Raw. Raw is in.
My human vegan friends often talk about the benefits of the raw diet. Raw veggies, raw fruits, nuts and seeds. Supposed to make you so healthy you might live to meet your great great grandchildren.
It sounds great, even though I haven’t personally adopted that particular diet. (Because cake. And bread. You have to cook them.) At this point in my life, I am not at all sure that I want to live that long anyway. Who wants to turn into the scary old lady that the kids are forced to visit on holidays that are supposed to be about the candy and presents?
I also have no desire to outlive many more dogs.
If you’ve been around here before, you probably know that we have had to say goodbye to two canine companions in the past year. Not in a hurry to do that again.
But back to the raw diet.
Even if this grandmother isn’t willing to go that route for the humans in the house, I’m willing to try it with the puppy.
This would be our Lennie, named for my Uncle Lennie Merullo, who was the last surviving Chicago Cub to have played in a World Series. Uncle Lennie died the season before the Cubbies finally broke their curse (we believe he was pulling strings in Heaven, but I digress.)
Our Lennie, our sweet, slightly hyperactive, never-met-a-lab-in-my-life Lab rescue has been giving us some trouble around eating.
He hates dog food.
We’ve tried a whole range of dry dog food, from the good stuff to the better stuff to the how-can-anyone-afford-this stuff. Lennie would ignore a bowl of this stuff for up to two days, at which time he would look at me with those big bulgy brown terrier eyes and carefully pick up one little chunk. He’d chew it for a full minute, force it down, sigh, shake his head and take a drink of water.
This did not seem like normal doggie behavior to me.
Then I saw Facebook post from my friend, Karen, who is a professional dog trainer. It was all about the virtues of a raw diet for dogs.
Raw beef, raw chicken, raw pork. Give ’em the livers and hearts and brains and pancreas. Give ’em the bones. Let them be the wild canine carnivores that nature intended them to be!
It made SO. MUCH. SENSE.
I was so excited.
I pulled out a package of chicken livers and plopped the whole bloody mess into Lennie’s bowl. “Hey, boy!” I called. “Come get your actual, real, I’m a hunter, my great great grampa was a wolf dinner!”
He trotted into the kitchen, wearing his bright yellow collar. He sniffed the bowl. He sat down so hard his license and rabies tags jangled. He looked at me, and (I swear this is true) his mouth was open.
“What the absolute F*&*# is this?” his face asked. He was aghast.
He left the room.
I threw away the bloody mess.
But I would NOT give up. We moved on to ground beef.
He sniffed, tasted, backed up. Slowly approached, and then he ate it! VICTORY!
I was so excited to know that I was about to have a healthy, shiny coated, no allergies, clean toothed canine who loved me to pieces but who was still only a step away from his wild roots.
I did what any good Momma would do. I researched all over the internet, watched 163 YouTube Videos and learned all about what I needed to do. For example, I learned that my doggie needs BONES!
Just like in all those old cartoons. Doggies need to eat bones. That’s how they get calcium and how they keep their digestive systems healthy.
So. I bought some chicken legs.
Tonight, we gave Lennie a nice raw chicken bone. Now, we were both scared of him choking, but we have been assured by all 500 blogs, articles, reports and videos that raw bones are fine.
So, we gave our boy his chicken leg. He was thrilled! He ran down into the backyard (warning, do NOT feed the meaty bones in the house unless you want to sit on meaty schmeers on your sofa). He ran in circles. He barked at the bone. He flipped it in the air. He yipped at it in what I can only imagine was his best wolf imitation.
Then he buried it under a bush.
So. I tried again. I am Momma. I will not be denied in my efforts to feed! (Just ask my kids).
This time I put Lennie on our deck, where he couldn’t get to the yard. I gave him a new chicken leg. Repeat the above performance, minus the burying part.
This dog had NO idea of what to do with a chicken leg.
I began to wonder if he was actually descended from a stuffed animal. But I persevered.
I went onto the deck myself, with a pair of kitchen scissors. (Do. Not. Laugh.) I cut meat off the bone. Lennie gobbled it right up off my fingers.
I handed him the now mostly meatless bone. He dropped it.
I handed it back.
We looked at each other.
“Listen, kid” I said. “This is a bone. You are a dog. You are supposed to eat the bone.”
I was pretty let down, I have to be honest. I left Lennie with the chicken bone and went inside. I poured a glass of wine and took a sip. I glanced out the window to check on him.
He was chomping away on what was left of the bone, held between his suddenly wolf like paws. As I watched in amazement, he gulped down the last bit, lifted his head, and I swear to you, he grinned at me.
Raw diet all the way, now Lennie! You wild thing.