I came to Australia from France with two dogs and a cat in January 2000. They have all passed on since then, the last being my beautiful French puss who spent 19 years with me. It was time for another animal to join the household and we found Scooter’s photo on the notice board of the local store. His owners couldn’t control him. He was 11 months old, untrained and absolutely gorgeous. He quickly adapted to life “chez nous” and loves everybody and everything, although his order of preference is boy dogs, boy humans, girl dogs, girl humans and then all the rest. Scooter and my partner are inseparable. He is even mascot to a youth group in the region. He is now beautifully trained and is just the happiest dog in the world.
I feed Scooter real food for he same reasons I feed myself real human food. I wanted Scooter to be healthy, to be happy, to look stunning, which he does, and to live “forever”.
To start with I consulted my friend Helen who knows more about healthy food for dogs than anyone I know or know of, and, dare I say it? By using the iPad to google recipes and information on what’s good, what’s not good for dogs. I still run thoughts past Helen.
I needed to know how to get the balance of meat vs vegetables vs fillers such as rice and pasta. What foods to avoid. How much to feed him. Not that he seems to care about the latter. The more the better he probably says but he is not a greedy dog. I put that down to the quality of the food he gets.
His food is not really that varied, but definitely more interesting than a can of something. I check the meat section for specials. I do love Scooter but I don’t feed him Scotch fillet. I don’t feed myself Scotch fillet much either. We cook all of his meat and vegetables. He may get beef hearts with gluten free pasta and Chinese greens and carrots. Next day it could be chicken with rice, sweet potato and celery. He loves celery. We also do liver with rice or pasta and vegetables. When I have quinoa I give that to him and maybe add chicken broth to his meat and vegetables. We put cottage cheese in his meals, and he loves yoghurt. I learned from Helen that really I can give him almost the same food that we eat leaving out the bits that are no good for dogs.
We don’t eat beef hearts or liver though. And to make up for the vitamins, minerals and other that may be missing we use Helen’s mix.
Mostly we just cook every day, same as for ourselves.
The best thing about making real food, for starters, it looks and smells better than anything out of a can. I also know what is in it. It’s also fun to see Scooter watching the process knowing that it’s his meal we are cooking. We talk to him all through the process. That’s if he’s not outside checking out the neighbours or people and dogs passing by. It also frees up space in the pantry. Those cans must take up a lot of space that could be used for healthy, fun food.
There are no negatives, Scooter is our boy and we want him with us for as long as is possible. It’s joy to see him happy and looking forward to good meal.
If we are using almost the same ingredients for Scooter’s meal as for ours it may add a few minutes to the process, but it doesn’t in anyway make life difficult. Like I said above, it’s fun to talk to Scooter about what he’s going to have for dinner while it is being prepared.
His favourite food experience is probably getting to the cat’s food when he (the cat) turns his back but let’s see. Scooter loves everything we give him although he has been know to spit out the occasional piece of undercooked carrot. I’d say that he especially licks his lips when he sees & smells pasta with chicken, celery, carrots (the al dente kind, not the under-cooked kind) with a dollop of cottage cheese or yoghurt, and of course, Helen’s mix.
It’s almost like eating as a family, except he doesn’t get to sit at the table. He never turns his nose up at his food. He has the shiniest coat around and is constantly complimented on his looks, his nature, his friendliness and how joyful he is with life.
There are elements of a dog’s diet that are essential for a his health that the food, as good as it is, will never fully cover so we use Helen’s mix to make up for the missing bits. We know that cooking for Scooter is the right thing to do and we also honestly believe that Scooter is the happy, healthy, loving and beautiful dog he is because of Helen’s mix.