Sammy died on the way to the emergency vet, in my arms, in the back seat of the van. Both my husband and I were devastated. It was the first time I had experienced the death of anyone or anything I loved. I only told my oldest that Sammy was gone and didn't tell my younger ones until the day after Christmas. Sammy was 16 years old. *more info on that day: http://mommycass.blogspot.
My husband and I talked of getting another dog off and on for almost a whole year but our hearts just weren't in it - the right dog just hadn't found us yet. Then my husband saw that a local rescue was hosted at our local PetSmart and had dogs there every Saturday so we decided to stop by. Both of us thought that there would be a fairly lengthy screening process with the rescue and that we wouldn't be coming home with a puppy ... we got there and the main attraction was a huge litter of lab/shep/husky puppies, one of the puppies walked over all her litter mates to sniff at and lick my two younger children. The rescue workers suggested we hold her and see what we thought of her and, well, you guessed it. We filled out the paperwork and paid the adoption fee and took home our new puppy. *puppy ad:http://www.petfinder.com/
We settled on the name Susie for our new puppy and my husband picked up a bag of grocery store food and we all settled into to love this little bundle of fur. Everything went well until one week after we got her and my youngest child messed with little Susie's food so she refused to eat. I took her to the vet. The vet gave me a couple cans of wet food to tempt her back to her grocery store food and told me that I should switch her to a better food. I told my husband who did some reading on what makes a good food and after examining all the foods online at PetSmart we switched her to Royal Canin for large puppies. The switch went well and Susie was thriving as puppies do.
I kept reading. I had joined a dog forum and was reading everything I could find on recommended foods and ended up at this site: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.
Finally I discovered raw feeding and prey model feeding - I read and read. My husband and I argued over what I was proposing we feed her now. I despaired because I didn't think I would be able to feed her in a cost effective manner but something about raw feeding just rang true to me. I wanted Susie to live a long long healthy life and I just knew this was the way to achieve that. I asked my husband to give me a year to prove that raw feeding wouldn't kill Susie and that she would thrive on it and be healthy, he agreed(mostly to shut me up I think).
I searched for suppliers - I had already noticed a place I thought was a chicken slaughterhouse so I went and talked to someone there. I called and got prices. I found a local meat packer and called and got some prices from him. I found a butcher and picked up some turkey necks and wings(and paid too much for them). I found a couple local raw feeders and talk with a friend who was also looking closely into raw. I felt alone and scared but I really thought that raw feeding was the correct way to do things.
Finally one fateful morning I handed Susie a raw turkey wing, after a couple tugs on it she got the idea and for the next 45 minutes I watched in awe and wonder while my tiny wolf ate the wing bone, skin and all. The look on her face while she ate was amazing - I had never seen a dog eat anything with such relish, such joy. I've seen dog gulp their food fast, I've seen them snap things up they know they shouldn't have and make it vanish in 2 seconds flat, but joy? No, never, not once.
That was one year ago almost exactly. Susie is now 50 lbs and practically glows with health and my entire family loves her. Her teeth are white and clean, her breath is totally non-offensive and she's just beautiful. I sometimes read anti-raw stuff but mostly stick around the sites where my own convictions are supported and reaffirmed, I know what I am doing is right and I look forward to still having a happy healthy dog when she is 20!
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada