Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm going to perform an experiment on my dog.

Before you start calling the animal rights people, hear me out. When I was a kid, we had a beagle mix named Patches. Patches was a grumpy old dog, but that's beside the point. Twice a day, Patches would get a half of a Gainesburger in her bowl. Gainesburgers were these frighteningly red, crumbly food stuff that was packaged in a hamburger shape. You'd open the wrapping, crumble half a Gainesburger into the bowl and Patches went to town.

My grandmother's dogs preferred Chuckwagon. Chuckwagon's marketing point was that it made its own gravy. Each day, at 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Grandma put a scoop of Chuckwagon into each dog's bowl, added warm water and stirred the concoction until it formed its own gravy. Scampy and Brandy went to town on their Chuckwagon.

Patches, Scampy and Brandy all lived long, healthy lives, expiring at about age 15 or so. Same with the other neighborhood dogs who received similarly packaged grocery store foods. Interesting.

When we bought our first puppy 10 years ago, our vet wrinkled her nose at grocery store dog food. Sure, she said, give your dog the equivalent of Twinkies and Ring Dings. She recommended premium dog foods. They might cost a little more, but your dog will appreciate its healthy coat and digestive system. Nothing but the best for our dog. Kadi lived on premium dog food. When she developed seizures at age 6, we kept her on the premium dog food. When her legs started to bother her a few years later, we switched to a food that promised to enhance her joint health. As the epilepsy medications made her fuzzy, I tried a food that promised to help her mental state. When she died at 9, she was well fed and loved and prematurely gone.

Our neighbors have similar stories. The lab on the left had to be euthanized at age 8 when his hips gave out. The dog behind us lost his life to cancer at age 9. The one next door died at age 10 due to heart failure. All nice dogs. All premium dog food dogs. Not a speck of Gainesburger in sight.

So now we have this new dog, Ginger. Great dog. Healthy dog. No seizures yet. Strong hips and knees so far. Yesterday I bought her a bag of grocery store dog food. Granted, it's the top of the line grocery store dog food. I can't bring myself to do the generic stuff yet, and I can't find any Gainesburger. But I'm going to see how Ginger does on grocery store dog food. At least I'm going to try this 20-pound bag. Then I'll probably feel guilty for feeding my dog Twinkie dog food, and I'll go back to the premium stuff.

I'd make a lousy researcher.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

i love it!!!
hysterical because it's true. our beautiful german shepherd Honey was raised on grocery store food, a cup of dry (alpo) and a can of wet (skippy...she didn't like the more expensive alpo wet food) and lived to 13, which is good for a large dog.

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