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Pooch pill popping not a smooth endeavor Carlos R. Davalos | Tue, Aug 16 2011 12:00 PM

Have you ever tried to get an incredibly stubborn dog to take medication? I have been trying for the last week to come up with creative and sneaky ways to get Mordecai to take his pills, but so far in the battle of human vs. canine, the victor seems to be a lot furrier than I would have anticipated.

A week ago, Mordecai had to have his anterior cruciate ligament repaired, which put me once again into the decidedly 'maroon' part of my bank account. Two years ago he blew out his left ACL; two weeks ago he blew out his right. Oh, the joys of financial responsibility...

When I picked him up from the surgery, the first thing I noticed was that they had shaved his entire right back end, which caused me to conjure up images of the last fresh chicken at Ralphs.

The second thing I noticed was that he was stoned out of his gourd ... but not enough to drag the poor vet technician toward the door in a desperate bid for freedom from the 'torture chamber' that I'm sure the vet's office represents.

Once he had made it out of the front door, he settled almost immediately into a cross-eyed haze, getting his (functional) legs tangled with each other.

I know that the staff at the vet must have had a good laugh watching me try to hoist my spaced-out 80-pound pooch into the back of my Jeep, as he didn't try to help me in the least; he was probably doing it on purpose.

When I grabbed him in the middle, his front and back ends flopped like al dente spaghetti; when I tried to grab the ends, the middle did the same. It was like a Gumby cartoon gone horribly wrong.

That night, he started his regimen of pills; he has to take five in the morning and five at night for the next two weeks, and I'm not talking about the little pills, I'm talking about the ones that could feasibly choke a camel.

I tried hiding them in his food; no dice - he just ate around them. Hiding them in hot dog sausages? Absolutely not. Peanut butter? You must be joking!

At my wit's end, I tried the 'force' method of holding his mouth open, placing them at the back of his throat, and holding his mouth closed until he swallowed a few times. I would let go... he would look and me ... and then insolently, "pthew," spit it out untouched by anything other than an incredible amount of saliva.

At one point, out of sheer frustration, I found myself on my knees in front of him trying to explain why he needed to take them. Naturally, that didn't work either. I even went back to my vet and bought the "pill pockets" that you hide the pills in. No good. He has now cottoned on to the fact that if I try to give him something that he doesn't normally get, there's probably something nasty in it.

I have been getting the pills down him one way or another, but if anyone has any suggestions about how to get him to take his medication in a way that doesn't make me feel like a terrible person, I would love to hear them.

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