I'm out way too early these days. Stepping onto the front lawn an hour before sunrise, I have to go and walk my Rack around town.
Since we're looking for a mile and a half, I'm also seeing the majority of my neighborhood at the same time.
The skies were clear and even crisp which is not all that common here. Of course anything under 80 is cool to me now.
I'm walking Mr Dog and seeing more people than I used to. If you want to really meet your neighbors, keep the ears open with no headphones, and get a dog. You most likely need the exercise, and your dog will benefit from it.
Knowing that Rack is over eager when it comes to other dogs, I tend to hold him back a bit while out. The problem with that is that other dogs want to say hi, so it is drawing me out to have a chat in someone else's lawn well before 6AM.
Sorry folks, I'll try to keep my voice down.
I had stopped listening to the music on the headphones a while back when Lettie got sick. She was incredible at spotting trouble, but when she lost her hearing, I realized I needed to pick up the slack. I haven't started listening since. I'm noticing that people actually do say hello even in the pre-dawn gloom under those starry skies.
Today when I got to near the mid-point of the walk, someone stopped me and chatted me up. Sheila knew me from when I walked Lettie and thought that my dog looked different. I explained that the similarity even gets me sometimes, but I had "lost my Lettie" back in April. This was Rack, and he's a puppy of right around a year.
Sheila was talking about her Chow Chow who was her constant companion since three weeks of age. When she mentioned that she had lost her dog due to Chronic Renal Failure, I had to share my own experiences. Apparently I was lucky. In order to keep her dog alive, she had him on an IV Drip Feed for 2 months. Lettie never stopped drinking water, in fact drank so much that I was letting her out to water the front yard as much as eight times a day.
There's a spot of grass in front of my house that still is struggling to recover six months later.
I explained that while I wasn't giving IV, I was syringe feeding her up until the day before her last day. Sharing war stories is a good way to get past grief, even if in these cold Western Societies, we aren't expected to grieve over a loss of a dog.
When Sheila began to cry over her lost friend she apologized and explained it was only a month ago when it all happened.
I told her the story of how we rescued Rack and that I was basically ordered to get him when we lost Lettie. The pain was strong with our own loss but Sheila took comfort in knowing that she could release a little of her own.
The thing was that I'm still convinced that Lettie's diet was what killed her kidneys. I refuse to feed Rack anything that has any content that could be sourced from China as a result. There is just too much of a culture of deception when it comes to quality control there. What that means is that I'm feeding my Rack a much better diet than I did with Lettie. She got a "premium dog food", but it was made by a large pet food company. Large pet food companies get the size they did by cutting corners. I won't cut corners again.
Rack gets either Merrick or Orijen food. He's on Orijen now, and that's a small company out of Canada using only Canadian products. No "GMO", no "foreign" sourced food - and nothing from China.
I may be wrong, but I'm not willing to compromise. I've done quite a lot of quality control in my own software development work. I understand what it means to have zero defects in a product. When I hear about "premium dog food" being recalled because there was a "scare" or that there's a correlation between Chronic Renal Failure in a specific brand, it clearly makes me aware that something is seriously wrong in the product.
This is the sort of thing that can easily happen with our own food supply. The whole Taco Bell scare a few years back when it was found out that the beef in their beef tacos was only around 33% beef and the remainder was other "stuff". Thankfully the last Taco Bell meal I had was some time back in the mid 1990s.
Needless to say, I got on this kick with myself and our own food supply. Making my own food is one thing, it allows me to control the quality of the ingredients, and the other thing about it is that it is vastly cheaper than what sits on a shelf at the store. Fewer ingredients of better quality, and no preservatives has to help quality and health in the future.
If it is a good idea for the dog, it's a good idea for you. Sure, cooking takes more time, but aren't you worth it?
I know your kidneys are.