a “delicacy” I haven’t tried yet.

  9. Brigitte

    Yeah, when kitty had to go on a special diet, the vet tried to sell me overpriced special food . . . which, ingredient-wise, was basically the same as any old store brand catfood. I did my research and bought special food from the Agway. Still pricey, but this time the ingredients merited the cost!

  10. Jeanie

    Oh, Mir, I could talk all day about dogs. Love them! I think yours are pretty special, too. I also received one of those reminders… Oh, excuse me. CHANCE received a reminder that it’s time for a vet visit. They always address the postcards to the dogs. He’s a cocker/lab (probably) mix stray my son brought home a few years ago. He loves to go in the car and sits there like a good boy. No problem. My shih tzu, Kenzie, sounds exactly like Licorice. And I think the vet forgot that I have a third dog, my labradoodle, Oliver. He’s a year old now, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to have to take him, too, for booster shots.

  11. Marika

    I am Australian and refuse to eat it on patriotic grounds, but they roam wild in pest-like quantities so converting them to food is actually doing everyone a favour. It’s very good for you…very low in cholesterol and fats. Hope he likes it a bit more soon!

  12. Angela

    They are very cute, and the teeth-sticking-out cracks me up! A friend had a dog that was part Chihuahua and part something long-legged, so he looked like a Chihuahua on stilts! Which was hilarious already, but he also had one bottom canine tooth that stuck out sideways, so that dog was a riot for sure. And now I want to try eating some kangaroo.

  13. Laura

    I don’t know if clams are happy, per se, but are pretty chill. Yes, this is what I am taking away from all of this.

  14. abbiejoy

    My dog has LOTS of allergies (sharpei/lab mix for the allergy win!) and the dermatologist recommended pretty much what other people said. Avoid common things like beef/chicken and grains. She recommended a few brands, and the most affordable and easy-to-find one for me is Natural Balance. I go with the Venison & Sweet Potato blend which is limited ingredient. It isn’t cheap, but at least I don’t have to go to the vet to get it. And Mr. Pudge isn’t picky about his food as long as it is plentiful.

  15. Mandy

    I have a senior dog who is allergic to chicken. I recently switched him over to Halo. He loved it so much I switched over the cats’ food as well. Amazon sells it – some flavors on Subscribe and Save. You can also find it at PetCo (if your town has one; ours does not) or at

    It’s the only pet food that has never had a recall. Simple ingredients, no-grain options (if that is important), and my boys love it.

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