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When Buster and Enzo’s owner sent their photos in for the 1,000 raw fed dogs campaign she also sent some explanation of why she feeds raw, how she started doing it and where she is with it now. I could have posted it along with the photos but it felt like a story worth sharing … a vegetarian, an evolution to get over the initial hurdle of handling raw meat, switching someone else’s dog, adopting a dog into a better life, who doesn’t want to read all that. I asked her if she’d mind writing a little more for a guest blog.

I hope that for anyone not sure that they can do it this will show that there are ways of building up to where you need to get to. For me, I just really enjoyed the story and well, I must confess I am a little bit in love with Enzo!

” I had been looking for a dog for a while, since around July 2011, and debating in my head whether to go ahead and get one. In the meantime (in between browsing pet listing sites) I decided to start researching dogs. It’s what I do, I have to know everything.

So I started looking up info on puppies and dogs in general, and it didn’t take me long to become aware that commercial pet foods were awful. I saw that they contained grains and fillers that dogs couldn’t digest. I realised they were no good for a dog. 

I managed to raise the subject with my mum, and I bought a small bag of Orijen biscuits for her dog to try. Orijen repeatedly came up as the best dog food kibble, as they are around 80% meat and contain no grains, only human grade meat and veg etc. Her dog loved the kibbles and I bought a large bag for her.

In November 2011, the day I got back from a holiday abroad, I decided to have another look at the pet-selling site. And I saw him. 9 weeks old, and so cute, I knew he was my dog. He was the last of the litter, held back because someone had asked for him then changed their mind.

As I hadn’t expected to get a puppy so quickly, I had no food for him. I had ordered some Orijen puppy food, but knew it would take a few days to arrive. The sellers brought some of the food he’d been weaned onto… Morrisons’ Own biscuits and meat. It was awful stuff, and that night he did the most massive amount of poo I have seen in my life. Yuck.

On Monday morning my mum was introduced to my puppy, and I went and got a small bag of Orijen biscuits off her, to put him on until the puppy kibbles came. I couldn’t bare to keep him on the other food a moment longer.

Around the same time I started looking into vaccines. I came across the Facebook group Pet Vaccine Education, and it was through that site that I became aware of raw feeding. It made a lot of sense to me, but as I was (and still am) vegetarian, I wasn’t sure about having meat in the house. Or ‘dealing with’ RMBs.

I continued to feed Orijen until Buster was 12 weeks old, and I took him to a holistic vet I’d found, he had his puppy jabs (I decided to only give the core vaccines), and the vet handed me a leaflet about Raw feeding, and mentioned it. I was already aware, but her ‘nudge’ made me think about it more seriously. I went online and found a company that made up raw minces, they came in tubs like margerine tubs. It was easy and not too ‘icky’ for me. They arrived within a few days, so from 13 weeks he was getting raw food.

Buster had a lot of his orijen kibbles left, so I did mix for a while (which I since know to not be great, although it never caused him any problems).

It took me a while to give him RMBs, that is probably my biggest regret. Unlike a lot of pet owners converting to raw, I was never concerned about him choking, I trusted he’d be fine, it was my own squeamishness that made me hold back. But a couple of months in I decided to go for it. At first he had marrowbone (large beef bones) which I disliked because of their size and how hard they were, so then I found a different supplier and he had lamb bones and chicken carcasses. And I lost my squeamishness pretty quickly!

At first he would have minces every meal, other than 2 or three times a week where I’d give him mince for breakfast, and then chicken carcass or lamb bones for his dinner. Gradually over time the ratio changed, and now he typically has bones for most meals, with the minces just a few times a week.

Fast forward several months, and Enzo came into our lives. I loved the idea of having another dog, a playmate for Buster. But I was trying to be good and not give in to temptation. Then I went to a friend’s house for a party, and his roommate’s dog was there. The most gorgeous long haired Chihuahua. I joked that if he got bored, I’d have him. A few days later my friend asked me if I wanted to look after Enzo for the week whilst his housemate was away over Easter. I jumped at the chance.

Enzo settled in well – after he asserted himself with Buster to make sure Buster behaved himself and didnt play too rough. I decided to feed Enzo raw straight away. He’d previously only been fed Pedigree tinned meat. From day 1 with me he had chicken wings, minced meat and bone and veg, and first dibs on a huge turkey carcass. He took to it just great. The first chicken wing he had, he worked on for almost an hour, but within 4 or 5 days he was finishing his wing in under 20 minutes.

Enzo didn’t really detox noticeably, although his coat started to smell awfully chemically. It was like a plasticy smell. I bathed him using an all-natural eco shampoo (for humans) and this helped lots. After a while the smell faded.

Then a week turned in to almost 2! Enzo ended up staying for 12 days. And then when he went back to his owner, I gave him around 3 days worth of food (raw mince). A few days later his owner told me he loved the food I had sent, and was refusing to eat his regular food (pedigree). He was eating tiny amounts, grudgingly. I was asked if I wanted to keep him, for good. Not because of the food, but his owner was spending more time working away and Enzo was spending more time in the house on his own, and his owner knew it wasn’t fair on him. So 5 days after taking him back, he came back to live with me permanently.

Enzo has become fussier since then. Although I think I over feed him (he is so tiny! It’s hard to stick to such small quantities!). He won’t over eat though, he stops when he has had enough, which often has me worrying whether he is eating enough, but he weighs 2.6kg now, which is about 300g more than he weighed when he first came to stay with me 2 months ago. He also had a puppy tooth still in situ when I first got him, but after about 7 to 10 days of eating RMBs it came out! Bonus. No nasty vet appointment to have it extracted. His teeth are so much cleaner now too!

I have discovered that he loves heart, and green tripe (yuck! :-D), he will no longer eat minces which contain veg (the ones he originally ‘loved’ when I sent him back to his owner for those 5 days!). He likes turkey carcass best, and no longer seems interested in chicken wings. Which is slightly annoying as they are a perfect size for him! He will eat them, but he often leaves them a while before giving in and eating them. Or sometimes he refuses to eat them at all, and Buster gets an extra snack. I’m getting some chicken carcasses back in again soon, so will wait and see whether he likes them or whether he also turns his nose up at them.

He’s quirky, and can be a grumpy so-and-so, but he is fantastic, and a lovely little dog (most of the time ;-)) and I wouldn’t be without him now.”