DON’T FEED THE DOGS, Yes Dear
Breakfast is kind of a daily ritual for me. Eating is one of the few things I do on a consistent basis. Other than eating I am pretty much all over the place. Anyhow, part of my breakfast routine is biscuits, English muffins, donuts…with or without the holes, or some other healthy doughy thing. Some mornings when I forget how to use the toaster oven, Lynne will assist as my sous chef, but mainly I hunker through it on my own.
Some days when I fall off my Vegan wagon, I may have a biscuit with bacon or egg… Please… don’t give me that look, like you never fell off the drinking or eating wagon once in a while.
Ok, so you’re wondering when I am going to get to the “Don’t feed the dogs” part. Be patient; I’m working my way up to that. Writing 101, which I forget to attend, says you’ve got to paint a picture before you jump into the meat of the issue – intentional pun – so this is just the picture painting part.
Ok, now back to the story. Lynne remains in the kitchen rearranging things as usual, so I head off to my office to sit – or hide – in my leather chair and eat my breakfast. The dogs are on red alert at breakfast time, so they spot my feet move in the direction of my office and immediately wake from their sound sleep. They skimmer, and in a flash, surround my feet, each taking a turn to trip me, hoping to get the entire meal to themselves; not just pinches at a time of “their breakfast.”
Heading out of the kitchen to my office, Lynne says like clockwork, “don’t feed the dogs – they’ll get sick, and I’ll have to clean it up.” I always politely reply, “I won’t feed them, I never do.” So now comfortable in my Raiders of the Lost Ark style brown leather chair, I sit. I take a few bites, my Jackson, a large Australian Shepherd, black and white, who closely resembles a Panda, except with a longer nose starts his begging and drooling routine.
I rescued Jackson from one of the kill shelters we went to once a week to pull death row dogs. He was supposed to be flown to Illinois after I rescued him, but as soon as he put his sad, frightened butt onto the front seat of my truck, hung his head, coughed and looked at me sadly I instantly fell in love with him. So, we called the out of state rescue I was pulling him for, sheepishly informing them we would be keeping him. Plus, when I took him to the vet, the Doc found Jackson had a severe Parvo infection and other shelter infections – so Jackson was too sick to go anywhere for at least 90 days.
Now back to the breakfast starting lineup. Jackson is the lead batter each morning. Within 30 seconds of closely following my eyes as I put food into my mouth, Jackson starts his drooling and dripping routine, on my foot or the shiny wood floors. Our other three rescues – the little ones – as we call them, take their pre-assigned spots as well. Sweet Pea is a miniature Doxie that was left in a house, all alone with her two puppies for a week, while her inspiring mother was sitting in a jail cell in the county prison. Luckily our rescue director found about her and we got custody. After two months, and not finding a new home for Sweet Pea and her little brown pups Lynne fell in love with her, and we adopted Sweet Pea ourselves.
Now, this is the assigned breakfast seating line-up – Sweet-Pea hides demurely behind Jackson, Ruby, another of our death row rescues, who is part Chihuahua, part yellow lab, 13 pounds and 1 foot high claims the middle spot. Ruby is the hyper one, full of mischief and energy. She is always in hyper mode. When someone proceeds to pet Ruby she wiggles, squirms and promptly peas puddles on the floor.
And last in the batting order is Tia our first rescue. Seems tea’s major sin in her life was she peed on the carpet; so, the Wicked Witch of the West, Tia’s original owner took her to the vet, demanding Tia be put down. The Vet ignored her insanity and said he would keep her and find her a sane home. As fortune would be Lynne and I went to the vet the next week with one sick dog and walked out the next day with two dogs instead of the just one we walked in with. You know the story, Lynne fell in love with her, so we adopted her. Tia is the oldest of our four and queen of the pack. At her age of 15 now she is a bit grouchy at times. She is still full of life, runs in circles around the house, then drops and lays on her side panting. Tia is a 12-pound black Chi-Weenie. Mostly Chihuahua, but part Dachshund – kind of like a really stretched out Chihuahua.
Ok, back to breakfast, the gang is all in their designated parking spots. The breakfast games begin! I listen close, determining where Lynne is. Is she still out of sight in the kitchen, or is she upstairs rearranging things, making a bed, or taking a shower.? I especially love the shower part as I know I’ve now got all the time I need to do what I was requested to do…feed the dogs my breakfast.
I forget to mention I have Dyslexia, not of the eyes, no, of the spoken word. Seems since childhood I have never been able to hear the words, “Do not, or don’t do that.” To this day I never hear the words “do not”, or I can’t do that. So, when Lynne says, “do not feed the dogs,” I only hear, “Do feed the dogs, please.” So as ordered, I feed the dogs part of my breakfast. Fortunately for me, not once have any of the gang of four ratted me out on our little morning routine.
Now, to a bit more serious part of this story. My reasoning, or plausible excuse, for feeding my dogs tiny chunks of real food is because I think eating bone dry, rock hard kibble every day for life is not a great idea. Dogs need real food and real meat, not fake meat cooked to a thousand degrees in a giant oven and then extruded into little food looking nuggets, along with a touch of food color, and a hint of vegetables for more authenticity to fool the pet parents. Dogs aren’t being fooled at all, however. Remember this; their sight and taste are some zillion times better than ours.
And on top of that, do we believe meat cooked at a thousand degrees is still meat.? Now, in Kibble’s defense, the average American household dog lives about a dozen years; many live longer, so perhaps kibble is not all rat poison, but I still know that a whole, raw and unprocessed dog food that has not been dehydrated or processed provides the most nutrition for our pet’s.
So, what should we feed your dogs, besides my breakfast biscuits? Founding a local non-profit pet food pantry and then death row dog rescue 15 years ago I stay on top of the latest science on pet food and overall pet wellness. Daily I go to my best source, that I respect, a national expert on pet nutrition and care, Dr. Karen Becker. I review her articles and blog daily. Here are her brief comments on the appropriate feeding for your pet.
The diet you feed your pet should be nutritionally balanced and biologically appropriate for a carnivore [dog]. Biologically inappropriate foods cause metabolic and mitochondrial stress and illness. Foods that generate the least amount of metabolic stress are in their natural form — whole, raw and unprocessed. Foods that have not been dehydrated or processed provide the most nutrition for your pet’s body.
Species-appropriate for your carnivorous dog means food that is high in protein and low in grain content. Dogs are scavenging carnivores. Scavenging carnivores, by nature, are meat eaters that don’t hunt, but instead find their meat from an already eaten carcass or another animal’s leftovers. Obligate carnivores are animals that must consume the tissue of other animals to thrive, according to its genetic makeup. Obligate carnivores may eat different foods, such as vegetables, grains or fruit, but they must eat meat as the primary source of their nutrients. So, carnivores need to eat animal protein and fat to be optimally healthy.
So instead of only grain-based Kibble, I recommend pet food in its natural state to provide needed moisture, nutritionally balanced and biologically appropriate dog food to ensure the highest level of biologic assimilation and digestion.
Skip all the commercial weight control and ‘low fat’ diets. Regardless of their weight, your dog still needs the right nutrition for their species, which means food that is high in animal protein and moisture, with low or no grain content.
You can still use Kibble, but it must be a high-quality brand with meat first followed by vegetables and then just a small amount of grain for fiber. And make sure it has all the needed amino acids.
Oh, one last thing. If by chance, you know my wife Lynne, let’s keep my tiny morning feeding transgression to ourselves. Jackson, Ruby, Sweet Pea and Tia will be forever in your debt.
For the love of Dogs,