Saturday, June 14, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Well, your faithful companion has to eat too and most manufacturers are just a little less particular about ingredients that go into dog food than food for human consumption. You can see why I might take umbrage at that! The old adage “You get what you pay for” certainly works here to some degree but not entirely. A lot of manufacturers have cashed in on your heightened awareness to present products that appear to have healthy, nutritious ingredients. The picture shows what appears to be a healthful combination of meat, vegetable and grain when the truth of what’s in the bag is far different. There’s also the quality of ingredients. Did you know that they’re allowed to call ground up chicken feathers “chicken”? I wouldn’t be totally averse to getting a chicken or maybe a duck feather in my mouth from time to time but seeing as how they are totally indigestible, I don’t think I want to rely on them as my main source of protein. You’d be surprised, Even the stuff you find for sale as top-shelf products at your vet’s office is mostly junk, even the stuff that sounds like it was cooked up in a nutritional expert’s lab. As important as the ingredients are, where they come from is equally important. Nothing personal against the Chinese who supply a great majority of the ingredients in even premium foods but they have a serious quality control if not an integrity issue ( Please see my post "Howling Mad" from May 2010 ). Heck, they even put melamine (a toxic industrial waste) into the baby formula for their own kids just to turn a profit. The government made them pull it off the shelves and six months later it was back on the market again putting tens of thousands of human infants at risk of renal failure. I remember the big dog food scare we had back when I was a young. They were putting melamine in the dog food (it fools the assay test so as to show a higher protein content) and I remember that we lost several dogs to unknown causes, normally a very rare event here, during that time period.
Coincidentally, it was around this time that Dad began to do some research on dog food quality, not just ingredients but their sourcing as well. This can be very daunting, particularly when sourcing is not generally made very obvious and price can be a huge factor but he did manage to wean us from the “eye candy” that we preferred and started rotating between several top quality brands. I’ve got to be honest, we loved our eye candy, would nut up as soon as we saw the bag but I will say that since we’ve been eating better, I spend a lot less time digging myself raw. I wonder what other good effects it’s been having. Nowadays our palates are a little more sophisticated. We will turn our noses up at the eye candy that we once so loved as well as anything less that the best. I’m not here to endorse any particular product but I will say that we all love our Blue Buffalo and Merrick. Yes, it’s pricey but not as much as you think. As it is nutrient dense, we eat (and poop) less so the cost has to be looked at in this light. Sure, there’s some really good food out there that we won’t touch either. It’s all a matter of personal taste much like how a lot of humans love lobster and others wouldn’t eat it on a bet. I’m glad Dad loves us enough to take the time to find some really good food that we like to make the most of the few short years that are given to us.
As I said, the process of ciphering through all of the information, then going back to the manufacturers website and trying to get information there can be more than daunting but fortunately there are others who, with no vested interest, have already done much of the research and are willing to share their findings. Dog Food Advisor is one such entity that can help to make some sense of all that is out there. Given that the results can be somewhat subjective, it is always good to compare several ratings and a quick Google will get you there without a problem. Then it’s just a matter of figuring our what, within your budget, are the best foods that your pet enjoys. It’s always good to have 2 or 3 to rotate through as no one food is perfect and rotating them will help balance that out.
I have always considered it a great unfairness that, as mans’ best friend, dogs only get to enjoy 10 + – years of that. If you value your companion, wouldn’t it be best to make the most of those years, possible extending them and certainly improving their quality. A rule of paw here, if you are feeding your pet from the grocery store or, dog forbid, the dollar store, you could do soooo much better. What is your best friend worth?
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Friday, December 20, 2013
It was just about a year ago that our little Munch came to us ( see post: A Heart to Heart, Species to Species posted 12/24/12) in a pitiful state and almost died on Christmas eve. We felt that an update 1 year later would be appropriate so we are very happy to tell you that little Munch is thriving. He’s absolutely spoiled rotten, thinks he should have a “hamburger” (our name for his special dinner) every time dad’s feet hit the floor. Dad often tells him that he’ll have to wait some of he’ll pop. Some supervision is required when he and Grandma (an ancient Min Pin) get their treats but Munch will staunchly ward off any interlopers, setting them straight in short order on treat ownership issues. He’s still a very old dog, no getting past that but he enjoys life and still takes himself out to enjoy sunny days on the deck and has actually been seen to run around and cavort with some of the other dogs. He’s got his own little spot in dad’s office but sometimes asks to sleep on the bed in his special corner.
I’m so glad we have been able to help him enjoy another year of “a life worth living” and he has certainly repaid us several times over with love and laughter. When he does leave us, it will be as a member of the family, not a piece of trash. Merry Christmas y’all! Please remember to be supervise your doggies with all of the holiday treats, gift wrappings, small toys etc.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Saturday, July 13, 2013
It’s usually around this time of year when I start reminding people of the dangers of leaving their best friend in the car. Even with the AC running, tragedy is potentially only moments away. Machines can and do fail and if the motor were to cut off or the AC malfunctions, the temperature can rise to over 140 degrees in minutes.
Rather than reiterate the content of past posts on this subject though, I wanted to take the time to address a related issue that applies specifically to our valiant K9 police and sheriffs dogs. Generally, the best and safest rule is to never leave your dog in the car unattended but I do understand that the K9 corps is a breed unto themselves. Not only do they provide a unique and irreplaceable service to the community, they are sterling ambassadors for our species as a whole and have their own protocols that are unique to their situation. When it gets real hot, Dad just stops taking me in the truck until things cool down a bit. I hate it but I do understand. With a K9 officer, laying out by the air conditioner is not an option, they have an important job to do. Just the other day though, we went by a place where the sheriffs and town police were on their lunch break inside a small fast food joint. I noticed that the K9 officer was left in the car with the motor running and presumably the AC on because he’s not allowed in the restaurant and I got to thinking that there’s maybe a better way to go about this.
According to my understanding, as things now stand, the K9 officer would not normally be allowed inside the restaurant unless on official business (to protect his partner or help make an arrest or maybe search out drugs). Lunch is pretty much out. Think about it though, other service dogs (like Seeing Eye dogs) are allowed special exemption from this rule for the good reason that their services are absolutely essential.
The ADA defines a service animal in the following manner: 2. Q: What is a service animal?
A: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:
_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.
_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.
_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.
A service animal is not a pet.
I cannot see where the K9’s services are any less essential even though the officer doesn’t technically have a disability other than the fact that he or she is more likely to come to harm without their partner. I believe that the human officers wouldn’t have a problem with having his or her partner accompany them while they dined, as from what I’ve seen, they treat their K9 partners with great care and respect (often as literal family) and while they’re having lunch, their partner would have their back. As to the individual establishments and the public in general, I’m sure there would be some who would disapprove but, overall, I would think the average response would be quite favorable. I can actually picture an increase in patronage of an establishment that welcomed K9 officers. These dogs are magnificent to behold as well as highly intelligent and superbly trained. I think a lot of folks would come just to see them (I know I would) and they’d be sure to bring the kids too. On top of this, you could be pretty sure the place wouldn’t get robbed while you’re having your meal with a trained K9 on duty.
Whenever the community loses one of its K9 officers, either in the line of duty or of old age, they afford them the same dignity as they would their human counterparts, full military honors. This speaks volumes about their worth to the community and the respect they command. How tragic and needless it would be if even one of these heroes were to be lost because the cruiser motor cut off or the air conditioner belt broke while his partner was at lunch when we could have proactively negated the risk. I wouldn’t have a clue as to who to approach about including K9 officers in the service animal exemption, I’m a dog myself and don’t really know about these things but I’ll be sure to ask around. In the meanwhile, if you have any ideas or thoughts on this matter, be sure to let me know. I’d especially enjoy hearing from you human K9 officers to get your take on this.