Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 323- In Breeding


Big Pupi is feeling rather pensive:

I enjoy reading the news online - getting my updates and keeping step with the world's current events. Yesterday morning I found myself in my usual routine, skimming and scanning various sites, until I came upon an article on the BBC about dog shows and dog breeding. Well, seeing that this was news I could sink my teeth into, I read on. And on. And on. Man, this was interesting stuff.

What the news told me (translated through interpretive dance by my humans), was that the BBC refused to air the Crufts dog show, thus suspending their 46-year relationship with the organization. These actions were in response to a documentary which aired on BBC in August which dove into the breeding and health practices of dog show canines, and the refusal of Crufts to ban a presently undisclosed list of 12 breeds which the BBC deemed to have felt the worst effects of show breed standards. This documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, showed the ill-effects of improper breeding practices and how these decisions have detrimental effects on the blood lines. Many dog shows reward breeders for these practices, given that their dogs adhere to the strict guidelines of the breed standards. Unfortunately, these breed standards have moved farther and farther away from the qualities that make an animal healthy and useful, as even the working breed dogs find themselves in a weakened, yet "show quality" state.

In an excerpt from Pedigree Dogs Exposed, we meet a Cavalier King Charles spaniel - a show dog that has seen much success in the ring. This particular dog suffers from syringomyelia, a condition which leaves the skull too small for the dog's brain. Despite this devastating condition, this cavalier has been awarded for its ability to meet the stringent breed standards. But how can that be? The BBC and many concerned humans have raised more and more issues about how these breed standards no longer reflect what is best for the dogs.

The documentary also features a boxer with epilepsy, pugs with breathing problems due to their much-desired scrunched faces, and bulldogs that can no longer breed or give birth on their own. No... these are not dogs found in a kennel, in a shelter or as strays on the road. These are show dogs, all them successful, and many of which have been bred for their show characteristics.

My family is no stranger to dogs with poor health and poor breeding. Stanislaw and I suffer from so many food allergies that my people have lost count of the items banned from our food bowls. I suffer from Sebaceous Hyperplasia, and Stanislaw has endured two surgeries to fix his eyes when the gland on the third eyelid prolapsed, a condition more commonly known as cherry eye. Our departed baby brother Wile E. was plagued by puppy staph, an upper respiratory infection and cherry eye all before he made it 14 weeks. It was during this 15th week that he underwent surgery to repair the cherry eye and his little body just couldn't handle the anesthesia.

Too often dogs are bred to be pretty - to have coats that flow long and luscious and glisten in the sun. To have eyes that are perfectly round or faces that are adorably wrinkled. Legs that are long with delicate gaits or legs that short with a muscular strut. Too often these traits are bred into dogs without consideration for their overall health and performance - a dog should be able to do what they were originally bred to do, but these show qualities have gone by the way of deformities in many breeds. As this video discusses, police will not take a German Shepherd that meets show qualifications because their hind quarters are too weak to work. I, Big Pupi, believe that when there is such a dichotomy between a show dog and a working dog of the same breed, that's a red flag and glowing neon sign telling us that we're losing sight of what really matters.

And what matters is our health. Of course, what has been discussed above does not apply to 100% of the cases 100% of the time. We know that there are dogs that are bred to show AND work, and that these dogs are often found doing what they were made to do in between their show grooming and prances about the ring. We know there are responsible breeders out there that maintain a varied blood line and spend a lifetime to breeding health issues out of their dogs. But we also know that not everyone has their dog's best interest at heart, and it's at dog shows when these types of individuals are rewarded and their animal suddenly becomes the Stud Du Jour.

I applaud the BBC for putting its foot down. As regular non-breeding folk, my people watch dog shows and believe that "this is the way that breed is SUPPOSED to look/act/move." Those dogs are put on a pedestal as the ideal, without ever a thought as to the health issues or shrinking genetic pools that this ideal is creating. Too many "regular non-breeding folk" seek pedigrees that meet these standards and the genetics and breeding practices are pushed even further. It's about time that health was put above appearance, and a good place to start is at a internationally televised dog show.

The noise being made about breed standards has begun to make a difference. The Kennel Club has revised its standards for the Pekingese, which states that a slight muzzle is now to be desired. And just watch... suddenly these quirky little flat-faced dogs will be seen with a bit of a schnozzle, and all because of the influence the Kennel Club standards carry. Many breeders follow these standards like they are the undisputed Law. While the BBC can create awareness, the Kennel Club can create the change.

And so can you. Change begins with knowledge, and a little bit of education can go a long way. Take what you see at dog shows with a grain of salt, and be aware of a breed's strengths and weaknesses. It goes without saying that if you breed your animals do it for health. (This of course requires extensive veterinary checks, like hip x-rays and eye exams.) Be a responsible owner, and most importantly love your dog for everything that (s)he is. After all... your dog loves you for all of your perfections and imperfections.

Signing off,

Big Pupi

Monday, December 15, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 322- Chilly Dog

Heya folks. It's Stanislaw livin' large, feastin' big and being just a little bit chilly.

Every year my apartment territory does work on the building's heater and it cuts off the warm air for hours and hours. Of course, they always seem to do this on the coldest of days... like today, with wind chills of negative 13 degrees. My home has gotten so chilly that I've been forced into this embarrassing gear:
Don't let my tail wagging fool you. I am not the happiest canine to be wearing clothes, even if it does keep me warm. At least Big Pupi is stuck looking like a dork as well.His furriness makes him look all macho and muscly in his clothes! Not fair. At least I know it's all fluff and there's very little beast under that toasty hoodie.It's gotten so chilly in here that my dad has to study like this:At least the chill in the air keeps my folks awake and helps my dad to learn about Contracts. (They don't sound tasty at all!) His last exam is tomorrow night and then he's back in action! I just know that he's counting down the seconds before he can go on fast hunts and spend hours rubbing my belly again. I just hope he can find my belly in this sweatshirt!
Stay toasty.
Your man Stan, keepin' warm.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 319- Oh. My. Dog.

I, Stanislaw, tasted squirrel yesterday. First. Time. Ever.

Mom, Big Pupi and I ran to the bark park for an afternoon romp. It was during our exit that I got a whiff of something delicious. I veered to the left, dipped my head beneath the snow, and came up with the most mangled, broken, bloody, frozen squirrel carcass you've ever seen.


I scooted about with my head held sky high, lifted my legs and pranced like I was King of the World. Just call me Sir Stanislaw, the greatest squirrel hunter alive!! This guy practically jumped into my mouth! HA! Stupid delicious squirrel!!

I offered him a warm home (in my belly) but I was brutally forced to drop my raw feasting fare and leave it there in the snow for another dog to find. My pallet is precise and refined and it told me that squirrel meat is the most delicious kind of meat there is. Even when it's frozen so solid that my taste buds go numb. But I know it was delicious. I mean look at the little tree lobsters. THEY ARE SO DELICIOUS.
Squirrel in my bowl, please.
Sir Stanislaw, the King of the World

Big Pupi talks about the food in your bowl:

Hello to all my fellow feasters out there, beastly and mini. I have some important news about premade pet foods. I'm sure all of you have heard about the craziness with the pet food recalls these past few years. I lost my cousin to the stuff! Well, we JUST found out (and in case you didn't know!) that Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul has continued to be linked to pet deaths and illness as of 2/08.

This is most likely due to their 2007 recall on products with a "best before" date range of 8/08 - 4/09. PLEASE check your dog and cat foods for these dates if you feed this product. There's a chance that it hasn't all been taken off the shelves yet, or that folks purchased the food before it had officially been recalled and were never made aware.

We strongly recommend that humans avoid any foods manufactured by Diamond Pet Products. Diamond has food under its own name, as well as the Chicken Soup brands, Nutra Gold, Nutra Nuggets, Premium Edge, Professional Pet Food, Canidae (dry foods only), Artemis (Fresh Mix Line, Osopure Line, and AgaRx Line), Kirkland Signature Brand (dry food only), and Solid Gold Health Food (dry food only). They have had NUMEROUS recalls on their brands and in our minds one recall is one too many. There are lots of amazing brands of canned and kibble foods out there. Making a switch is as easy as a trip to the store or an online order.

This site is supposedly updated quite regularly and can help you sniff out the not-so-great non-feastables out there. We really recommend keeping up with the FDA Pet Food Recall website for the most accurate information. For the most up to date info try a plain old Google search of your food brand. Outraged people with sick pups usually get the word out first, so keep yourself tuned in. (Make sure to tune out the simply outraged folks that just like to holler about things online! They're out there blogging too.) Check The Pet Food List site to see which brands are linked to which companies and manufacturing plants. That way, when you hear about a recall with Menu Foods you'll know if the food in your bowl comes from their facilities. It's a small world of dog food makers, and you'll be surprised at what you can dig up. (No... we're not talking about digging up SQUIRRELS, Stanislaw. Dorkus.)

I know this is something that I've repeated hundreds of times, but the Whole Dog Journal's annual list of the best foods is the numero uno authority in healthy deliciousness. There are many outdated WDJ lists online, but it changes every year and often those edits reflect important events in the industry and are worth taking note of. While I cannot post the current WDJ list here, it is available on the official the website for $10. Ten pieces of cheese money is worth a healthy canine!

Get your 2008 Whole Dog Journal Lists here:
Dry Dog Food Review
WDJ's Approved Grain-Free Dry Dog Foods

Happy & healthy feasting to you,
Big Pupi

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 318- Frightening Fuitables

Mangos are one heck of a scary fruit. Evil, I tell you. Pure evil.Every morning my dad makes himself a fruity protein shake for breakfast. (He doesn't eat raw meat, can you BELIEVE THAT??!) Now, I can get behind the protein part of that thick beverage but the fruit is just a no-go for yours truly. And that's because it's scary as heck. I stand politely at my father's feet, watching his every move in the morning as he scoops out some protein powder, pours in some water and adds a tasty banana. But when the freezer door opens and that bag of frozen mango chunks comes out I am SO outta there! I make a swizzly-fast b-line for the office and safety of my arm chair and blankies. Mangos are evil!

How are they evil, you ask? They make LOUD noises. I don't like loud noises. They take control over my dad's arm, which is normally used for good - like belly rubs and sock tugs, and they make him --SMASH!!-- the bag of mango bits on the counter. BANG! Dad says they get frozen together and need to be broken apart. I say that the devil lives in that bag and he's trying to take control of my normally peaceful pop. Naughty boys, those mangos. Bad!

Don't invite the wild mango into your home. Don't do it!

Big Pupi is NOT pleased.
WHAT THE $@*& ??????
Mad as poobles,
Big Pupi

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 316- A Holiday Ditty

Pigeons roasting by an open fire
Pee-mail left in all the snow
Stupid songs being sung by stuffed deer
And pups dressed up like Eskimos

Everybody knows~

A turkey neck and some chicken wings
Help to make the season bright
Goats in my 'hood, which I hope Santa brings
I'll find it hard to sleep tonight

I know that Santa's on his way
Bringing feasts and toys and goats upon his sleigh
And ev'ry cocker spaniel is prepared here
There's room in my freezer for some deer

And so I'm offering this simple phrase
For beasts, pups and grannies too
And though I have eaten many meats many ways
Happy Feasting, to you

Monday, December 8, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 315- Keeping Toasty

Big Pupi is warming his little bum:

Heya folks! It's the Pupmeister here trying to keep warm in chilly Chi-town. Despite the negative degree wind chills that have been blowing through, mom has been trying to get Stanislaw and me out for some booty-movin' exercise. The key word there was "trying." It's not easy to get yourself outside for a romp when your schnozzle freezes before you can sniff out a good weeble spot! We got a few inches of snow a few days ago which has since turned into piles of wet, salty, melty-chemical-laden paw-ouchies. No good. StanMan and I have been walked separately because we usually need to be carried home thanks to severe cases of ice-paw and wet bellies. It's a massive pain when it's freezing cold outside but the sidewalk salt turns all the ice to water, which soaks our legs and bellies and then we're just too cold to continue. Our folks are yet to find a good solution to this, so if anyone has any ideas please pass them along! We can't seem to keep ourselves DRY and WARM. Even our coats get soaked through.

Since there's been some major down-time, and since our folks just couldn't keep holiday treats from us any longer, Stanislaw and I got some of our presents a little early. I got a totally sweet new SingingChristmasTreeMouseToy, only it's not a mouse... it's a deer that sings "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." It's totally confusing to me. My mouse sings "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and I like that waaaaaaay better. I've been trying to thrash SingingChristmasTreeReindeerToy to his senses but he just won't change his song. Stubborn dude. Despite his blatant lack of intelligence, I find him rather enjoyable to nibble and roll on top of.
Stanislaw got a rattle and squeak Christmas Octopus with nice long legs that are good for tug games with the humans. Aside for a few abusive swings about, Stan lost interest in his new toy and planned only to resume play once there was a human stuck to the other end of it. He made tantalizing eyes at the camera, hoping to seduce mom into a good thrash-about game.
So that's how we've been keeping occupied at home. We've also been getting our usual breakfast yogurt servings frozen into our treat puzzle toys to keep us quiet in the mornings while mom is working. We suck that yogurt out of those toys in about 30 seconds and we're bouncing off the walls again. Humans just don't get it. I don't want puzzles I need exercise!

When we do get to go outside, we've been bundling up in our toasty fleece-lined coats. Since Stanislaw has outgrown all of his winter clothing from last year, mom had to place another PetEdge order for new winter gear. Here is Stani in the one coat that fits us both and that we have to share.

I HATE sharing with that butthead beast! All he does is toss his belly into snowbanks and he gets our nice fuzzy coat all salty and wet. Ack! He's so not a gentleman. Good thing mom got another one. I hope the new one is mine since it won't have Stan-stink all over it!Image from www.PetEdge.com
We also have some super soft and cozy fleece jackets, but silly mom shrunk them last year and so they don't do such a good job at covering our bellies any more.
So along with the new coat we placed an order for 2 of these big and squishy sweatshirts.Image from www.PetEdge.com
Mom is thinking that she'll cut the hoods off since the sweatshirts have to fit under our coats. Layering is the only way we've been able to keep warm on our walks! People laugh when they see super furry spaniels all bundled up and waddling down the road, but dudes... it's the only way to roll when it's -2 degrees outside.

Thanks to PetEdge, where everything is crazy cheap, Stan and I also got a set of our very own fleece-lined boots to protect our delicate toes from the salt and ice. I'm not so sure I'm going to enjoy these things, but if they keep that salt burn away they might not be so bad. I just hope I don't get my bum kicked at the bark park for wearing these sassy booties!
Image from www.PetEdge.com
We'll let you know how the quest for toastiness goes. Speaking of toastiness...

I walked with mom, my buddy Hunter and his mom to the downtown Chicago Christmas festival yesterday and I saw the awesomest thing... At the Eternal Flame memorial in Daly Plaza, there were a bunch of pigeons warming their bums! One even burned his little tail feathers off and he smelled like BBQ deliciousness. We didn't get to enjoy the festivities and sausage smells long before Hunter and I began to shivvvvvvver and we had to head home. This is when I found the most magical thing parked next to my territory....

A truck hauling GOATS! LIVE GOATS! They were coming from some serious kids' party where they had a petting zoo inside a swanky hotel. Oh my goatness. I want a party like that! I was so pumped at the sight and smell of goat that it left an everlasting impression on my brain and I check where that truck was every single time I step outside to do weebles. I want it back!

'Til next time - keep toasty and keep an eye out for winter goats.
Big Pupi

Monday, December 1, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 308: At Odds and Ends

Hey folks! I've been missing once again. Well, I haven't actually been missing, but my crazy female person (who shall remain nameless, MOM!) has been less than efficient with updating my blog. Turns out that work can get busy before the holidays and more work makes for lazy humans in their down-time. Speaking of work, my dad told me that he's taking a few days off to do something called "study" for his final exams. I'm not sure what this "study" is, but knowing my dad I think it has something to do with feasting on meat and rubbing my belly. Sweetness! And now speaking of feasting...

I heard that the humans spent a day last week playing with other humans and chowing down on turkey necks. WHAT??!! And I was left at camp with my stinkbutt brother. I'm not knocking camp (which is totally awesome) but I'm not pleased to have missed out on some delicious meatiness. To add insult to lack of feasting, all the other dogs at camp got a special meal full of turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans, and Big Pupi and I got NONE OF IT!! The alpha humans at camp said something about "allergies," but I tuned them out. I just wasn't interested in human garble if they don't come bearing some bird in a bowl.

We got back from camp yesterday, and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. Knowing that my big browns are my best feature, I fought them like crazy trying to oozle some skritches from the folks but it just wasn't working. I found a nice warm spot to nap and spent much of the evening sprawled out there. Good thing my nice warm spot was also exhausted from a day of traveling.

Any time I come back from camp, which is the Place of Free-Poobles and Weebles-As-You-Please-els, I have some issues getting my bum to cooperate and work with the house rules. Just this morning, in a span of about 15 minutes, I poobled in the hallway, weebled outside like Good Boy, poobled in the elevator and did a third round of poobles in the hallway again. Man. That bum of mine is made to run free and doesn't like the rules! He's a Naughty Boy. I want my folks to know that I am in no way responsible for the actions of my rear. It's got a mind of its own.

To make up for my absence, I prepared a little video for you that shows how different my dorky brother and I are when we play. Big Pupi is an Angel Boy and he entertains himself for hours by nibbling quietly on a stuffy. Me, on the other paw, I enjoy some good roughhousing and believe that Fun just doesn't happen unless there's someone else there to play with. This particular game of Footy Sock/Toy Tuggin' with dad is unusually tame for me. I like it better when I get pushed around and my folks get rough and wrastle with me. What can I say? I'm a beast and need to play as such.

Time to catch up with all my bloggin' buds.

Feast hard,