3/08/2009

My Raw Journey


For as long as I could remember, I had always wanted a dog of my own. Of course living with my dad this was mere fantasy. Not that he didn't like dogs or animals, but he knew, or believed, that he would be the one who would end up caring for the dog while I went and lived my life normally. So after moving out and settling in at my new place, I contemplating living my dream and getting a puppy of my own. After a long and tedious search, I found a great breeder of Siberian Huskies and set out on an adventure that has changed me ever since. Last November, I came home with Juneau, a 7 pound, light red, bi-eyed, male wonder.

Prior to making the trip to get him, I had corresponded with the breeder about all the information a new owner (specifically a Husky owner) would need. We talked about anything and everything. I just wanted to be the best possible owner and bring him to the best possible home. Surely, because he would be spending the next decade-plus with me. So after the subject of food arose, she told me what she had been feeing the pups, along with the brand she feeds all of her dogs and I went with it. I can't recall what the food was exactly called, but all I know is that he just didn't like it. And as any new owner would say, they just want everything to work out. So Juneau would eat his food here and there, but never took serious interest in it. To really get him to eat it, I would have to scramble a raw egg and coat the food with it. So after about two weeks, he just wasn't "into" his food. He'd walk up to it, sniff it, look at me, and turn away. So we ventured to the pet store, a "green, organic" pet store and purchased some sample bags of Taste of the Wild, a grain free dog food.

When we got back home, I opened one of the bags and emptied it into his bowl, and watched him devour it. I figured we had a winner here. But that wasn't to last. For about two months, Juneau was eating Taste of the Wild with absolutely no problem, I'd even top his food off with Grizzly Salmon Oil. He had the life. Sleep, eat, play, eat, sleep. Repeat. In January it all started. He developed serious diarrhea. Not just the runs, but a tail-lifting faucet-type diarrhea. I figured maybe he ate something off the ground and upset his stomach. I let a day go by to see if it would get better, but to no avail, he was still having the worst diarrhea ever.

Now I'm thinking that he may have been sick so I took him to the vet and they ran their "tests" and recommended feeding him a "bland" dog food. They pushed their Iam's dog food on me. Being an amateur, I obliged and went with their recommendation. It helped for maybe a day or so, but then it acted up again. Took him back to the vet, prescribed some stomach medication, but that didn't do the trick either. So finally, I figured it was the food and switch him to Timber Wolf. Didn't help. Then we went on chicken and rice, which did help. So I thought to myself, it must be the food not agreeing with him. Yet again I found myself going back to the pet store and buying a different dog food. This time it was Canidae. So after weening him back onto the dog food from the chicken and rice, he once again had diarrhea. That was the last straw!

This brings us to the exciting portion of the story. Prior to picking up my pup, I had read a few books on the breed and I noticed that some advocated feeding raw food. I asked the breeder but she didn't know much about it, so I kind of put that on the back burner. He wasn't a science experiment and I didn't want to treat him as such. But after going through all the dog foods, vet bills, and diarrhea, I figured trying wouldn't hurt. I bought an 5 pound chicken, hacked it up into quarters, and placed it on the floor. After watching him lick the meat for a few seconds, I hear "cruuuuunch". I watched in awe as my little guy was eating his first chicken quarter. With amazement he looked up at me after he was done, paws bloodied and looking like he was an actual wild-wolf, he wanted more. The next day, he ate with such passion and joy. Ripping and tearing the flesh of the chicken, crunching through the bones. After two days of feeding raw, his poop was normal. No diarrhea. He was cured!

The vet did a follow up with me and I took him in and told her I cured him. She asked how, I said I feed him raw food. Her jaw dropped. She told me about the diseases, the salmonella, the e-coli, how it would make him sick.. All the usual jibberish that you would expect. She tried to get me to switch to a puppy kibble diet. I told her that was out of the question. Just a little side note - during his 20 days of diarrhea, he did not gain a single pound, in fact he lost almost one pound and for this person who were are supposed to trust with out dogs, to try to frighten me by using scare tactics, after getting him back to gaining weight, was just totally out of the question. I haven't been back to the vet since. Except to weigh him!

Juneau's coat is marvelous. He has pearly-white teeth. Never having to brush his teeth at all. His breath is amazing. All traits that you don't find with kibble fed dogs. Not to be elitist or anything, but their is such a difference between a raw fed and kibble fed dogs. He has a waist line, he is never bloated. All things that you find with kibble eaters. And I'm not one to push my views on anyone and tell them how to feed their dogs, but when people tell me how good my dog looks and when we get into conversations about dog food, I let them know. I also don't have to worry about him chewing on anything, although, if he gets bored and doesn't get his exercise, he can get quite mischevious. But the most important thing to me was that this solved his diarrhea. I didn't have to be a worrisome dad any longer.

So fast-forward to today. Juneau has been a raw-fed Siberian Husky for over one year now, eating everything from lamb, goat, rabbit, chicken, beef. You name the animal, he'll eat it. Fish is really hit or miss with him. But he does love salmon and tuna.. But without websites like yours, the kind people on the yahoo group rawfeeding, the other numerous information websites about feeding raw and the dispelling of all the "myths" and disinformation that is put out on the web (and by those who are to treat our animals) so that the dog food companies can make a quick buck, I don't know where we'd be right now.

I've attached a picture of Juneau - one is a candid close up and the other is him enjoying a whole rabbit. He is currently 17 months old, 50 pounds, healthy and thriving on a raw food diet. I can't say enough about the wonders it has done. I mean they are carnivores!

Keep Up the Good Work -

Juneau and Chris

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