I’m a reformed commercial dog food feeder. Over three weeks ago I [defensively] explained my choice to feed my dogs kibble for breakfast. It’s no different from feeding my kid Cheerios, I argued—basically wholesome and fortified with vitamins and minerals (if mass-produced and somewhat tasteless).

I submitted that fateful post the Thursday before the recall. Great timing, right? I offered my mea culpa just three days after that.

The company I defended for providing wholesome food does what? It outsources production to the same plant as what other food? No way. Rewind. I must have read that wrong.

In keeping with my expressed willingness to admit when I’m wrong and change course when necessary, I have begun walking that [no longer so] lonely road of preparing all of my dogs’ meals.

Yesterday, the Associated Press put out a human-interest story on the growing I’ll-cook-it-myself movement with respect to pet foods in the wake of the recall. It cited as evidence the through-the-roof sales of a book, "Real Food For Dogs" (I haven’t read it yet but I ordered a copy from Amazon today.)

I’ve been researching diets and recipes online for weeks now and it’s nice to know others have been treading the same path. 

(For the record, I’ve been reading Dr. Pitcairn’s book on natural health. So far I’ve been using his basic dietary guidelines but it’s been hard for this vet to get into a book that advocates the use of arnica on a gunshot wound before applying pressure to the bleeding site. Such advice casts a little doubt on the nutrition section as well.)

Although I’ve always fed my creatures my own home-cooked family meals in addition to their kibblage, the packaged stuff has always been a comfortable stand-by. Well, no longer. I’m researching some foods (Honest Kitchen is one diet I’m particularly inclined to import to my area) but so far I haven’t gone that route. I haven’t had to.


Because never before did I realize the incredible luxury of being possessed with the ability to cook for my dogs. Believe it or not, I’m having a great time of it:

Asking the butcher for scrap organ meats and unpopular items. Scavenging the not-so-perfect piles of organic veggies for perfectly priced scraps. Then hauling out the copper lobster-pot I received as a Christmas gift five years ago and letting it all simmer and boil with exotic grains I could never manage to cook to perfection for myself.

This advanced home cook is in heaven. My house smells of millet and barley and turkey hearts. What could be better?

Even better is the fact that all my “scraps” don’t hit the compost heap. My dogs’ nutritional needs make my eggshells and carrot-tops worthy of more than just garden-fertilizer.

Beyond that? My dogs are astounded by the daily displays that I cook up with wild abandon and plop into their food bowls. They stare at it briefly, as if regarding manna from the skies, before tucking into it with gusto. (And Frenchies are notoriously picky.)

There’s a new world order around these parts and none of it clinks as it rattles in food bowls long after dinner-time. Nope. This stuff in gone in less time than it takes to drag a bag of dog food out of the trunk of my car.

It might not be for everyone but it’s turning out to be for me. Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

A special thanks to everyone who helped make it possible—excepting, of course, those responsible for the recall.