Our first dog was a little poodle named Pepita! I truly cannot remember what my mom fed this dog but she was cute!
Then came our Tasja, a 4 month old German Shepard. My mom used to cook for her and she ate all the scraps from our home-cooked meals.
I remember going to the butcher for heart and tripe for the dog as a kid and a fish for the cat! My mom used to cook this, and let me tell you, the smell of cooked tripe is not pleasant. Actually that is an understatement. It's a putrid, pungent smell. It would settle in your nostrils like skunk spray but worse! When you went to bed at night the stench was even lingering in the bedsheets. I have to admit that I did fry up tripe a few times and when Kelly or Ger would enter the house they would wretch and flee the kitchen faster then they entered. But we would do anything for a sick dog that is starting to refuse their food right? RIGHT!!
In the late 80's when it became fashion to go to a small animal vet instead of a country vet that would treat all animals, my mom was told by the vet that kibble was a better way to feed our 12 year old arthritic Shepard! As soon as she started the kibble the skin lesions started to happen, the arthritis got worse and our Shepard suffered on for quite a while before my mom decided to stop feeding kibble and went back to home cooking for her. She passed one month before her 16th Birthday!
When I got my first dog Bobby, I fed like my mom, table scraps and even milk chocolate whipped cream bonbons! Our favourite LOL! Disclaimer: I didn't know any better as we all now know that we should avoid chocolate in all possible way! (If not please contact me and we will talk chocolate!) LOL
Then I met my husband and Sally came into our lives. When we picked up Sally from our breeder, the words that stood out were: "Whatever you feed this pup, make sure you incorporate a few meals of fresh meat into your pups food, it will add years to your dogs life". I never forgot that statement! I always tried to find the best possible kibble with the knowledge I had at the time, and we fed raw on the weekends as that was just the easiest thing to do! Things seemed to be going ok.
Then in 1999 we made the move to Canada. I researched for a good affordable food and settled on Diamond at the time. I still sourced cheap meats, couldn't find tripe at all in Canada at the time, but heart and giblets and bones were readily available (oh god who would eat chicken giblets ewww).
Bobby my first dog passed away after falling off the stairs suffering a heart attack, to this day I blame the chocolate :(
Our Sally passed away from a tumor pushing at her heart, and then the melamine scare came along in 2007 and I moved away from Diamond and around that time Ginny and Gaby passed away both of spleen cancer! Three dogs passing of cancer in a row!
Heidi came in our lives in 2008 By that time I had vowed to never to feed a diet based on kibble anymore and we moved towards raw feeding. This wasn't easy as raw food for dogs wasn't readily available. I started sourcing form local slaughterhouses but these are now closed and I got a foot into the buffalo farm up the road providing me with old freezer meat and stuff the people wouldn't eat! There was our local trading post that started selling meat for dogs on my request :)
Then I heard of this great place that opened in Brooklyn out of their home that was selling raw food for dogs, and we never looked back.
When the chicken Jerky problem was going on in 2010 , I too was lured into buying 100% pure chicken and duck jerky. It seemed too good to be true, Right? 2.5 kg (5 lbs) of chicken jerky for just over 10 bucks, how is that possible? I paid at that time $11 dollars for my own chicken breast so it seemed too cheap. I bought it anyway! Strapped for cash at that time and I left it in my pantry for a while before opening! When I did open it, I fed the paps 1/2 piece each and the big dogs 2 strips. That's when shit hit the fan, literally!!
I had 5 sick dogs, 2 on IV with Barney almost dying, but I didn't know Cloe, our St. Bernard was sick. She was mostly outside during the day laying on the deck and kind off flew under the radar. When the others slowly got better she was incredibly sick. She was diagnosed with kidney failure due to poisoning, and unfortunately she passed away from this! OMG, this is when I started researching and came upon websites and FB groups with so many people affected by these treats. I was dumbfounded that after the melamine scare in 2007 this was still going on.
That is when I made the decision to advocate for our animals as they have to eat what we put in front of them, they have no choice and people unknowingly feed junk to their pets thinking that is the best thing for them.
Education and awareness are key! Pet food is all about money, not the health of our pets.
If you want to know more, please watch the movie PET FOOleD from Kohl Harrington who also lost his little dog due to pet food deception! Now available on Netflix! Or as always you can contact me too :)