Rack’s Dad’s a Soft Touch

Just before you left you said it.

“Dad’s a Soft Touch”.

“No, I’m not!”

You sure are.

I guess I’m starting to break the dog.  Well, not break but “break“.

I was waiting for the house to empty.  I wanted to put on the headphones.  Music had stopped on the iPod, there was a queue to start up rolling.  I was going to listen to “Something Different”, although someone who listens to music regularly in four languages, in eras stretching back over the last 100 years, and on every one of the populated continents, it’s difficult to tell what “Different” really is.

I settled on one of my old favorites.  I had a cache of music I was listening to from a West African group called Loketo in Mostly French as well as a smattering of local languages.  Guitar, but not like what most Americans have heard unless you took a liking to World Music back in the 90s.  Absolutely pure tones in rapid fire contra-puntal form.  Think Bach four or five times removed done by a group of people out to have a lot of fun dancing in the Congolese sun.

I grabbed my noise limiting headphones, a pair of “courtesy headphones” from a computer mounted inside of some “Hearing Protectors” from a gun range, and walked outside with the trash and recycling.  They look like I’m up to no good so wearing them outside will give me “Looks”.

While Diblo Dibala was doing his African Speed Guitar act and the background group was singing “Dancez! Dancez! Dancez-la!” I bounded out of the house and bounced down the driveway and back in.

It was time for the last course.  Rack was sitting at the entry of the kitchen staring at the counter when I returned.  I had left a hard boiled egg, peeled, in a bowl there.  Adding to it a bit of Mayo, I made up a light egg salad and realized I forgot the curry and onion as I bit down.

Rack continued to stare.

This is a big change from the dog that I had to feed by hand, one piece of kibble at a time.  We tried the Feed-and-remove bit and decided that was unnecessarily cruel.  I pieced together what was wrong and got the Vet to confirm that he’s missing a tooth which means hard food is painful.  His food now gets soaked soft.

He’s even begging for some of the stuff now.

Which I guess I started.

Laughing at him as I wolfed down my breakfast sandwich, I looked at the bowl.  It was coated with sunshine yellow egg.

Shrugging, I walked him out to the living room.  Velcro Dog was glued to my right calf muscle.

He sat down in the middle of the room, I was being stared through with brown laser beams as the background group singing in my ears was chanting in French “Ou Yea, Ou Yah!”.

Oh here, you earned it, it might put some weight on you!

“Dancez!  Dancez-La!”  “Bolingo! Bailondo!”

Rack proceeded to lick the shine off the bowl.  Yes, I was in proud possession of a CBD Bowl by the time he was done.

After all, who needs to pre-wash the dishes before the dishwasher?  CBD – Cleaned By Dog!

I’ll get that dish now that you’re done.

China Free, Grain Free Pet Food Vendor List

Disclaimer:  I am not a Vet.  I am not a trained expert in Veterinary Food Sciences.  All of this posting, and anything else on this blog is clearly My Own Opinion.  You must decide for yourself whether I am full of crap, or completely correct, or somewhere in the middle.  I am presenting this information simply because the next time my dog gets bored with his food, I want to refer to a list somewhere instead of having to do this research again.   It took me all weekend to find this short list, and I just would prefer not to go back and start over.

When I lost my dog Lettie due to Chronic Renal Failure after a lifetime of feeding her Purina Products, I vowed never again would I knowingly feed my pets anything from that vendor.

Cause and effect?  Perhaps.  I don’t know.  But it is my opinion that since there was a spate of recalls due to Purina foods being tainted with Chinese ingredients and that as a result many dogs died of Chronic Renal Failure, that I will avoid anything of Chinese Origin when it comes to food.

The recalls have long since ended.  I am still not feeding my dog, Rack, anything with any Chinese Origin ingredients. 

Many people have the same attitude, and thankfully many pet food vendors have taken up the standard and proudly proclaim that their food is of the highest quality.  That is great, but not really enough. 

My own personal standard is that since Rack can not digest grain well, the food must also be grain free.  The company must clearly advertise that the food is “locally sourced”, or preferably “No Ingredients of Chinese Origin”.  For “Locally Sourced” I am accepting any ingredients that are Canadian, US, New Zealand, or Australia.  The laws in Canada are better than in the US for purity of pet food ingredients, so as a rule of thumb, if I am hard pressed to find a food, Canada is best.

If there is no clear announcement, I will simply pass on the company whether the company says their food is human grade, or whether it’s of the “highest quality ingredients” because those words really do not mean anything.  The laws as I understand them say that if a food is human grade going into a pet food plant, they no longer are human grade when they get into the food.  It’s nice to hear but doesn’t mean anything really.

I’m not completely comfortable with US ingredients either since our laws here have been weakened and things do “get in” where they don’t belong.  Personally I won’t eat GMO if I can avoid it, and High Fructose Corn Syrup simply has no purpose in food, in my opinion. 

So why feed it to your dog who has no choice in the matter?

As to recalls, I will forgive any company who has had a recall that is older than 5 years and a reputation that is good.

How did I develop this list?

First I went to http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com and looked at their Dog Food Reviews lists.  I am concentrating on Dry Dog Foods only. 

The list that drove my research was their 5 Star Dry Dog Foods List.  I went top to bottom on that list.

While the list itself may have issues, I tend to agree with Dog Food Advisor’s reasons for choosing one food above another and their ratings – Yes, this is my opinion, I am not a vet.

Furthermore, I read through the forums on each individual page.  Forums are tricky, there’s a lot of people with axes to grind, and some will say I am one of them.  There are a lot of people who simply post “I love this” and think it’s done.  Finally there are companies who will “greenwash” the review by posting their own comments.  I looked through the discussions on each food and made a mental note of them before I followed through.

Some companies who are grain free and China free will be excluded from this list because the company’s reputation is not exactly stellar in the forum.  Any mention of bad quality assurance practices, mold in the food, off smells, recent recalls within the last very few years, or anything that simply does not “feel right” means I will leave them off the list.

This is not complete.  This is My Opinion.  Your Mileage May Vary.  This is strictly a personal list that I will follow in the future.  After all, a blog functions well as an individual’s “scratch pad” to keep notes and that is what I am doing here.   I hope that this may help someone but if it does not, so be it.  Of course if I later find information to change this short list, I’ll put out a new list.

But for now in alphabetical order, the list:

Acana – http://www.acana.com/
Brother’s Complete – http://www.brotherscomplete.com/
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed – http://www.bestbreed.com/
First Mate – http://www.firstmate.com/
Fromm – http://frommfamily.com/
Holistic Blend – http://holisticblend.com/en/
Orijen – http://www.orijen.ca
Performatrin – http://performatrin.com/
Solid Gold Pet Food- http://www.solidgoldpet.com/
Wild Calling Pet Food- http://wildcalling.com/
Wysong – http://www.wysong.net/
Young Again Pet Food – https://www.youngagainpetfood.com/

How Can One Marshmallow Create So Much Havoc For A Dog?

One of those moments of weakness.

I had dinner.  I had dessert.  I had a glass of artificial crap sitting next to me waiting to be drunk.

No, nothing all that bad.  Just artificial diet pineapple soda.  Artificial flavor, artificial color, smelled of pineapple and something else that was unrecognizeable.

Really shouldn’t drink that stuff.  Really.  Not good for you.

All this was going through my mind as I padded into the kitchen with the empty glass.  If I didn’t there would be artificially colored, artificially flavored sludge in the bottom of the glass that would be disgusting by morning.

Did I mention it kind of looked like something the dog would leave on the fire hydrant?  Yeah, that.

So I reached into the freezer for an ice cube and was going to add a little water to the glass.   May as well have another drink.  It had been a hot day for me.

Looking down into the ice machine, since everything is “down” when you are as tall as I am, I spotted the bag in the bottom shelf of the freezer.

Training tip to all those athletes in your life – keep the real junk food in the bottom shelf of the freezer or refrigerator.  Out of sight, out of mind!

It is a half eaten bag of marshmallows.  They’re in the freezer because it is humid in Florida even when the air conditioning is working well.  Keeps them nice and fresh and they don’t stick together.  Plus an ice cold marshmallow is an interesting thing.   Try it, if you don’t like it, move the bag back onto the damn counter, okay?

Sheesh!

I walked out into the living room with the bag forgetting the glass on the counter for the moment.  I hear “Hey!  Marshmallows!  Can I have One?”

Yes, the One was Stressed.  Just One.

I tossed one at Kevin.  Being generous I beaned him on the nose with a second one.  It hit the floor.   Rack had been watching.  He comes over, sniffs the dropped sweet, grabs it and walks it over to his mat in the corner of the room.  I place two more on the bar mat on the little table.  Handing Kevin a second one, unwanted a second time, he thanked me saying “I know I said one, but these are still Good.”.

Yes, Good was Stressed.  Simple pleasures.

By the time I stowed the treats in the bottom of the freezer where treats belong and got back to the chair, the fun was beginning.

Rack had been mouthing the cold treat and dropping it.  I reached down to grab the marshmallow thinking he wasn’t really all that interested, but I was wrong.  He did the submissive dog thing.  Kept it in his mouth and adjusted himself so that now he was facing the wall.  Mouth, drop.  Mouth, drop, chew.  It was finally time for him to eat that little white puff.

No, Marshmallows are not good for dogs, but they are only bad for them in the way that sweets should be strictly managed.  He did go after his rawhide to brush the treat off his molars when he finished.

” I wonder if he was going to act like a kid high on sugar” was the second thought I had when I sat down. 

You know those kids in a mall you want to duct tape to their parents in hope that both of them will figure out that no, it really isn’t acceptable to let your kids run wild in a public place, and yes, they are your problem to solve?

Rack wasn’t one … yet.   He settled down for a while before I noticed that he was starting.  Being a Herding Breed what they do is to make sure order is maintained.   Being a Herding Breed high on Sugar means the OCD kicks in on overdrive.

First I noticed that he went over to the other side of the room.   Grabbing his hedgehog toy, his current favorite, he came back to the mat next to me and was playing with it.  Since we’re trying to make sure that he’s getting every chance to have confidence building exercises, I would take the coveted toy away and allow him to take it back.  Normally all of this is a gentle and almost half hearted manner.  Today, he pulled it out of my hands.  Assertively.

Interesting, sugar makes my passive dog assertive.

We went back and forth for a while until one of us tired of this.  Then he did the Herding Dog Pick And Place Robot Routine.

They aren’t called “Hoarder Collies” for nothing!  I know, he’s a McNab and not a Border Collie, but the personality has similarities.

The next half hour was Rack grabbing toys and bringing them from one mat to the other like an industrial Pick and Place Robot.  Back and forth.  First the Hedgehog got the treatment.  It went back to the first mat, then to the corner twice.  Rack is prancing around the living room acting very excited the entire time.  He climbed up onto me, melting into my lap, back feet on the floor.  Repeated the same thing with Kevin.  Then grabbing the hedgehog, he dropped it in my lap, and melted back onto me. 

I tossed the hedgehog over to the other mat while booping him in the nose once or twice.

Rack pranced over to the hedgehog in three hops.  It’s a small room, I’m surprised he could fit those hops in.

Placing the coveted hedgehog on the mat in the corner next to me, it was the rope’s turn.

Hop! Hop! Hop!  He covered the distance easily.  Circling the room with the rope, he knocked into Kevin’s knee, climbed into his lap, wouldn’t let the rope go when Kevin grasped it, then walked back into the corner with it and set it next to the hedgehog.

Laying down for all of 15 seconds, he managed to place both toys on the opposite side of the mat, then neatly back where they belonged, directly below where my hand usually goes when I reach down to pet him.

Springing up and HopHopHop across the room to grab the red rubber Kong bone.  Sniffing it to see if anything was in it, it ended up next to the rope in a line, just out of reach.

Hop Hop Hop, next came the nylabone followed by a tennis ball, followed by some other random toy that was in his toy stash.  At this point some were under the rocker recliner I was sitting in stopping it from going all the way back.  Toys were all now gathered, hoarded, and piled in the corner.  He sat down.

Mind you, most nights when we’re watching some mindless TV programming, Rack just lays there, napping.  He will wait until five minutes before we are ready to go for the dog walk and then start to gently herd us to walk him.

Not tonight.  Tonight, toys were being flipped in the air, paraded around the room, dropped on feet, and laps.  He would melt into every lap available, pick the discarded toy up, march it into the Florida Room, the open bedroom, bathroom or what ever room was available.

Yes, I had inadvertently given my dog sugar.  It was acting like a stimulant, true to form, he was hyper. 

More like a black and white furry ball bouncing off of walls. 

When all the sudden, it stopped.  Utterly.

It was as if the clouds lifted and the din of a passing freight train had moved off away not to be heard from.

Rack collapsed.  Not with a sigh, but a roll onto his back.

He was directly under my hand.  Picking at my hand with one foot, I can’t remember which, he guided my hand onto his belly.

Bellies needed to be rubbed, this was one tired out dog.

So the moral of the story is, while it is entertaining, your dog is best left without marshmallows.  They’re probably not the best for you either.  But you will find all the toys dropped into one neat little pile as the energy gets burned off.

Lawsuit Against Beneful and Purina on Dog Deaths Is Why I Don’t Trust Purina and Nestle Products

Anyone who follows this blog read about my trials with Lettie, my departed dog.  She contracted Chronic Renal Failure and died about two years back.  All that we went through is documented with that tag if you care to search for it from www.ramblingmoose.com .

She always, and I do mean always, ate Purina products until she got sick.  Then it was too late.  I went through about two years of syringe feeding her until it got to be too much for her and we had to put her to sleep.

After she was gone, we started hearing about Purina and their practice of sourcing ingredients from China in order to prepare their so-called foods.  An overview of the 2007 recalls of petfoods is on Wikipedia, but frankly, a recall of petfoods like the Beneful that I fed Lettie won’t bring the pet back.  Once the kidneys are damaged beyond a certain point, function will not be restored.

About the same time, the story leaked out about how the parent company, Nestle believes that all water should be corporately owned.  They’re also the same company that aggressively targets women in Africa to get them to buy their own baby formulas.

Kind of sleazy in my opinion.  You judge for yourselves.

After going through all of that, I simply decided for myself.  No Purina for my dog, No Nestle for me.

Simply put it’s safer.   A company that is producing something that is fed to a dog is making a decision for a creature who can not decide for themselves.  You can and should decide for them.

When we got Rack, my McNab dog two years back, we vowed never to feed him anything that we could not trust.  That evolved into no US Made dog foods at this point because of the stories of tainted treats and foods that we kept hearing. 

The Federal and State food inspection regimens have been diluted by defunding of the protective agencies.  All inspection that is done by a percentage sampling basis.  That percentage as a result gets lower because of fewer inspectors.  Logically, it would mean that there is a greater chance that tainted food gets through the sampling procedure as a result.

The brand we were recommended to try, Orijen, is made in Canada.  Apparently the laws there are much more strict than the laws we have here.  It’s produced with “Human Grade” food, I once read.

Unfortunately, they’re so well liked, that Orijen is going to open a plant here in the US, in Kentucky, to meet demand.

So lets see, I’ve been paying a premium for dog food produced in Canada that will now be made in one of the most poorly enforced states for food production, In My Opinion, in the United States.

When Orijen begins producing the food in the US I will cease purchasing their products.   I don’t know where I will go, but I have absolutely no confidence in the ability of inspectors in Kentucky at this time.

Again, My Opinion.  Yours may vary.  I may be overly critical, but I also was the person who had to prepare a slurry of food to syringe down my dog’s throat twice a day to keep her alive.

The difference is that the US allows a markedly lower quality of component foods to go into dog foods.  Markedly lower quality meaning sourced from overseas at times.  Yes, you guessed it, China.   China doesn’t effectively police their own foods.  Things get sold simply because you are willing to buy them, and there is no active warranty for anyone to pursue.  Just look at the mess that the online electronics markets have become and how easy it is to find on the larger international websites items that have been shipped here directly from China or shipped through other countries to mask their origin.

While a trinket will most likely break and be discarded like so many glow sticks on the street after the latest holidays, a dog, or other pet, is something that a person builds a relationship with like a family member.

Would you feed a child food that may or may not kill them?  I certainly wouldn’t with my dog and I won’t take a chance with a tainted supply.

So Nestle is off my menu, as is Purina for my dog.  I only wish I knew beforehand since my own Lettie could still be alive today.

Now there is a class-action lawsuit against Purina for these tainted foods.  That won’t bring Lettie back.  It won’t make the Chairman of the Board lose any sleep.  It will be a slap on the wrist, and they’ll just go on draining the water tables since they don’t believe that access to water is a fundamental human right, and continue importing Chinese components that may or may not be tainted with Melamine to go into their pet foods.

No matter what, I won’t be back.

Again, it’s only my opinion.  You decide for yourself.  But I won’t buy Nestle or Purina products.