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Musings of a Grieving Raw Feeder

Musings of a Grieving Raw Feeder

It’s been several weeks now since my dog Missy ended up dying from cancer and my other dog Buzz moved in with his Daddy in Texas, and I feel like time is just being cruel. It keeps on running, although I really think it ought to stop out of respect for Missy’s death and give me a break so I can properly mourn her loss as well as her brother’s move.

But of course it doesn’t do that because, well, that’s just not how time works.

I wonder if it will really assist me in getting over Missy’s passing. I suppose it will, but it’s hard to imagine right now. After all, it’s said to heal all wounds, right?

When I think about it, it’s certainly helped me get over past relationships that seemed devastating at the time they failed, and look at me now – still alive and going strong. But losing a dear dog is an entirely new and different experience, and seems to cut so much deeper.

So much so that I found the thought of opening my laptop and typing out a dog-related blog post, just shortly after her death, unbearable. I was relieved when Lindsay was more than ok with pushing back the due date of this article.

However, now that I’m actually typing away, I can’t help but admit it feels sort of therapeutic to put my thoughts on this virtual paper instead of leaving them bottled up inside my brain. Maybe time HAS already helped me a little after all.

Amidst all the grieving and the many tears, the following thoughts have been sneaking up on me:

When will I be ready to welcome a new fur ball into my life?

I wish I already had the answer to this burning question. My house feels SO ridiculously empty these days.

When I walked into my vet’s office to pick up Missy’s urn, I was told that there’s a 3-month old (tripod) puppy in the back, looking for a loving new home.

I declined seeing the pup at that moment in time. It was too soon after Missy’s death and would have felt like cheating on my little girl. It’s sort of odd because I’m around my dog-walking client pups all day long and that part doesn’t feel like cheating. At the same time, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to leave without the dog once I had seen him.

I also agreed to a 5-month-long pet sitting gig for one of my deploying clients as of June, and will be watching her 2 small pups here at my home. That job might just be the right project to bridge the gap between Missy’s death and the arrival of a new fur ball in my personal life.

It’ll be nice to have doggie companions at home and I’m looking forward to puppy cuddle time, but it’ll be weird to a certain degree because they’re not mine. They’re also not raw fed, meaning I’ll be storing a bag of kibble in my pantry again. That hasn’t happened since 2015 when I switched Missy & Buzz over to raw.

Buzz and Missy

Do I want a specific dog breed?

Missy & Buzz were/are both Boxer mixes, and although the Boxer breed has a special place in my heart, I wonder if I should bring another Boxer pup home. After all, they’re predisposed to certain cancers.

My ideal K9 companion would be:

An active dog that can go for several daily walks and a few weekly hikes, but not an overly active herding breed such as Border Collies, Aussies or German Shepherds. That would be too much for me. I’ll also admit that I’m sort of a neat freak, so I think I’d want to stick with short haired breeds. (Watch me walk into a shelter and fall in love with a long-haired cutie, HA).

A dog who can protect me to a certain degree. The image of a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Great Dane or Mastiff has come to mind. Of course they’re all big guys with a giant daily food intake, and we all know the bigger the pup, the shorter their life spans…

Then there’s the Bulldog option – they weigh around 40-50 lbs and need 8-12 ounces of raw food per day. They’d definitely be up for the protective part but might not be the perfect hiking companion given the breed’s reputation for couch lounging fondness and their shortened nasal passages.

Me walking my pup Missy and Ada the bulldog

Me walking my pup Missy and Ada the bulldog

There are, of course, variations in temperament and stamina within the Bulldog breed (as is the case with any breed, I suppose)! I’m reminded of a friend who lived in the same apartment complex in Northern Virginia and had 2 Bulldogs who couldn’t have been more different from one another.

Atticus was the laziest couch potato I have ever met, and I’ve taken care of hundreds of dogs throughout my dog walking career. It was a challenge getting him to go potty, let alone for a walk around the neighborhood!

Ada however loved running around, playing, and going for walks!! I would take her along on walks with Missy & Buzz every now & then, and she never had any trouble keeping up.

My sister walking Buzz, Missy and Ada

My sister walking Buzz, Missy and Ada

Both Ada & Atticus were on a raw diet by the way! They were getting pre-made patties from an independently owned little pet retail store.

I don’t remember the brand, but I clearly remember feeding them the patties. This was before my own raw feeding days and my very first experience with raw dog food. Both pups loved it and demolished it within seconds.

Are there advantages/challenges to feeding different breeds a raw diet?

Regardless of my future new dog’s breed, he or she will most definitely be fed a raw diet. That’s beyond the shadow of a doubt because the benefits of a raw diet are just amazingly far-ranging.

Technically all dogs can be fed a raw diet, but some (breed specific) health issues can make raw feeding a little tricky and would require the guidance of a holistic veterinarian.

Dalmatians for example are sensitive to foods high in purines, which means organs are a big “no no” for them. They can still be fed raw, but it has to be customized to their specific needs – a challenge I would be up for by the way.

Bulldogs would probably not do well with larger raw meaty bones such as chicken leg quarters and duck frames because of their teeth alignment (jaw presses forward), but I can see them being ok with chicken or duck feet. Worst case, they could be fed an entirely ground raw diet, to include ground raw meaty bones, just like Ada & Atticus.

I’ve learned how to keep a raw food diet affordable for my 50 & 70 lb pups Missy & Buzz, but imagine how inexpensive it would be to feed a small dog a raw diet.

A 10 lb dog would only need 2-3 ounces of raw food per day, and even a 20 lb pup would eat less than half of what Missy ate on a daily basis. I could easily get away with just $30-50 of raw food allowance per month if I decided to bring a small(er) pup home. I will admit that the sound of that is intriguing!

I do, however, honestly wonder whether or not I could be without a medium to large size dog. I’ve always considered myself more of a large dog enthusiast. I’ll need to ponder that question, and the small pups I’ll be watching soon might just be able to help me find an answer to it.

Phew. Thank you all for letting me ramble.

I’ve always been a fairly organized person and like to plan ahead, but at the same time I don’t want to overdo it. Like I said earlier, what if I walk into a shelter or rescue organization and get attached to a lovable mutt with longer fur?! I’ll keep you posted on my new journey.

Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt. She is a blogger, raw feeder and dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee

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Published at Wed, 06 Jun 2018 14:45:16 +0000

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