Rabbits and tadpoles and snakes – oh my!

There are definitely some very cool things I enjoy living in the stix.  Mud and no nearby Slurpees are not any of them.  But the wildlife is cool!  Today Wootie ferreted out a garter snake, first one I’ve seen on the property this year.  I tried to catch it, because I wanted to bring it to work and torment one of my coworkers some more (last week I caught one in the parking lot at work, and snuck up behind him at his desk so it licked the back of his head.  Heh.  I’m quite sure I’ll pay for that stunt with something involving a Really Big Spider) but the sucker was fast!  It got away.  I don’t believe Wootie has ever seen a snake before, because he was completely perplexed with what he had rustled up.

There’s this big puddle at the back of the acreage that has never really gone away since it arrived last Fall.  It’s this same puddle from this shot in January that Dex is walking through:

It has gotten both larger and smaller throughout the year, depending on the amount of rainfall we have had, but the weather has just not been warm or dry enough for it to go away completely, so it’s still pretty large.  I guess some of the resident frogs have decided that it’s a small lake, not a puddle (and you can’t blame them, since it now has water plants and algae in it and stuff) so they deposited hundreds of tiny little tadpoles in there.  They are very tiny tadpoles (I guess they come from little frogs?) and I am endlessly fascinated with watching them wriggle around.  I suppose, at heart, I am a 10 year old boy.  Somedog always ruins it though, by laying down in the puddle.

On today’s walk we also saw some rabbits, and a muskrat.  And I also saw a thorn from the pokies inside of TWooie’s ear – not, like, piercing his ear, but stuck waaaay deep down in his ear canal.  The thorn is a directly result of him *also* seeing the rabbits and chasing them through pokies!  It was difficult to extract too, because of course every time I tried to pull it out it poked him and he would yank his head away.  I eventually got it out by basically laying my whole body on top of his and pinning him in the mud.  Poor guy got spanked AND wrassled to the dirt all in a week.  He’s probably packing his bags to move back to Prince George.

We also saw a hawk.  I think it may have been hunting the same rabbits that the WooTWoo were after.  It should come up to my house, and get the stupid rabbit that is living in my dog yard … the one I almost mowed down with the lawnmower last week.  These are not terribly bright critters, are they?

The hawk isn’t the only thing I saw flying today either.  This afternoon, I witnessed Dexter flying.

It’s all in the ears.

flap flap flap

What, you don’t believe me?

Excuse me, Food Lady?  I don’t believe you.

Me too!  I mean, me neither!

Well, you’re both WRONG!  Because he can!  And I have proof!

It may not be graceful …

… but he’s definitely airborne!

Yeah, wow, we’re, like, so impressed.

Never one to be outdone, Piper has a go as well.

Don’t even suggest it.  I’m so not doing that.

Oh wait, did you say cookie?!?!

Do those of you with older dogs find that they more they age, the more important food becomes to them?  Tweed’s never been a dog to pass up a morsel or anything, but in his advanced years he has become utterly obsessed with eating.

Or maybe I’ve become obsessed with feeding things to my pets.  I could feed the chickens all day long.

Speaking of feeding dogs … I’ve been a raw feeder for well over a decade now, and I’m blissfully ignorant of the cost of dog food.  Hell, even my cats eat raw food, so it’s been a few years since I bought cat food too.

They eat MY raw food.  This makes me angry.

Last week at work someone brought in a big dog who’d been hit by a car and was DOA :(  I hate when that happens.  The dog’s owners came by to make arrangements for cremation, and brought in all the deceased dog’s raw food.  Unfortunately, we can’t use raw at the shelter, so rather than see it go to waste I opted to take the raw food home for my dogs, and replace it with a purchased bag of kibble for one of our other shelter dogs (another lovely young chocolate lab.  You should adopt him – his name is Franklin and I will post photos of him later this week).  Franklin has some protein allergies, so he can only eat a fish based food.  I zipped out on my lunch break and bought a 15 lb bag of First Mate fish based kibble – it cost me $42.00!  How is this possible?!  How the heck can you folks with multiple dogs afford to feed kibble?  I figure a 15 lb bag of food would last my dogs about a week, if that.  And I’d have to buy cat food on top of that.  Holy moly!

I’m not totally sure what I pay every month for raw, but per pound it’s definitely cheaper than that bag of dog food was.  And at the moment, every savings will help!  I just found someone with a large amount of fencing for sale for a pretty reasonable price … if I can work out a way to transport it, I will at long last be able to fence in both the dog yard and the chicken yard – not only will my dogs be able to go out without me losing the WooTWoo to a passing rabbit smell, thus making me late for work, but my chickens will be able to free roam a lot more without me losing any of them to passing dogs being walked down my dead end road.  And if the chickens can free range, I can get more chickens.

More chickens make existing chickens angry.

*hangs head*  Yeah okay, that was really just an excuse to post photos of my chickens :)  And soon maybe more photos!  I have a line on a few Black Copper Marans, you know, those french chickens.  Ooh lah lah!


  1. I would love a blog about raw feeding – specifically what you feed, and how (it seems like it could get messy, and I don’t imagine you feed your dogs outside). I’ve been intrigued by the concept – feeding my two largish dogs is getting ridiculously costly!

    Love your blog, love your dogs (and Donut, still warming up to the chickens) – thanks for the laughs over the years! If you are ever close to Richmond, VA, I’ll show Woo where the stupidest rabbit ever lives. Hint: under my shed.

  2. What’s the word on the shelter? Why no raw food there?

  3. It sounds like the dog food you purchased is some specific specialty food. I buy a higher end dog food and it costs me about $2 per lb. I am lazy so it is easier for me to purchase a large bag every few months rather than shop constantly for raw food.

  4. clairesmum says:

    i think your puddle is a vernal pond – where I am, they are a protected wildlife habitat if whatever spawns/grows there in spring is an endangered species of bug/frog/whatever. From a dog’s point of view, I’m sure it’s ALL GOOD – lots of good smells, movement, mud, things to perhaps catch and eat, or not.
    Claire managed to bring home an 18 inch long branch from a pricker bush on her rump – and all wrapped into her tail (which was once a flamboyance, until she decided to trim it herself. looks like a toddler with a self administered haircut – lumps of fur, bald patches, and some flowing fur along the tail.) Had to put a soft muzzle on her so she understood to hold still, and then she surprisingly quickly let me remove it using bandage scissors – no sharp ends. I can’t imagine trying to get a pricker out of an ear canal-but I don’t imagine the Twoo will be packing his bags to leave anytime soon.

  5. Kelly-in-Oz says:

    Gawd! You guys don’t realize how good you have it in the dry dog food market. A 15kg (33lb) bag of Science Diet Dog Original retails for $114.95 over here in Aussieland. Chew on that info for a second…. And it’s pretty average quality food at that! I feed Canidae Grain Free and a 13.6kg (30lb) bag is $124.95, so if I fed it every day for every meal it would last my two medium size dogs 3 (almost 4) weeks. YIKES! As a result, I have also chosen to feed predominantly raw “mutt muffins” that I make myself, and heaps of raw meaty bones as well. SO MUCH CHEAPER. They still get dry food every 3rd or 4th meal, but the bags now last me 2 to 2.5 months, and it’s a little easier on my bank account. Heh heh, betcha $40.00 doesn’t seem so bad now eh?! P.S. I feed my raw food frozen, so there’s no mess. However, it is A LOT hotter here for the majority of the year, and the dogs really enjoy their “pupsicles”.

  6. I find the cost of dog food so ridiculous. Two weeks worth of raw food costs me £12.50, £10 buys me enough (high quality) wet food to last me two days! A 7kg bag of dry dog food costs £8 and wouldn’t last my dogs long at all.

    Raw all the way here!

  7. Love your air shots of Dexter! He sure CAN fly and I bet he loves it! Sage is fascinated by garter snakes–we’ve seen a couple recently. I don’t know what she’d do if she ever caught one though!!

  8. FL, you’ve sparked my interest about raw diet–could you maybe give me a little bit of information about what you feed and in what portions? This might be a transition I’d like to make with my BC, since his bowels and stomach seem to be very sensitive. We feed him brown rice or porridge mixed in with his kibble, which seems to do the trick, but since (as many commentators here agree) raw is cheaper, I’d like to understand a little behind it.

  9. We are buying Canidae Grain Free ALS, 30 lb bag for about $50. It’s expensive but I hardly cook for myself so can’t imagine trying to cook for 3 dogs.

    And speaking of stupid rabbits, we had a bunch that would routinely get into our dog pen. Shadow managed to kill 2o or 3 at the last place and 1 prior to that in our prior home. She’s a good rabbit dog. :)

  10. RaisingRiver says:

    Solid Gold’s Barking at the Moon is what works my tummy sensitive BC (and the boys get it too for convenience) and around $60/33lb bag it only lasts 2 weeks. The senior dog is now on Wellness’ Just 4 Seniors which has joint supps in it and that’s around $50/30lbs.

    But I just discovered Petco’s Repeat Delivery Service which has discounted pricing on the bags of dog food (nearly $20 savings) if you do the service and shipping is only about $6 or free and it’s delivered to my door!! No more monthly trips to the store lugging around 90lbs of dog food in and out of my car.

    I also don’t cook for myself/family so raw for my 4 dogs just isn’t in my vocabulary – but I agree that it is a very healthy option.

  11. The Food Lady says:

    ha ha! You guys make me laugh … I don’t “cook” for myself either. I hate cooking. If I can’t make it in the microwave, I’m unlikely to eat it :) But I don’t cook for my dogs either. I buy raw food, and I feed it to them. It’s really not that much more difficult than scooping kibble out of a bag.

    I buy pre-ground raw meat in bulk from a local supplier – so they alternately eat turkey, beef, tripe or herring. When I am feeling flush, I may also buy bison or lamb or duck (they are just more expensive, and I am feeding a lot of mouths). They get ground meats for the morning meal. It may or may not have pulped veggies in it (I don’t think dogs really need veggies, so sometimes I buy the ground meats that have veggies mixed in, and sometimes I don’t – just depends what is in stock). When I feed their meal, I take the next day’s meal out of the bags and put it in tupperware in the fridge to partially thaw. The meat is frozen in one pound blocks already. The only additions I make to their morning meals are yogurt or cottage cheese just about every day, a raw egg once or twice a week (from my own chickens!) and salmon or olive oil. The dogs who get supplements (ie Glycoflex for Tweed and Piper) are added to that meal. When someone in the household is dieting, their portions decrease and I add frozen green beans for bulk. Dexter sometimes gets mashed yams or oatmeal for bulk, as he burns a lot of calories.

    In the evenings, they get a portion of a raw chicken back and neck. I also buy those in bulk, pre-frozen. They are frozen two to a bag, which bothers me because I hate all that wasteful plastic … but if they weren’t, they would all be frozen together and that would be impossible to deal with. I buy a 50lbs box at a time. Anyway, Dexter usually gets a whole back and neck to himself, and Tweed and Piper get about 3/4s of one, with the other quarter of each going to the WooTWoo. This is probably the most work of the raw feeding, since I have to chop up two backs/neck every night, but it’s not exactly time consuming or difficult ;-) I alternate for the WooTWoo – one night they get the quarter with the bum end, and the next they get the quarter with the neck end. That way they are getting all parts of the back and neck over time.

    Sometimes I buy pork hocks, when I can find them in bulk, or lamb necks, or turkey necks and I rotate those into the chicken backs routine.

    I’m not a rabid raw food feeder – my dogs routinely get shitty, crappy grocery story cookies (to keep the WooTWoos’ attention on walks) or I might even pocket a handful of kibble for that purpose. Whatever is handy.

    They eat their ground meats out of bowls, which is not messy. They eat their whole meats on the floor, which is maybe not the most sanitary, but I don’t put my own mouth on the floor so it doesn’t concern me too much ;-) They are also ravenously fastidious about licking the floor clean afterword, and I clean the floors twice a week with vinegar and steam, so it’s not big deal. When the weather is nice, they eat outside.

    We don’t feed raw at the shelter for a variety of reasons, but the most pressing are 1) 99.9% of dogs surrendered to the shelter come in eating kibble, and go on to be adopted to homes that feed kibble, so there would be no point in switching them to raw. 2) Also, about 85% of what we feed is donated, and people donate kibble, not raw. 3) Dogs in shelters are stressed, and stressed dogs don’t need the additional stress of a massive food change on top of everything else. 4) Our freezers are full of dead animals, but not the kind you can eat, so there’s nowhere to store raw food :)

    I think, on average, the raw food costs me between $1.00 – $1.90/lb. The ground meat is more expensive than the chicken backs. I pay $40.00 for a 50lb box of chicken backs, and the ground meat is, I think, $1.50/lb, though sometimes I pay a little more and sometimes a little less, depending on how much I buy and which supplier I buy from. If I had a bigger deep freeze, I would buy in larger quantities for sure! But … nowhere to put a bigger deep freeze. Also, the cats are eating the ground meat as well, so I am feeding 8 animals on that. It seems the average kibble price, of a brand I would consider feeding (ie a high end grain-free kibble) is over $2.00 a lb, so I am pretty confident the raw is cheaper!

  12. I buy a good quality food in bulk. It’s a fish based kibble made for working dogs (originally marketed to sled dogs). I pay about $1/lb, depending on the formula. It does need to be ordered 1000 lbs at a time to get the discount, but when multiple people with lots of dogs get together we end up buying about a months worth of food at a time. But yes, it is very expensive to keep a bunch of dogs. I would have a lot more spending money and a much nicer house if it wasn’t for them, but I also would miss out on the joy of Border Collie ownership.

  13. My husband and I were just joking about switching the 4 dogs from raw/premium kibble to store brand…we could afford lots more vacations.
    Those were fantastic “big air” shots!

  14. I just read this a second time, TWooie looks so cute holding his paw up for you!

    I feed pretty much the same way as you (ground meats) but the only difference is that my dogs get whatever bony scraps the butcher has for me so they alternate between beef, lamb, pork (but only for Kota, Sparky’s allergic) and chicken portions when the butcher doesn’t have anything for free! They get a mixture of larger “recreational” bones (not suitable for every dog) and smaller edible bones.

    Oh, and they get liver and kidney too.

  15. Could you maybe expand your raw food comment above into a post (with appropriate pictures, of course) so it would be easier to find? I know I’m going to want to come back to it later to compare with what I’m feeding. Not so different from you, but my dogs have all been sending me the message lately that they’d like a little more roughage in their diet* and you gave me some ideas to try.

    (*By scarfing down huge hunks of grass full of foxtails, resulting in what should have been an avoidable trip to the vet, alas.)

  16. Robin Layton says:

    When I switched to Raw I used one particular book a lot: http://www.amazon.com/Raw-Dog-Food-Make-Easy/dp/1929242093/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305087455&sr=1-1 The author has a yahoo group too on raw feeding. If you check it out make sure you get her group. There is a very militant raw feeding group you want to avoid so make sure you get the right one.


  17. Melissa says:

    Older dogs and food: I know Agnes, my nine y.o. (ish) Lab/Pit/??? shelter pup is definitely food driven. Food Food Food! In fact, that expression on Tweed’s face with the flying cookie is awfully familiar. It certainly made it easy to teach her new tricks! She especially loves cheese. If you have some she’ll stop and give you the Cheese Stare.

    We’re paying about $1/lb for kibble right now but we’re not feeding a good brand. I’m looking to switch to Canidae soon which is going to run us about $1.25 per lb. Our local meat shop makes a great raw blend but they typically run out by the end of the month, so I wind up falling back on kibble. Their blend is: whole chicken necks, beef, lamb, beef heart, peas, carrots and celery. All the meats are ground. They sell it in ~3 lb bricks for about $8. It winds up being more expensive but having them blend it for us is much easier.

  18. The information about the raw food diet for dogs is very interesting, and I would certainly consider that kind of diet if I get a dog. It seems that people consider it to be healthier for the dogs, not just cheaper. Thanks for sharing that information.

    In other things, Yes Dexter is awesome and he can fly. :) He is really a great dog, I totally envy you and the photos are terrific as always, but the ones with him “flying” are really, really good. And I guess that Tweed interest in food is a good sign, he has a good appetite. I guess it also happens with humans too and keeping your appetite as a human is a good sign.

    Take care of yourself and best wishes.

  19. Patricia says:

    I was feeding premium dog food as well and when i got my 3rd BC i had to look into some less expensive options and believe it or not the Kirkland brand at Costco has worked beautifully for them, 40lbs for $29 is outstanding, and they have responded to it beautifully.

  20. myhandle says:

    If I could convince Cobweb to eat out of a bowl, I would consider feeding her raw. But I currently find kibble all over the house, mostly in places I’d rather not find raw meat.

    I also barely have enough freezer space for my food and the handful of recreational bones I buy periodically for Cobweb. Which last her forever, since I don’t trust her to have them in the house and not put them in my bed, and most of her outdoor time is in a public park with a million other dogs.

  21. My old dog (We’re guessing she’s about 13 now) has become absolutely obsessed with sniffing out edibles (or somewhat edibles) on walks. She doesn’t go as far as she used to, but we estimate that she covers the same mileage by walking around and around the picnic tables in the park, looking for leftover chicken and beef bits. My theory is that it’s now too much work to chase the squirrels and the geese, and chicken bones don’t run away from you.

    She still inspects the floors at home very carefully, but that’s mostly to make sure that the cat doesn’t get it first.

  22. FL, I realize this is a rather late response, but thanks for the feedback about raw diet! I think the portioning for Dex would be equivalent to what I’d feed Jake, so giving me specifics is greatly appreciated.
    It sounds like a big change, but I think if I weaned Jake off of kibble and onto raw, starting with a single meal a day (the second being his usual kibble and oatmeal). Do any of your dogs have touchy stomachs, and would you expect a backlash from switching to raw?

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