Almost seven years ago a small bundle of brown, furry energy came into our lives. For several months through the summer and fall of 2006, Jen and I had been looking for a dog. We had no idea what we wanted, we just started searching. Our only criteria was we wanted a rescue. We wanted nothing to do with breeders!
We had been looking and looking and eventually ended up at Pets and People in Yukon, Oklahoma.
What we ended up with was a terrier that stole our hearts. She was about 12 weeks old and her sister was up for adoption too. We left the sister but called back several weeks later to see if she had been adopted. They said she had.
Six months later, Sophie was driving us up the wall. There’s not human alive that has the energy of a puppy so once again we went on the search for another dog to serve as her playmate.
Long story short, we ended up back at Pets and People one Saturday afternoon. One of the volunteers looked at Sophie and said, “Didn’t you get that dog here?” We replied “yes.” She then said, “Well, her sister is back!”
We almost fell over.
The best part is that we never even discussed it. We just took her out to play with Sophie, signed the paperwork, and put her in the car. We couldn’t believe we had the sister. Hence, Gracie!
A year later we were walking out of PetsMart and a Beagle mix stole our hearts at an adoption event. Yep, Lilly makes three!
Let’s move forward a few years, shall we?
I’ve been reading a book called Pukka’s Promise by Ted Kerasote (Amazon). This is Ted’s second book about dogs; his first was Merle’s Door. I read that book in 2009 and immediately fell in love with the process and techniques Ted employs in raising a dog.
Pukka is the dog after Merle. I actually met Pukka and Ted in 2009 on a motorcycle trip through Wyoming and he told me about this book back then. I’ve been waiting almost 4 years for it’s release!
Pukka’s Promise is about the health and life of our dogs. When Ted was looking for a new dog, he asked himself a question: Why do our dogs not live very long?
His research took him from meat processing plants to reclamation factories (where the carcasses of euthanized dogs, cats, and farm animals are processed) to investigating the ingredients in the dog toys we buy at such corporate behemoth’s as PetsMart, PetCo, and WalMart.
Hint: stop purchasing ANYTHING from these retailers if you want a healthier dog! There’s not ONE product they sell that is beneficial to your animal.
I would like to go into particulars about the science about Ted’s research but, one, I can’t remember it all, and, two, you should just go pick up the book and read for yourself.
Here’s the best advice I can give from what I’ve learned so far:
- STOP getting shots every year for your dog. They are unnecessary and contribute to early onset of a whole host of diseases. Most states require rabies vaccinations by law. Oklahoma only requires it every 3 years. Your vet is giving your dog shots for diseases that probably haven’t been present in your area of the country for decades and decades. It’s a waste of money and only shortens your dog’s life.
- Stop giving your dog heartworm medication every month. You’re poisoning your dog. Heartworm pills are not preventative, they are treatment! Basically the pill is used to kill the disease every month. This is like you having cancer treatment every month….just in case you get cancer!There’s a magical temperature at which heartworm larvae need to survive (transmitted through mosquitoes, etc.). In most climates, that will exclude 6 months of the year. I believe the temp is around 52° (don’t hold me to that…you’ll have to look it up in Ted’s book). What that means is, if the temperature reaches 52°, for even 10 minutes during the day, the larvae can’t survive. When the temps are above 52°, you only need to medicate every 90 days because of gestation periods. I’d do more research on this if you want more information.
- Stop feeding your dog food with grains or high carbohydrate ingredients. This is probably the easiest and most beneficial thing you can do for your dog. I used to watch Bubba (the fat neighbor who lived across the street) feed his dog Old Roy from WalMart. You might as well let your dog root around your trash for food….he would get more nutritional value out of your trash than Old Roy! About three years after they got that dog, it was causing all sorts of problems so they had to get rid of it. Well, when you feed it nothing but chemical sludge, waste, and byproduct, what the fuck do you expect? We use the Nature’s Variety brand of dog food that is loaded with protein. In addition, we’re switching the dogs to fresh, organic vegetables three days a week. You should be eating those fresh, organic vegetables anyway, just buy more,
Ted’s book contains loads of wonderful advice for your dog. And as crazy as you might think some of this advice is, remember, you accepted responsibility for this living, breathing creature. Doesn’t that dog deserve to live a healthy, fulfilled life? You wouldn’t want to put some of this crap in your body, so why do it to your dog?
I’ve met Pukka and I have to tell you that he is one of the most healthy, smart, and well-rounded dogs I’ve ever encountered in my life. There’s a reason he’s like that: Ted cares…..and so should you!
Oh yeah, get off the couch and run!