Zelda's Zoo

Memoirs of a Missouri Mutt

Too much?

Inspired by this Dogster post. I decided to post the instructions mom left the pet sitter when her and Mean Guy left for Colorado for 10 days last summer. At the time we were fostering 3 puppies, which made the house a bit more chaotic than usual. Is this too much for one working person?

Zelda & Carlos:

  • 1 cup (half the green scoop) 2x per day (2 cups each total)
  • Usually get fed at 7am and 7pm
  • Food is in the Pantry
  • Usually have to put treats or coconut oil in Zelda’s food to get her to eat.
  • Pick up Zelda’s bowl when she’s done or Carlos & Cleo will get fat.


  • ⅓ cup 3x per day (the white scoop & smaller container)
  • Food is in the Hallway
  • Usually, gets fed at 7am, 5pm, and 9pm (but whatever you can do)


  • PUPPIES LIVE INSIDE – do not leave them in the garage unattended – they tear up everything.
  • You can take them through the garage to go to the small pen outside
  • Fill up 3 bowls from the white trash can under the coffee pot 3x per day. You can feed them outside, so they can eat while you’re getting ready in the morning 🙂
  • Make sure they have water when they’re outside
  • Don’t leave them outside long when the sun’s in their play area
  • Remove food by 8 pm or they will poop in their kennels overnight
  • Don’t let them play with the big dogs outside. You can let them play with big dogs  one puppy at a time inside, but 3 is too many to keep track of pees
  • They’ve been escaping the small fence lately. Don’t leave Carlos and them outside at the same time, unless you’re out there. He plays nice for a while, but they piss him off after a bit.

Sugar gliders

  • I pre-made all the bowls I have in the fridge, but you’ll have to wash them and make new ones when you run out.
  • They get fed one bowl a day
  • Bowl consists of ½ an apple, 10 or so mealworms (in the jar on the counter), and one of the hexagon ice cubes in the front of the freezer
  • It’s easier to put a bowl in the cage during the day when they’re asleep. But if you need to do it at night, close the office door in case they jump out.


  • Please water the vegetable garden in the evening if it doesn’t rain for a few days.

Let us know if you think mom is crazy! Or if you don’t.

A Starved Soul

Carlos eats too fast.
He can consume a 1.25 cups of food in 30 seconds.

Historically, my brother Carlos has been overweight. After he returned home, mom started feeding him the same high protein kibble I eat. Because mom never has to measure my food (I stop when or before I’m full and generally think of eating as a hassle rather than a pleasure), mom naively followed the feeding directions on the back of the bag for feeding him. At 3.5 cups a day to supposedly maintain an 80 lb dog, Carlos gained 15 lbs in 3 months before the vet commented that he was a bit overweight. So at 95 lbs, Carlos got cut to 2 cups and half can of green beans a day. This former diet may have contributed to the speed at which he consumes meals.

Today he gets 1.25 cups of food twice a day. Carlos’ philosophy on chewing is that it gets in the way of swallowing. But because rapid eating contributes to bloat (life threatening condition common in older large breed dogs), we searched for solutions to curb his high speed eating. We looked into bowls that made it harder for him to eat as quickly. A local pet shop recommended this bowl: http://northmate.com/category/products/green/

But, it’s a little out of our price range, and it looks like something Carlos would stab his eye out on. (His enthusiasm for food is pretty extreme.)

Mom then came across this:


From Amazon


We have now increased Carlos’ eating time to almost 4 MINUTES!

Mom highly recommends this bowl, and Carlos doesn’t seem to mind it.

See our first use video below:

Read more about bloat

Puppy Tips: Kenneling

My first Training post!

by Mom

Not sorry. I party.

Not sorry. I party.

First off I want to say that Zelda is an almost perfect dog. I can have her around kids, strangers, and strange dogs, and she’s loose in the house when I’m not home. Her behavior now, is almost always on point, but she was a horrendous puppy. Carlos had the normal puppy challenges, nipping peoples hands, and chewing on remotes, jumping on people, and other stuff like that. But, Zelda’s destruction was insane – the stuff of nightmares. I’m talking holes in drywall, carpet dug down through the carpet pad to the plywood, torn up floorboards and door frames, and chewed up table legs.

I had been researching dog training online for over a year prior to getting Zelda. While I had dogs growing up, I never trained one. However, when that sweet little puppy ended up in my lap, most of my intended training went out the window – temporarily.

Her first bouts of destruction could have been prevented, had I kenneled her the first day she was home. I learned my lesson, and she was kenneled on day 2.


Kennel nap with a friend.

Kennel nap with a friend.

Puppies and dogs need to be kennel trained. There are no if/ands or buts about it.There are many reasons your dog might have to be kenneled in it’s lifetime and it will be a much less stressful situation for you and your dog if he/she is already kennel trained.

Here are a few reasons to kennel train your dog:

  • Kennel training contributes to preventing separation anxiety (especially when done as a puppy)

  • It speeds up the process of potty training (because I dog will often hold it as long as possible to prevent peeing in the same space they are occupying).

  • They will likely need to be kennel trained for medical reasons at some point. After surgeries, your dog’s activity will have to be limited. If a dog ever has any broken bones, or other orthopedic injury, or needs a cast they will have to be confined to prevent further injury.

  • If your new puppy/dog has chewed up ANYTHING. They need to be kennelled. Many things can clog their intestines and be life threatening. Socks and other cloth items usually pass, sure, but not always. And if they eat the evidence, you may not even really notice anything is missing. I know some whose 2 year old dog recently died, because he was a counter surfing enthusiast. His autopsy revealed that his stomach was full of things they didn’t even know were missing.

  • If you ever have to board your dog, it will be much less stressful for them if they’re kennel trained.

  • If you travel with your pet, most hotels require that your dog is kenneled when you’re not in the room.

  • If you have to separate or introduce multiple dogs, kennels are a great way for them to get a look and a sniff at each other without endangering either party.

  • If you surrender your dog to a shelter, they will be more adoptable if they’re calm in the kennel.

Teaching it

Vacuums are scary.

Vacuums are scary.

Training is super easy for most dogs and almost all puppies. Kenneling should end up being fun for the dog, though it may not be at first. Dogs are naturally den animals. They like sleeping in a confined space, or going to confined spaces when they’re nervous. (You may observe this in hiding under tables, or sleeping curled up between blankets.) The steps below have been successful for me, but you should consult a trainer if you’re having issues.

  1. Decide on a command like “kennel”, “kennel up”, “crate”, or “bed”.

  2. Remove everything from the kennel at first – no blankets, toys, chews, nothing. Their kennel needs to remain empty until their destruction phase is long gone.

  3. Use your chosen command, and drop a treat in the back of the kennel. Or you could even feed them in there. (Though I wouldn’t do this for every meal, and will talk about that later).

  4. Once they go in, close it. (You may have to put them in there if they’re not super treat motivated or they’ve done this a few times and know what’s going to happen.)

  5. Leave them for at least 15 minutes when you’re home. Let them out for 15-20 and put them back in.  Do this a few times a day for a while.

  6. If it’s night time, leave them all night. They will likely cry an entire night or two if they’ve never done this before. Be more stubborn than they are. If you give in, the kennel will be an even more stressful for them than what you started with.

Carlos was already kennel trained when I first fostered him at 6 months old. Zelda’s kennel training took about a week. She cried for hours the first night, 20 minutes the next, and it dropped off completely within the week. I still give all the dogs treats when they go into kennels on command (but it’s not really necessary). Carlos just jumps in there sometimes when he wants a treat. And all the dogs will get in a kennel (sometimes they’ll all get in the same one) willingly when they’re scared of something (like vacuums or kittens). It has become their safe place, and I’m thankful for that!


Carlos is a cat.

Stuff we ruff: laser pointer edition

We have observed Carlos following shadow puppets with his nose and he chases bugs like it’s going out of style. So mom thought it might be fun to get him a laser pointer. And behold:

I think this is completely ridiculous as it is clear mom is controlling the dot. She tried to entice me to get excited about the laser dot, and I promptly tapped the small flashlight she was holding with my nose and laid on the couch. This is not nearly as exciting as tennis balls or frisbees.


Carlos, the comeback!

It seems I wasn’t rid of my goofy friend.

Since being adopted last February, Carlos has won the hearts of his adoptive humans, but not his adoptive fur sibling. Carlos was returned to the Dogs Deserve Better rescue, and Mom & Mean Guy agreed to foster him again. But… it didn’t take long for mom to convince Mean Guy that his return was a sign he belonged with us.

He’s now HERE TO STAY! And we have so much tug of war to play, so peace for now 🙂