Goin’ to the dogs, pt 1


Just about my best friend in the world these days is Jim, and that’s him (above), one of the pups from a litter we had two years ago this month.

We had a surprise in January when we found his parents enjoying a post-coital cigarette, and so in addition to working on various stories these days I am also up to my elbows in puppy-poop as we get this current batch ready to go and out the door.

People tend to express dismay when we tell them about the food we feed our pups when it’s time to wean them from their mother’s milk, so I wanted to pass it along to you, see if you agree – that we are bonkers when it comes to our Springers…

Anyway, at about 3 to 3.5 weeks we gradually introduce goats milk to the little ones, then over the course of a few days we add honey, wheat germ and whole milk yogurt to the mix as we pull the mother slowly away. After a week to ten days of that we begin to add in our own adult formula dried meal, only we run it through a grinder and add the resulting powder to the milk mixture, gradually decreasing the size of the grind until – at around six weeks – they’re eating our standard dry ‘kibble.’ We’ve had good luck with this over the years.

One of the reasons why we’ve turned away from commercial pet food products concerns the declining quality in these products as reported by various consumer watchdogs. The most troubling such reports, which came out in a few mainstream media outlets last year, concerns the use of so-called ‘roadkill’ and animals from shelters that have been euthanized in many of these commercially available pet food products. The latter, involving euthanized animal by-products, came to light when the chemicals used to ‘put-down’ dogs and cats at municipal animal pounds was found in several brands of canned dog food sold at, well, yeah, Wal*Mart. I’d be the first to point out this was a surprise to that retailer and they pulled the products in question, but there’s absolutely no indication that the practice has changed. Kind of Soylent Green for dogs, except those chemicals were making dogs sick as hell.

If there can even be considered a ‘good side’ to the current pandemic it’s that animal shelters around the U.S. have apparently seen record numbers of adoptions as people realize what we’ve known for years: there’s simply no finer companion than a good pup. More than a few of the pups we’ve placed over the years have become cherished friends for their humans, and one of the greatest joys we have is hearing from this extended family, getting photos of our pups as they make their way through life.

So, enough of this. Just taking a break from puppy duty, and from Harry Callahan, but it’s time to get back to it.

Later…and thanks for dropping by.

3 thoughts on “Goin’ to the dogs, pt 1

  1. Good looking pups. Our Goldens have always been great companions. Our 13 year old Golden has gotten two kids through the worst of the teen age years. Every time I look at her now I hear a line from one of your stories about a dog on how arthritis hadn’t yet settled and her eyes were still being warm and clear. Her eyes are a bit cloudy now, and she has arthritis in one of her front shoulders, but she is still going strong. Her dad lived to be over 14 & 1/2 years old, so we hope to have her for a while longer.


  2. Beautiful dogs. We’ve had 3 in 38 years. You remind me of my uncle Arlo. At one time he was one of the best fitter’s and shower’s of purebred cattle in this country. His secret was what he fed them. He had what was in effect a 10 gallon crock pot that he cooked barley in and then mixed it with a standard cattle ration and topped it with a touch of molasses. Every morning, 365 days a year. Expensive and labor intensive but damn well got them ready for the show ring.


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