Read Part One here
Read Part Two here.
Read Part Three here.
boscoe was not one to question good fortune. when i started buying packages of chicken wings four a time at the grocery store, grinding them up in the meat grinder, and feeding them to him, he just nodded and accepted that the gods had finally, finally smiled on him.
after the terrible life we had given him--a soft bed, yes, and two long walks a day, sure, and good nutritious kibble with all those additives, yeah, yeah, yeah. but finally! chicken wings! and raw ground turkey! which he royally deserved! it's about time!
boscoe, as i say, was not one to question. boscoe was one to eat. and lick the bowl. and then look around for more.
it is important for the meat to be raw. raw meaty bones (as in chicken wings) are filled with nutrients the dogs need, and the bones help keep their teeth strong and clean. heating the meat--let alone cooking it--destroyed a lot of the enzymes and bacteria that the dogs need to keep them healthy.
i was very worried about keeping the homemade dog food fresh. expense was an issue, and so was the amount of time involved in preparing the food. but freshness was my main concern. how long does raw chicken keep? i didn't want to feed them spoiled meat, but nor did i want to have to prepare fresh meals every night. with my job, i don't get home until 7 p.m. most nights--doug gets home even later--and it's hard enough for us to prepare a meal for ourselves, let alone one for the dogs as well.
so for awhile, i made dogfood fresh every sunday and prayed that it would stay unspoiled through the week. it was a lot of work. every sunday morning, doug went to the grocery store and bought four packs of chicken wings, and four packs of ground turkey, and various fresh vegetables. our grocery bill skyrocketed by about $40 a week.
on sunday afternoons, i would get down the meat grinder and the cuisinart from the high cupboard, stoop down and get the big stainless steel mixing bowl from the low cupboard, and round up a couple dozen little plastic storage bins. i'd line them up on the kitchen table and get to it. first i'd dump all the ground turkey into the stainless steel bowl. then i'd start grinding the chicken wings. one at a time, i'd feed them into the top of the meat grinder, pushing them through with the little wooden pestle, bones and all. and they'd come slithering out the side, bright red and worm-shaped, and fall into the bowl on top of the turkey.
when all the meat was ground, i'd turn my attention to the veggies. broccoli crowns, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers--it all went into the cuisinart. i'd dump it into a bowl, add a healthy splash or two of cider vinegar, and give it a stir. it smelled great.
then came time to fill the tupperware containers. one container per dog per meal. a cup of meat, a dollop of veggie slop, a cup of meat, a dollop of veggie slop, until all the tubs were full.
riley and boscoe watched my actions with great interest, drooling a bit, keeping me under intense surveillance while being careful not to get in my way. a delicate dance.
finally, i'd add the additives, snap on the lids, stuff all the containers in the meat drawer of the fridge, and i'd be done, except for cleanup. from start to finish, the whole operation usually took close to two hours.
the dogs got to help with the clean up--one got the bowl, the other got the measuring cup, which he would chase all around the kitchen with his nose, licking away every last bit of meat.
i fed them the raw meat every night for dinner. for breakfast they still got kibble. i just didn't have it in me to make twice as much.
"if you ordered free-range chicken wings from an organic farmer, you could make a bunch at a time," lo advised me. "then you would only have to grind once a month."
in for a penny, in for a pound. i'd need a big chest freezer, to store everything. "sure, why not," i said. "sign me up."
TO BE CONTINUED
51 minutes ago