For a couple of weeks every year, we send Lupo on his holidays. Most of the time it’s because we are abroad, but there is also a time when our dog walker goes on holiday. So with no family in the same city and not really wanting to trust neighbours with walking our first baby, Lupo is packed off to my in-laws home. He loves it, as they no longer work he has someone at his disposal 24/7 to follow around and get fussed over.
We are lucky they love him as much as we do, as I do recognise he is hard work and not everyone’s cup of tea with his fondness for human company. As we dropped him off, Lupo timed a long drink of water, followed by a sharp shake of his head, chops slapping and drool flying…straight into my father in law’s cup of tea. Graceful and elegant, this dog is not.
Usually every morning I come downstairs and receive, what is affectionately known as, being Dober-Poked. When his big wet nose is planted on my jeans, with some force. He also curls his top lip up and smiles at us. So it’s a strange time and as I sit here on the sofa without Lupo leaning on me and trying to nick my blanket. I am led to imagine what life would be like without him around.
I remember losing family dogs and the first thing I could think of was regretting any time I had ever shouted at the dog to get out the way/stop eating what they shouldn’t or not doing what I ask (obviously due to lack of training on my part, never the dog). This is what runs through my mind every time Lupo tests my patience. That if something were to happen to him, I’d regret every minute I didn’t spend appreciating him as just a great dog.
When I first had to leave Lupo and go to work, after us taking a month off work between us as puppy paternity leave, I felt incredibly guilty leaving him. Perhaps I shouldn’t have a dog if I can’t be there all day? Perhaps he’ll hate us for leaving him? Perhaps he’ll love the dog walker more than me?! Owning a dog can make you feel terribly guilty for a lot of decisions you have to make. But it’s never too late to change things.
I’ve been thinking about Lupo’s food for while. I feel guilty we feed him tinned meat and dry food that contains a small amount of real meat and all manner of animal parts that aren’t fit for human consumption – so why am I feeding this to my dog? Sure it’s very easy for us to buy, store and give to him readily, but is it really best for him? There are all manner of ‘premium’ dry dog foods, but we’ve tried them and he, understandably, gets bored very easily with them. After a lot of reading recently, I’ve come to agree with the evidence that suggests dogs aren’t built for this over processed food we give them.
So this is going to be the first post in our journey of switching to raw feeding. I’ve no idea how it will pan out, but while he’s not here I can start making plans, reading more and preparing to start feeding him a mixture of bone, meat and organs. The food a carnivore is supposed to eat. There are multiple benefits to raw feeding, which I will share in more detail as I go, but I hope to see in Lupo an improvement in muscle tone and his body shape, a reduction of the dry skin he gets on his back and the smaller and less frequent end product of feeding him raw food. Oh yes, we’ll be talking poo, people.
I hope you’ll join us on our journey and at the very least I hope it makes you consider making a change with your dog, whatever that may be. Stroke them instead of shouting, walk them instead of watching Eastenders or feed them a juicy bone because you love them. Remember, you may regret it if you don’t.