Sean the Sheepdog's Story
My wife, Shannon, and I are often complimented on our dog when out walking, which has included:
- “What a beautiful dog.”
- “Dang! He’s hella happy!”
- “Now there’s a dog’s dog.”
He’s come a long way from the 4 lb fluff-ball of a puppy I adopted from a litter of working dogs in Stockton, CA. At 10 weeks he appeared normal and spunky, and was a typical ravenous eater. But within only a week or so he gradually became a listless eater, and was visibly losing what little weight he had.
A trip to the vet confirmed he had Parvo, and he spent the next few days in a small cage with an IV taped to a paw.
In the meantime, I researched dog food. While his appetite for kibble had waned, one day he lunged at a piece of ham that had fallen out of a sandwich and gobbled it up, and that made me think of "raw dog food." I don't know where I'd heard of it before, but my online search yielded lots of information, though unfortunately, there was also a good deal of contradiction.
But one idea I saw often was that it was a good idea to start dogs on raw food early, so I went about gathering the ingredients.
When Sean was free to come home, I started him on simple chicken and beef--cheap cuts they called them. I didn't know at that point to include vegetables and fruits for nutrients. But as kids survive even when they won't eat their vegetables, Sean grew and bulked-up on a diet of meats and bones in those early days, until I began to fortify his diet into the balanced meals they are today.
In these seven years, he has only been to the vet again for summer dry skin, which is a common ailment with his breed, Australian Cattle Dog. He had two years of severe scratching and cortisone shots, but after some experimentation, I learned to include cod liver oil to his diet, which has mostly remedied the problem.
He's not only healthy from his diet, he displays all the other benefits of raw feeding: he has boundless energy, fresh breath, a lustrous coat, and when he's getting due for a bath, he doesn't reek of dirty dog, he smells like taco chips!