Distressing news!

I heard some distressing news yesterday.  It seems that Halo Pet Foods (a line of dog and cat foods, supplements, and treats both celebrity endorsed and co-owned by Ellen DeGeneres) is in the process of developing a vegan dog food.  The truth is, Halo is not the first, and I'm sure will not be the last, company to market a line of vegan pet food.   HOWEVER, Halo is the first I can think of to have such a well-known spokesperson, or one with such a huge fan base, as its mouthpiece.  Add to this the fact that Ms. DeGeneres has been such a vocal and passionate advocate of rescue and animal welfare, and I am even more concerned about the potential for disaster that her endorsement of vegan foods for dogs potentially heralds.

Here's why:  dogs are carnivores!  Scavenging or opportunistic carnivores to be exact, but carnivores nonetheless.  This means that unlike cats, who are OBLIGATE carnivores (meaning they MUST consume animal protein in order to survive), dogs CAN process, to a certain, albeit limited, extent, veggies, fruits, etc. but even at that, those items should, optimally, be processed in a blender, Vitamixer, or, in the case of wild canids, by the prey animal itself, in order to be utilized by the animal's body with any degree of effectiveness.  This is because, as a carnivore,  a dog's digestive tract is short and, as compared to an herbivore's, very simple in design.  Food is meant to move through the GI tract very quickly.  Additionally, their saliva does not contain the necessary enzymes to begin to break down starches or carbs.  

An herbivore's saliva, on the other hand, does contain these, and their GI tract is longer as well.  This is why many raw feeders utilize green tripe in their feeding plans ... because unlike whole, raw, unprocessed/un-broken-down vegetables or other plant matter, in the case of green tripe (which in its simplest definition is the stomach of a ruminant animal and the contents therein), the vegetable matter that has been "processed" (or digested) by the prey animal is bio-available to a carnivore in a way that whole (or even cooked) vegetables/plant matter are not.

As I have mentioned on this blog before, there are all sorts of ways to do a raw diet, some that include vegetables, and/or green tripe, and some that do not.  But this post is not even really about raw diets.  It is about what foodstuffs our dogs, as carnivores, are designed to eat.  Or, to put it another way, which foods are species appropriate for them, and which are not.  Animal proteins, as well as small amounts of vegetable matter that have been processed in some way (such as green tripe, for one example, or pulped vegetables and fruits as are called for in Kymythy Schultze's Ultimate Diet for another) are species appropriate foods for carnivores.  Grains and large quantities of other starches, on the other hand, are NOT species-appropriate.  Dogs, being the scavengers and opportunists that they are, will readily eat foods that are non-species appropriate, and hey, we all know dogs who would happily consume garbage, decomposing road-kill, and even fecal matter, be it their own or that of other dogs.  I will never forget the It's Me or the Dog! episode wherein one of a group of miscreant Pugs would literally stand by while another of its' pack mates was defecating, and slurp down said pack mate's poop before it even fell to the ground! 

BUT ... I think we would all agree that feces are not species-appropriate fare for any animal, and neither are grains or large quantities of vegetable or plant matter species-appropriate for carnivores.  Because they lack the salivary enzymes necessary to break down these types of foodstuffs (carbohydrates and starches, not feces!), this means that the pancreas has to work extra hard to produce those enzymes, and as time goes by, the strain placed on this vital organ can compromise its ability to function as it ought.  Or, in short, just because a dog WILL eat something, does not mean that it necessarily SHOULD eat whatever that something happens to be. 

Still with me?  OK, assuming all I have said above is true, then why are so many dog treats (and dog foods for that matter) so loaded with grains, carbs, and other non-animal proteins?  Well, for one thing they're cheaper.  But also, unless you are talking about a grain-intolerant/allergic dog (of which there are a great many), I personally am of the opinion that a few grain-inclusive treats now and then are not going to do much harm.  They may be empty calories that many dogs, given the number of dogs who weigh more than it is healthy for them to weigh, can ill afford, but they probably are not, again, IN SMALL QUANTITIES all that terrible.  

Unfortunately, this is not what Halo is proposing.  They are in the process of developing, and its spokesperson and co-owner, Ellen DeGeneres, is prepared to endorse, a VEGAN food for dogs.  Or, to put it another way, they are proposing to offer for sale and have a spokesperson with a huge fan base offer her endorsement of an allegedly "complete" diet 100% devoid of meat or any animal proteins for the, again alleged, "nourishment" of a carnivorous species which needs meat and animal protein to thrive. (Please note I said "thrive" as opposed to survive!)  

Am I the only one starting to hyperventilate?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only bright spot in all of this is that Halo, recognizing that cats are obligate carnivores, does not, at least not currently, have a vegetarian or vegan food for cats in development.  Nonetheless, I shudder to imagine who knows how many dogs eating food that is so diametrically the opposite of what they were designed by their very nature as carnivorous animals to consume.  

I have written to Ms. DeGeneres myself, asking her to reconsider this decision, and I would like to ask all of you to do the same, assuming you are in agreement.  Should you wish to write to her, you can do so HERE.

Tucker, and all carnivores everywhere, thank you!


How My Mom Wasted A Perfectly Good Friday Afternoon ...

Hi, everybody!  It's me, Olivia.  Tucker was going to tell this story, but I heard through the grapevine that my presence had been requested, so I convinced Tucker to let me take this one. Let's get right to it.  Mom decided to take a half day off of work today.  I had heard her talking on the phone about it to one of her colleagues from work, and I was really excited!  A whole weekday afternoon with Mom here to cater to my every whim!  Unfortunately, Mom obviously didn't have the same idea.  So here I sat ... waiting ... waiting ... for Mom to come home early, only to be bitterly disappointed. 

What was Mom doing all afternoon, you ask?  Well, the dreaded E word, for one.  Tucker says the rest of the word is spelled errands.  I don't really know exactly what it means, but whenever she goes out to do those E-rrands, she always comes home with lots of bags full of stuff (not enough of which is for me, by the way) and clothes on hangers covered in plastic wrap.  But today, after her E-rrand running, she went all the way to the MOON!

What's that, Tuck?  Oh, ok - she didn't go to the real moon, I guess.  She went to this one: The Blue Moon Trading Company.

Mom says that this Blue Moon place is one of her favorite places to waste time browse.  She always finds at least one or two treasures there every time she visits, and something about the atmosphere there puts her in a good mood.  

Plus, how could you not love a shop with a resident shop Pug:


 Today she found :

These great paintings of dogs.  The artist does commissions so she's going to call and see if the artist does cats, too! 

She also found this guy ...

She thought he was a carousel horse at first ... (Mom has sort of a thing for carousel horses ... and horses in general, for that matter ...) but when she got closer she realized he was more of a "ridin' the range" kind of guy, and thought it would be just the right addition to her friend A.'s studio so she texted him a picture.  He agreed, and now Mr. Horse is going to have a new home. 

And as for me ... Mom did still get home early enough that I could go out on the catio and relax in the sunshine for a few hours before dinner.

I guess I forgive her.


Quality, Convenience, and Great Prices ... it's all at MrChewy.com

It's been hard to make the rounds of the Blogosphere lately (the blogs I follow anyway) and not see a review for MrChewy.com.  I've tried not to read them, though, since I was approached to do one also, and I wanted to make my own as unbiased as possible.  In any case, to those reviews, I'd like, now, to add mine.

I'm far from a neophyte when it comes to online ordering of pet supplies, so I wasn't, quite honestly, expecting to be all that impressed with this particular site. I was wrong.  I was, and am, impressed.  Very much so, in fact.  

For one thing, I was very pleased to find a broad selection of very high quality food products such as OrijenAcanaNatural BalanceStella & ChewysZiwi PeakSpot's StewNow!FrommHonest KitchenNewman's Own OrganicsPinnacle, and Sojos for both dogs AND cats.

If it's treats you're looking for, Mr. Chewy won't disappoint.  The feline contingent here at Chez Tucker are very fond of Zuke's Natural Purrz and Purebites, for example.  

Regardless of what your dog or cat's preference might be, with over 70 popular brands to choose from, it would be difficult not to find what you're looking for at Mr. Chewy's. 

All orders $49.00 or more ship free and will be to you within two days.  If you have problems or questions, you can chat live or reach customer service by phone 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  And of course, if you're short on time or dislike lugging heavy bags or cases of food, you just can't beat the ease and convenience of having everything you could ever need delivered right to your door! 

All of this in and of itself is great enough, but let's talk about price.  One thing that got my attention right away when I went to place my order (by way of disclaimer, let me now state that I received a coupon code when asked to do the review that allowed me to place an order for free so that I could see what products the site had to offer, and evaluate the process, the customer service, etc.) was that the prices of some items I was familiar with from ordering them on other sites were notably less than I had been expecting.  So when I went to do this review, I chose a few products at random to see how the prices on those items stacked up with other online retailers I'd ordered from in the past.

A few cases in point: 

Acana Wild Prairie 5.5 bag of kibble (for dogs) is $14.99 at Mr. Chewys and $17.76 at another popular online retailer.

A case of twenty-four 5.5 ounce cans of Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken (for cats) is $36.99 at Mr. Chewys and $41.99 at another site I checked.

A case of twelve 13 ounce Natural Balance L.I.D. Chicken & Sweet Potato is $21.99 at Mr. Chewys and $23.99 at another popular online vendor.

These are just three examples of lower prices on the exact same brands and quantities of foods, and in some cases you would have to add shipping to the price of the food, which, if you shop smart and order enough products at a time, you can completely avoid when ordering from Mr. Chewys.  

All in all, I couldn't be happier with my experience at MrChewy, and I encourage anyone who is interested in saving time and money, and receiving top-notch customer service to check out MrChewy.com today. 


Snug on Saturday

Hi, everybody ... it's me, Tucker!  

It got cold again last night so Phoebe and I had to put our T-shirts to keep warm.  Then this morning Mom was doing some work on the computer so I thought I'd keep her company by laying next to her on the couch.  Mom was nice enough to wrap me up in a warm blanket, and I was all set for a cozy winter's nap.

And then this happened ... 

Yeah, it's true.  I'm pretty much the best big brother ever.

Happy Saturday, everybody! 


One Miracle Please ...

Oh, if only it were that easy.  If only it were as simple as waving that magic wand we all dreamed of having as kids.  If only we could order up a miracle with the same ease and convenience that we can fast food cheeseburgers (but without all the damage to our arteries!)  Unfortunately, life isn't like that.  Magic wands don't exist outside of Hogwarts.  Miracles are not cheeseburgers.  They aren't cheap or easy ... if they were, they wouldn't be miracles.  But miracles, I believe, are both real and possible, and sometimes (quite often, actually) they are wrought by angels masquerading as ordinary human beings.  

Around the Blog-o-sphere we seem to have more than our share of these angels, super-heroes, and miracle makers, although I think it's safe to say they wouldn't think of themselves that way.  But try telling Little Zee,  Curious Georgia or Dora the Explorer that their benefactors, Aleks and Ben from Love and a Six Foot Leash, are not angels.  Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure that you'd have a hard time convincing Super Levi that A & E of  Two Pitties in the City did not bring some sort of super powers to bear in rescuing him and making sure he got not only a wonderful new home AND a new sister but his X-Ray vision as well!  And how could Comeback Kid Baxter have made his comeback without HIS own special angel, his foster mom and the author of the blog Peace Love & Fostering, who fosters dogs like Baxter in order to be the "change she wishes to see in the world."  

These are just three examples ... of people I know only through the blogging community, who are out there making a difference, and making some very special miracles happen, each and every day, for some incredible dogs, dogs that in fact have, through their efforts, achieved almost celebrity status in the blogging community and beyond, but who would have had no chance at all without their help.  I know that Phoebe's foster mom is an angel to me, and I could not ever thank her enough for loving and caring for my little brussels sprout as she waited between trains.

Which is why I was so touched that during a time of year that can be pretty draining on the wallet, so many of you responded to the call for help I issued on behalf of Little Scout 

either by donating yourselves, or spreading the word on your blogs or Facebook pages.  Thanks to your efforts, Scout is a lot closer to her ChipIn goal, although as of this writing, she is still a little over a hundred dollars away from meeting it.  

I mention it only so that in case some of you missed the previous post about Scout, or saw it but were not able to donate then, you might see it now, and be able to help.  And if you can, that's great, and I appreciate it.  Scout is being fostered by the same rescue I adopted Phoebe from, so her story feels very personal to me, and I so want to see her reach the ChipIn goal necessary to cover her medical bills. If you can't donate, but would be willing to spread the word on your blog or Facebook page, I would be equally grateful.  This is a little dog who was labeled a fear biter and therefore unadoptable in a shelter, but it turns out that she had a very painful broken leg.  Now that she's been rescued by her foster mom, has had surgery to correct the fracture, and is being lovingly cared for as she heals, she is a sweet, friendly dog who was very deserving of this second chance.  But her one thousand dollar plus vet bill is an understandable drain on the organization,  Heidi's Legacy, who is fostering her, so anything I can do to help them raise this money, I want to try to do.  This will be my last post on the subject of Little Scout, so I'd like to thank in advance anyone who sees this and either donates or passes the word along about her fundraiser.

Phoebe would thank you, too, but she's otherwise occupied at the moment.

But were she awake, I think she'd also want me to let you know about another (not-so little) dog who has found her angels, but is still in need of a miracle ... 

We heard about Juno McGruff from Emily and Daniel of Our Waldo Bungie, a blog we've only recently discovered and are very glad we did.  Juno, nee Kimba, is a sweet pittie girl with eyes that will melt your heart.  Or at least, they did mine.  I was a puddle of mush with one gaze into her searching amber eyes, when I first read about her.  So when I checked back in today to see how she was doing, I was very concerned to hear that after refusing to eat and beginning to vomit up water, she is back at the vet's for continued treatment and observation.  I didn't learn about Juno's previous ChipIn until after it was over and the fundraising goal met, but now with this new hospitalization and its corresponding bills, a new Chip In has been started, and little Juno needs all the help she can get.  So cross your paws, send some good thoughts her way, and, if you can, donate to her ChipIn and/or spread the word on blogs, Facebook pages, via Twitter, etc.  Heck, send up a smoke signal if you think it might help.  Because remember those angels I was talking about before?  This is our chance to fight on their side.  Let's not waste that opportunity! 

Have a great weekend, everyone! 


Agility is everywhere!

Hi, everyone!  MP here!  I know a lot of you do agility training (and trialing) with your dogs.  Tucker & Phoebe have also trained in agility, although we've never trialed.  The truth is I am just not a person that enjoys doing anything competitive in front of a bunch of people, because I'm both a little on the shy side as well as pretty competitive.  I'm less shy than I used to be but I'm still pretty competitive, and the reality is that those two traits don't mesh especially well, particularly when you add a living, breathing, thinking, feeling creature (i.e. a dog) into the mix.  This is even more true when those dogs are sensitive as Tucker and Phoebe happen to be.  You can ruin Tucker's whole week by looking at him cross-wise.  Phoebe is a bit more emotionally resilient when it comes to criticism, whether real or perceived, but nonetheless Brussels are known for being a bit sensitive, so it's something I have to watch with her as well. And that, honestly, is the main reason why I never wanted to approach the sport of agility as anything other than something fun to do on a Tuesday night. I never wanted to introduce an element of competitiveness into it, because I didn't want my natural impulse to be too competitive (and to get upset when things don't go perfectly) to compromise something that is far more important to me than any awards, or any more initials on the end of my dogs' names.  That, of course, being my relationships with the dogs.  

Doing agility for fun seemed like the perfect compromise.  It was something the dogs really enjoyed, something I really enjoyed, and something that allowed them to exercise both their minds and their bodies simultaneously, while also strengthening the bond I had with each of them, as just about any type of "work" that humans and dogs undertake together almost can't help but do.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, we haven't been to an agility class in several months now, mainly because the Saturday morning drop in class that we used to really enjoy going to no longer exists, and our previous Tuesday class switched to Thursday, and now starts earlier, which makes it harder to get there after work without making myself a frazzled wreck by the time we pull into the parking lot, which is hardly conducive to a positive experience once we arrive.  

This makes me sad, because it's something I really enjoyed, and I know the dogs did, too, so we're looking into another agility club whose schedule might work better for us than our previous club, but meanwhile I have been looking for ways to incorporate some of the fun of agility into our regular routine.  Fallen logs can make a passable dog walk, traffic cones placed a little closer together than usual make a very usable set of weaves.  

In fact, right at the office where I spend what my friends and family feel is way too much time, we've found a few different ways for the dogs to use some of the skills they developed in agility class on a daily basis. 

Allow Phoebe to demonstrate:

Here Phoebe stands atop one of the many brick railings that encircle our office building.  She is abiding by her "wait" command but is focused and eager to descend the other side of our impromptu A-frame.

And here she is starting her descent.  This particular railing's incline is pretty steep, but nothing compared to an A-frame.  Plus, the spaces between the bricks offer her plenty of traction.
 Down she comes ... 
Safely down! 
Hey, this is pretty high!  How'd I do, Mom?

This is where she'd jump into my arms, but it's really hard to take a picture of that and be ready to catch the dog, so you'll just have to use your imagination!  But suffice it to say, her nickname is not "the flying monkey" for nothing!


And the winner is ...

Hi, everybody ... it's me, Phoebe!  

Ok, sorry, I'm here now!  You know how it is when you get an irresistible urge to roll in the grass for no good reason at all?  Well, that is how I felt ... but I've gotten it out of my system now and I'm ready to announce the winner of Scout's Chip In raffle

And that winner is none other than everyone's good pal ... Pip!  Pip and his peeps are tireless advocates for animals in need through their work with The Red Door shelter, so I thought it was fitting that he was the winner here!  

But I also want to thank everyone who donated, no matter how large or small the donation, as well as everyone who spread the word about Scout on their blogs or Facebook pages.  And although Scout is, I'm sure, thankful for all the help and support she has received so far, she is still in need of more assistance, and her Chip In is still going on HERE.  So if you maybe couldn't donate before, but you can now, it's not too late.  And if you feel like spreading the word on your blogs, Facebook pages, etc. we would be most grateful.  

Meanwhile, many congratulations, and thanks, to Pip.  Pip, you are the winner of the gift basket and the Organic Dog Biscuit Kit from The Organic Pet Boutique.  

Please have your peeps email Mom or Tucker at tuckertellsall@gmail.com and give them your address and they'll make sure your prizes are sent to you right away.  And thanks for your help, buddy!  


Maybe You Didn't Know Monday

Hi, everyone ... it's me, Tucker!  And since Mom is still a bit MIA and still hasn't gotten a post together announcing the winner of the raffle for those kind people who participated in little Scout's Chip In, I thought I would share with you something you didn't know about me.  Specifically ... I love sporting events ... particularly those that are dog friendly!  And recently Mom took me to a polo match that I especially enjoyed. 
Me, spectating.  On my Aunt M.'s lap (she is camera-shy).  It kind of looks like she is trying to hold me back ... but that is not it at all.  It was cold that day and she was hugging me to her for warmth.  Plus, I know better than to run after those horses ... they are way too big to play with! Even bigger than that Great Dane at the dog park! 

Some polo action ... 

The horses run really fast! 

I personally don't understand the game that well.  I thought checkers was a board game - but apparently in polo it means something else?

Anyway - it was a fun day and afterwards we ate barbecue!  YUM!


MP Maintenance Post

Hello, everyone.  First of all, for those of you who have emailed to check up on me/us, I appreciate it.  Please be assured that we are all alive and well, although my back is still giving me some trouble (I was in a pretty serious car accident back in my twenties ... yes ... eons ago ... and every now and then I'll wake up stiff and sore for no reason I can determine but was told back then that this would happen and the doctors I've consulted have seemed to be of the same opinion.  Oh, well ...)  Also, my laptop seems to have breathed its last, and while my friendly computer doc reassures me that my data is safe, it is probably not worth repairing it as its several years old.  So I'm trying to determine what to replace it with, but meanwhile except for my phone I am internet-less while at home, and this is my busy time of the month at the office (which is where I am now, although about to depart, as T&P are giving me some pretty serious "Hey, Mom, let's get the heck out of here so we can go home and have dinner!" eyes right now) so I haven't had the opportunity to post anything at work either.

I did draw a random winner for the Scout's Chip-In raffle, which I realize I am tardy in announcing, but will do that perhaps tomorrow or Monday when I have a bit more time.  But for now, please know how much I appreciate everyone who donated or was kind enough to spread the word on their blogs or Facebook pages.    

I also have a review to do which I will also get to in the next couple of days. 

Meanwhile, I leave you with this recent photo of Finn, taken the other night when it actually got down into the high '20s here in Sunny Florida.  

NOTE:  This was a quick picture snapped after I decided to put one of Tucker's too-small sweaters on Finn for my own personal amusement.  I hope it amuses you as well, but in case anyone is wondering, Finn was most decidedly NOT amused.

Hope all of you are doing well.  I greatly appreciate the well-wishes and all the nice emails I've received.  I hope to get back to posting regularly and also visiting everyone else very soon!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope that you all spent New Year's with friends and family, and rang in 2012 in style (even if it was with a nip party under the bed!)  Phoebe doesn't like fireworks, so she wore her Thundershirt, but even she had a pretty good time! 

2011 was a pretty good year, and we are happy to have made many wonderful friends in the Blog-o-sphere, and hope to make many more this year.  

Now, on to business.  Mom's back attacked her on Saturday, and she is still feeling a little under the weather.  But she'll be back later on to announce the winner of the drawing we are doing for Scout's Chip-In.  

Meanwhile we'd like to thank Ann and the Zoolatry gang for our lovely Shining Star that they sent us.  It meant a great deal!

ALL of our blog friends are stars to us!