Read Part One here
Read Part Two here.
Read Part Three here.
Read Part Four here.
Read Part Five here.
The chest freezer is still in the garage. for a long time it held only frozen Amy's pizzas, two leftover bags of ice from a party, and a frozen lasagna. last summer thieves broke into our garage and stole the lasagna.
At the bottom of the freezer, for more than two years, was the heavy plastic bag of chicken wings, a symbol of my failure and my lack of perseverance. i never forgot it was there. it preyed on my mind.
a few weeks ago, i finally hauled it out and heaved it into the trash. then i unplugged the freezer. i had hung onto those chicken wings for a long time, thinking my "break" from grinding was going to end any day now. Lo eventually quit asking me when i was going to start feeding the boys raw again. she knew before i did that i wasn't going to take it up again.
i still buy them high-quality food, and good biscuits that don't contain corn or a lot of preservatives. they still get pumpkin and yogurt and icelandic fish skins. i still have additives and supplements that i plop on top of their food. this weekend i am going to buy a bag of Innova Evo for riley, because he has a cast-iron Lab stomach and i don't think its rich ingredients, if introduced to him gradually, will make him shit all over the basement the way complicated food does boscoe.
it contains turkey, chicken, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, rosemary, cottage cheese and alfalfa sprouts--practically an entire thanksgiving dinner, in kibble form. it's billed as "an alternative for raw feeders," which makes me feel better. i can give riley nutritious food without spending hours freezing my hands and dismembering chickens.
or maybe that's just advertising.
in any case, i do feel a little like i've failed. i feel a little guilty about not being the perfect Dog Mom. (which makes me wonder what my friends who have children are up against--oh, the guilt of not being a perfect Human Mom must be a hundredfold, a thousandfold what i'm feeling.)
in the picture above, you see sara and abby jo (two of lo's dogs) with riley and boscoe on a May morning in our park. they're all healthy, happy dogs, well loved and fairly well trained. they have good lives.
we're doing our best. it's not as good as it could be--riley could be more obedient, boscoe could be trimmer, we could all get more exercise and go to church more often. (or even sometimes.)
but part of the fun of life is breaking the rules now and then, being a little bad before going back to being mostly good.
this compulsion to feed them the healthiest possible diet was, for me, a way to stave off death. i had watched toby die a rather difficult death at a fairly young age, and the more i learned about nutrition for dogs, the more i felt that i was partly responsible. if you know you can give your dog even better food, and possibly make him even healthier, it's logical to think you can keep him around a lot longer.
but maybe you can't. diet is important, but it's not everything. and at some point, it's not going to make any difference at all.
last weekend doug took boscoe and riley out to his mom's house for sunday dinner. boscoe lay down on the kitchen floor and spent 45 blissful minutes in the kitchen, diligently cleaning out the meatloaf pan. ah, baked-on grease, ground beef, and tomato sauce. what could be better?
that kind of information makes Lo a little bit crazy. me, too. but i have to admit, it also makes me glad.