Helen McNall, Top Dog
Hi I’m Helen McNall and I am the Top Dog in the Wellbeing for Dogs team.
When my dog Marley (aka Moo) our mascot (and hero) was a puppy I took him to a vet I didn’t know previously – I hadn’t had a dog for some years, but before I knew it I was in a shouting match with her.
She was a recent graduate and for all her worth believed that I was killing this puppy with the food I was feeding him. “You can’t feed a dog human, fresh, real food”. End of story. She had no ability to explain this, beyond the demand that I feed him a pet food as it was “balanced and complete”.
She may have been right, I didn’t know enough, I was using common sense, and actively seeking more knowledge.
This was some time ago – Moo is now 14 years old – and the internet didn’t have that amazing ability that we now rely on to find stuff out (some of it right, some of it wrong!)
Dogs have been our companions for millennia, eating what we eat, or what we have leftover. I couldn’t accept that a highly processed commercial waste product was the only choice for dogs in the 21st century.
And that is what started me, and motivates me still.
My passion is to make it simple for us to feed our dogs well, to trust that we do know what they need and have confidence in our ability to provide that.
I am not here to slag off at the pet food industry, I just want to inform, to inspire and to help dog lovers nourish their dogs, truly, with real food.
I want us to bring these much loved companions into the family fully, not just fixing them when they are broken but nurturing them, feeding them as well as we do ourselves and our children.
Behind every great enterprise lies the driving force, the reason we get out of bed. It’s to walk the dogs of course.
Marley (aka Moo)
Marley is the head of the empire, the mascot and is very happy in front of a camera ( happy to be paid in liver treats too). Unfortunately he has a few issues – apart from being cross-eyed (very cute when he is doing ‘the stare’) – he has a very small liver – about half sized, which has a shunt in it. That means that some blood doesn’t get cleaned properly and he doesn’t handle fat very well.
He gets quite sick (paralysed, seizures) if he gets any chemicals on or near him. Clearly a big motivation in feeding him food that I can prepare and completely know what he is having.
He is a very happy dog, loves people, exploring, hanging out at coffee shops. He is smart as a whip, (not Whippet) and likes showing off. And he did not want a baby sister.
Nina (aka Beanie)
Nina is 4 years younger and typical of a baby sister gets away with everything because let’s face it, she’s cute. She gives beautiful hugs but they are rare and only to a select few.
We call her a blond on the inside, not that she isn’t smart (poodles just are) but she pretends to be a dumb blonde in a black fur coat. She hangs back in public, lets her brother take centre stage, doesn’t take to strangers well, but once she decides you are a friend, you know it.
Beanie has her own health issues, she has hair growing into her eyes. Very painful. In her first year she had 4 lots of surgery to remove the hairs. This did not make for a happy or well adjusted little dog. She has a very sensitive digestion, no raw food, no bones not even the cartilage from chicken. Another reason for my developing my food knowledge.
I like to say that we are a modern blended family, we get along, the occasional spat, but mostly very generous, loving and caring tribe. There is some competition for the (human) lap, but they seem to have worked out who goes where and when.
And I cherish every minute I have with them, they truly do, nourish my soul.