Saturday, April 23, 2016

One man's trash

Hi all.  Cocopuff gave me permission to post this piece.  We apologize for our lack of input here lately, just caught up in the business of life and usually crazy-tired.  All is well here.  I'm still looking down at the ground and the girls are happier and fitter than ever.  We've been going to the local park (130 largely deserted acres) several days a week now and the girls love it.  It has become their "thing" and, once they come to the realization that I'm not gong to the mill, they drive me crazy until I take them.  Cocopuff, who is no longer young, has lost weight and now cavorts and runs like a 5 year old with our darling Lilly who has never put on an extra ounce or seems to have aged beyond 2 despite her crappy start in life.  We have decided to dispense with our "Cocopuff's Chronicles" blog which was created as an effort to explore dog-friendly venues within our state and general geographic area.  While it is always a worthy goal to seek out dog-friendly venues where you and your pet can enjoy some memorable moments, we have come to the realization that special trips happen on such an infrequent basis that they, in reality, don't count for much (at least, in our world).  Having the park 5 miles down the road and doable several times a week despite my crazy work schedule provides what we were searching for and the girls literally live for it nowadays.  Okay, that said, that is not the main focus of this post.
I'd searched back posts sure that we'd already done a piece entitled "Another Man's Trash" convinced that we'd done a like piece over the years.  I'm amazed that none seems to exist as it is a theme that we've visited way too often.  This piece deals with our little Susan.  She came to us (original name /Shu Shu or some such)  at the recommendation of one of the banks with which we do business.  The tellers there were routinely horrified by her exploits in the middle of route 80 in the middle of Pooler and dreading the day when, inevitably, she would become just one more ground up mess in the highway.  They had brought their concerns to the attention of my wife who took it upon herself to seek out the owner and convince her that a better life was available to this young Terrier.  The girl that had her gladly gave her up, saying that she was just a "pain in the ass" and Joy brought her home to introduce to our family.
I fell in love with little Shu Shu, now Sue and eventually Susan,  immediately.  I get to meet in the neighborhood of 1000 dogs a year around here and have a pretty good inkling of when I am presented with a seriously superior specimen.  Typically, 3-5 dogs annually qualify in my book and I have been  known to tearfully let some go on to greener pastures.  Susan is one of that rare breed, perfect in almost every way and possessing enough heart, spirit and personality for any 6 dogs.  Unfortunately, this level of "Joi de vivre" does not usually mix well with a full-house of dogs, especially in light of her diminutive size,  and it was with great sadness that I informed Joy that although I loved Susie, she had to find her a home soon before she was ostracized by our indigenous population.
As it turns out, my girl had plans of her own and was not fated to be adopted anytime soon.  Like so many Terriers, she is fiercely protective of her family (me, particularly) and she does not show well at adoptions.  Meanwhile, a strange thing was beginning to manifest itself on the home front, Susie was was beginning to integrate in a positive manner with the larger population.  Over a period of 6 months, she taught a half dozen of our misfits (I call 'em the Blind, crippled, crazies) to appropriately play and has done wonders to help rehabilitate these dogs far beyond our meager abilities.  Grudgingly, I admitted that her worth to the sanity of the greater population probably outweighed any imagined danger to herself, I agreed to keep her on in spite of the fact that she would operate in close proximity to my girls and other large dogs who are not particularly fond of small dogs, particularly small Alphas.  Damn, for all I've got it figured out, I got it all wrong!  Susie has endeared herself to everyone in the household, particularly my Coco and Lil who, like I say, are not normally fans of small dogs.  At first, they would roll and wrestle and bite on the bed and I kept waiting for it to get out of hand but I soon realized that this was safe play and not likely to go awry.  To watch my beloved girls with their little "sister" is such a marvel (Susan is officially an honorary "Red Girl") and to see Susie kicking the crap out of them is just one of the most hilariously rewarding things I can lay claim to. I watch in total awe as my Cocopuff, herself much the  Alpha, actively seeks out this little Alpha whom she adores, chews her up and clobbers her only to the effect that Susie redoubles her attack in,, despite the intensity, well regulated, safe play.  Priceless!  Absolutely priceless!
My point?  To the poor ignorant individual who originally kept "Shu Shu", you were too ignorant to realize that you had a literally, once-in-a-lifetime prize. Seriously, most folks have dogs all of their lives without ever experiencing the best of the best.  Susie frustrated you because she would not stay around when you let her outside.  All that was needed was a fenced yard.  She  took over my back (fenced) yard as well as the task of supervising me whenever I'm working out there. Had you but put the time and interest into her, she would have rewarded you with a BFF relationship the likes of which are not to be had in the human world.  As they say, "one man's trash is another man's treasure" and  I pity you for your loss but I sure do thank you for my little Susie, wouldn't trade her for a bucket of gold..

CUTE, oh so cute but we're going to lose them forever if we do not act!

    My apologies for not having posted in a while.  We're all fine here and have been able to stay with our goal of 2-3 visits to the park each week which has worked out wonderfully.  I've shed almost 10 pounds, feel five years younger and find myself again running for the pure joy of running.  Likewise, Miss Lilly, who has always been svelte, has put on a couple of pounds of muscle and the two of us have a blast swimming and chasing each other around and keeping the local Kill Deer population honest.  Dad's real good about letting us run up ahead and we're used to checking in with him  frequently to maintain alignment with safety and legal concerns. After a decade together, all it takes is a look and a nod.   Dad, on the other hand, seems a little slower and has been talking a lot about something he calls "retiredment" I think.  I have no idea  what retiredment is but I think it has something to do with always being tired when he comes home from the mill.
    Lately, Dad has been acting a little strangely.  The other day, he hung up on some sort of tree branch a deliciously chewable plush toy that he called a sloth.  The darnedest thing is that he put it up about one foot higher that either Lil of I can reach so I'm thinking, "What's the point?"  He explained to us that he put it there as a daily reminder of the desperate plight that nowdays besets the sloth, that their very existence is threatened.  He said that it's way too easy for the crush of our busy lives to push issues such as this to the back burner or off the range completely.  I'm going to allow him the benefit of the doubt 'cause i remember that back when I was younger I didn't understand much about why we had all of these dogs here.  I figured that they had me so why the redundancy and so I am lead to believe that maybe there's more here than just a chew toy, oops, I mean stuffed animal hanging in the office.
I can't have the toy, so here's Dad to explain what this whole sloth thing is all about:
    Hi y'all.  I've just recently become aware that sloths are facing multiple threats to their continued existence due to urbanization and loss/fragmentation of their rain-forest habitat.  Without sustained, concerted efforts on our part, they will be doomed to extinction, lost to us forever.  Until recently, sloths have suffered from bad press going back to Darwin's time where they were considered failed experiments in evolution, just one weakness away from extinction.  As it turns out, sloths are highly successful and thrive in their preferred environment if allowed to do so. Their lack of social status is due primarily to our ignorance and lack of understanding of the complex role they play in their Eco-system . What sloths are is a totally unique, exotic if you will, type of mammal that is poorly understood even today and is, in reality, a sort of portable Eco system in their own right.  They are in no way in danger of suffering from their own "inferior" genes but they are in danger from encroachment of human development of the rain forest and the  loss of habitat not to mention the death and dismemberment that comes with contact with "civilization", cars, dogs, power lines, loggers, and oftentimes, humans themselves.
    Please set aside what you've been taught about sloths in school, if they were even mentioned at all.  The following documentary of a most-heartwarming rescue of a little sloth names Velcro rapidly dispels the notion that they are nothing but evolutionary mistakes.  If you're like me, you'll watch "A Sloth Named Velcro" and immediately be motivated to search out more information about this too-cute-to-be-believed, enigmatic little creature with the Mona Lisa smile. Enjoy:  A Sloth Named Velcro .  
Velcro and her adoptive Mom

    Okay, here's a bit of a warning.  What is it we do best here in America?  Exploit things for our own benefit or profit or both right?  If you decide to take the next slothful step in finding out a little more about these delightful but threatened creatures, you will immediately be besieged by "Sloth for Sale" advertisements and the histrionics of giddy Hollywood starlets being presented with their very own sloth as a birthday gift.  Hell, even the Washington Post describes them as the new "kitten".  Really?  Is that the best we can do?  Fortunately, I do not think that this has to be the case if we can avoid the OOH, I gotta have one trap. THEY ARE NOT PETS!  Trying to make a pet of a sloth will surely kill it!   Those who make it their life's work to study and rescue them barely understand enough about them, at this point,  to be able to keep the rescued babies, who are ever-increasing in numbers, alive.  As Americans, we are also capable of a high degree of empathy and generosity.  I have witnessed this in our own rescue pursuits and humane education is on the upswing in this country.  They  have a saying in Costa Rica which I am just beginning to appreciate and will probably spend the rest of my life in its application, PURA VIDA !.  Its literal translation of "pure life" belies the incredible loftiness of Pura Vida as an ideology applied to lifestyle. I wish we had a bit of that here.  
    I'd like to introduce you to some folks in Costa Rica who operate an "in the trenches": operation similar to our own complete with its own slothpital.  Unfortunately, their government, which is generally supportive of their efforts on a number of fronts, unlike our own, does not extend this support to granting 501 ( C ) 3 status upon their organization. The tax exemption is nice when available but, in my mind, is not a deal-breaker when it comes to supporting causes that I believe in. I really can't tell their story better than them so:
                                   Welcome to the  Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica.

    Please take the time to check out their mission, contact them directly if so desired and support their cause if you can. Their dedicated staff are on the cutting edge of the much-needed research that is so necessary to understand these creatures in order to save them.and the website contains a wealth of information, not to mention some very cute sloth photos.  While you're there, sign up for the free newsletter and explore the various options available in booking a tour or donating to their efforts. If you are here reading this now, you are undoubtedly an animal lover so please take a minute or two to check out what sloth rescue is all about and determine for yourself whether is a cause worthy of your support.  Pura Vida!
   By the way, if any of this has given you cause to visit Costa Rica, there is a special greeting from the residents that you will, hopefully, enjoy: Save the Americans .  Too cute and I love the "joie de vivre" of the anteater.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Stop the killing

Some time ago. I'd posted a piece entitled "I'm just saying....." which explored some changes that could be made in  order to protect our valiant K9s from the deadly effects of being left in overheated vehicles.  In my doggy naivete, I'd assumed that deaths of this sort were quite rare and happened only under extraordinary circumstances.    I had also assumed that, to be quite blunt here, the dogs' handlers actually gave a crap about them.
Since that post, I've become aware that this is often not the case.  K9 police officers are routinely roasted in vehicles.  One case that I know of resulted from the fact that the K9 was not allowed in the police station so was left out inside the cruiser on a 90 degree day.  Not allowed in the police station?  Really?  What follows is an article from "The Daily Beast" which is Newsweek's online magazine.  This article examines some recent police dog deaths and the circumstances under which they occurred as well as the consequences.(or lack thereof) incurred by the perpetrator.  The first one happened just recently a couple of towns over from us in Rincon.


08.08.159:35 AM ET

What Happens When Cops Kill K9s? Not Much.

Five K9s have died in hot cars this summer, but their handlers receive little more than a paid vacation as punishment.
If you or I, assuming you’re not a member of the law enforcement community, were to leave our faithful family dog locked in hot car while we went into our houses, had a family dinner, and slept, only to find Fifo dead from the overwhelming summer heat hours later—we could face between one and five years in prison and be fined tens of thousands of dollars.
The public outcry could also ruin our lives, and, potentially, our careers. Who wants to employ someone who can’t even remember to let man’s best friend out of the car?
Police departments, apparently.
In early July, Baston, a seven-year-old German Shepherd and proud member of the Savannah State University police department, died after being forgotten in just such a manner. Reportedly left in a sweltering police car while his human partner brought food into his family and, his belly full, fell asleep.
Several hours later he remembered poor Baston, but it was too late. The windows were rolled up, and the engine was off. Attempts to resuscitate the overheated pup with an ice bath proved unsuccessful.
Ironically, Baston was “awarded” a bullet and stab proof vest for protection just months before his death, and the state of Georgia enacted a new law making it a felony to harm a police dog, at least if you’re a civilian.
Too bad the vest didn’t come with an air conditioner, or, better, a competent handler.
Repeated attempts by The Daily Beast to reach the Savannah State University PD requesting comment on the status of Baston’s handler have been met with weeks of silence or deflections, with calls being routed to various department voicemails, none of whom ever called back.
That was not an isolated response.
Last May in Hialeah, Florida, Officer Nelson Enriquez was suspended with pay after his K9 partners—Hector, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, and Jimmy, a 7-year-old bloodhound—both died when he forgot them overnight in his vehicle. Repeated calls to the Hialeah police department regarding the incident resulted in this reporter being stonewalled or transferred to another extension, at which point the call would be dropped.
Miami has a history of K9 abuse issues. In 2007, Sgt. Allen Cockfield killed his German Shepherd partner by kicking it. Then, in 2008, Officer Rondal Brown let his bloodhound starve to death. Both were charged with animal cruelty, but an expert familiar with the case speculated to the Miami Herald it would be “unusual” for Enriquez to face charges.
Baston was “awarded” a bullet and stab proof vest for protection just months before his death, and the state of Georgia enacted a new law making it a felony to harm a police dog, at least if you’re a civilian.
Last month in Conyers, Georgia, Zane, a five-year-old bloodhound and tracking K9 for the Conyers Police Department, died when forgotten by his handler overnight in a sealed up police vehicle while temperatures were reportedly in the 90s. The handler, Corporal Jerahmy Williams, was suspended with pay while an investigation was conducted, and there was talk initially about disciplinary action, although so far none is imminent. 
“I can’t comment on an ongoing case,” Paul Stalcup, Rockdale County Assistant District Attorney, said when reached by The Daily Beast. “But there certainly have been no formal charges drawn as of yet.” 
Repeated calls to the Conyers Police Department were unreturned. 
Sad. Horrific, even. And there’s more. 
In Gulf Shores, Alabama, Mason, the Gulf Shores PD’s community relations dog also succumbed to the heat when forgotten in a hot car by his human partner, Corporal Josh Coleman. After finally noticing that Mason wasn’t where he should be, Coleman discovered the dog in bad shape inside his oven-like patrol car and rushed him to a vet.
After a protracted fight for his life, Mason succumbed to respiratory failure.
The Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office decided not to bring any charges against Coleman, whose car wasn’t outfitted with the special heat alarms normal K9 cars have. Coleman is still on the force, and faced “internal sanctions,” though—despite repeated calls to Gulf Shores PD—what those may be could not be determined. 
In contrast, 16-year-old Ivins Rosier was sentenced to 23 years in prison for killing a retired police dog during a burglary, a crime he committed when he was 16. Of course, Rosier isn’t a cop, he’s a young black man in the South.
And while negligent homicide, or even animal cruelty via negligence, is far different than intentionally firing a gun into an attacking dog, officers were still given the equivalent of a paid vacation to think about what they’d done. And the thin blue line has appeared to prevent press access to whatever “internal sanctions” they may be facing. 
What does this lack of cooperation say about the state of our police? More frighteningly, what does it say that the people who are tasked with protecting and serving our public can’t even take care of their own animal partners?
Nothing good.

The term negligent homicide seems to reverberate throughout  the article doesn't it?  These dogs are Police Officers..  For a civilian to kill a cop, one can pretty well guarantee that the killer's life will take a serious turn for the worse.  It'll most likely be shorter too.  The fact that the police are not held accountable is nothing but a shameful double standard that allows them to use the dog with no more respect for it than a car jack or tire iron.  Shame on you!  Shame on Y'all!
I find it necessary for me in this post to reverse my previously-stated position of seeking a more humane means of treating K9s  to that of advocating the elimination of this inhumane practice.  After my :I'm just sayin..." post, I'd emailed the article to our local police and sheriffs offices seeking their input on K9 heat safety and got 0 response.  In retrospect, this does not surprise me.
Nowadays when we're out and about and see a K9 locked in a vehicle we will not make the mistake of assuming that its handler is taking reasonable precautions to ensure its health and longevity   As I have encouraged others in the past to do what ever they deem necessary to save the life of an innocent creature endangered by ignorance and/or callousness, I would urge you all to keep an eye out for the safety of our K9 officers as well.  It's the least we can do for a valiant creature that may well take a bullet for his partner.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Hi, Philip here.  I just wanted to quickly piggyback on Cocopuff’s post of 22 Jan 13 entitled “What Would You Do?”.

I just recently went through this scenario with a Miniature Schnauzer who had been left in a car with the windows cracked about one inch on a 90 degree day.  Noticing the dog and his plight, I pointed the situation out to a young woman who was just getting into her vehicle and conveyed my intentions of saving his life.  He did not appear to be in any obvious distress yet and she kindly stayed on the scene while I went back to the store and apologetically interrupted a couple of transactions to apprise them of the situation.  Had to raise a little hell at first to get assigned an appropriate priority but I quickly was able to return to the scene of the crime with the store manager following shortly afterward.  When he took stock of the situation and I informed him that I would do whatever was necessary to keep this dog from dying he replied that he was not allowed to call the police in this sort of situation.  The young lady who had stayed to assist told him that she had already done that herself and I requested that he simply make an announcement over their system to alert the culprit.

Although it was only several minutes, it seemed like an eternity in which I looked for alternatives to the unpleasant business of smashing out a window.  Fortunately, there was a slight intermittent breeze and I was able to get enough of my hand into the vehicle to get an idea of how warm it actually was in there, all the while assessing the victim’s health.  Finally, an older woman approached and I asked her if that was her dog in the car.  I guess it was her intention to merely blow me off with the curt reply, “I was only in there for 10 minutes.”.  At this point, all the pent-up adrenaline chose this moment to seek its way out and the conversation became very much more one-sided as I proceeded to explain to her the stupidity of her actions and the potential and actual ramifications of her ignorance and callousness.  In the process, I let her know that the police had been called and the only reason that I hadn’t already smashed out a window is was that I was hoping that they would arrive in time to do it before I had to.  I wasn’t abusive of her but I probably am guilty of humiliating her in front of what had become about a dozen onlookers and she was left with little doubt of my disgust for her poor treatment of that little dog.   She drove off to my stern warning to never put her pet in that dangerous situation again.

After thanking the woman who had stayed with me, I went back to the store with the intention of both thanking the manager for his help and apologizing for the abruptness on my part that the situation had required as well as wait for the local constabulary so that I could tell them that the situation had been resolved.  I don’t know if they ever did show up because after 20 more minutes or so they still hadn’t arrived.  The takeaway here is that if you are dealing with a similar situation, keep in mind that there is a good likelihood that help will not show up in time to be of any use, if at all.  You’re probably on your own.  Knowing where your support is and isn’t can be crucial in decisions involving life and death situations.

The up side is that the Schnauzer survived his ordeal and at least one ignoramus will be too terrified of ever running into me again to leave her dog in a poorly ventilated vehicle.  The less obvious benefit, which occurred to me when the store staff had thanked me for my intervention, is that by store owners and staff realizing that their customers care about animal abuse that occurs on their premises and will take steps to intervene, they are much more likely to become active tin preventing it, or at least responding to it when they become aware of it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Cocopuff Chronicles

I'm pleased to say that I've started a new blog as a complement to this one in order to explore a specific quality-of-life issue independent of this more generally themed one.  Please check out my new posts at The Cocopuff Chronicles and please let me hear from you if you'd care to share.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Munch got Adopted!!!

From time to time, Dad and I have been known to take on a bit of a condemnatory tone in reaction to callous, inhumane and downright cruel behavior toward companion animals. We will certainly not apologize for that for it is normally the product of great provocation and outrage. To be real, we tone it down a good bit to avoid putting our readers in the position of having to dwell upon all of the misery and mistreatment that we witness all too regularly but sometimes we cannot help but speak our minds. Fortunately, there are bright spots illuminating the good in people who just want to unselfishly do something to help others.. Dad and I are largely responsible for sending out acknowledgement letters for donations to the shelter and we always try to include the sentiment that; “As important as these donations are to providing for the necessities required by the shelter, the knowledge that there are other loving individuals out there who value companion animals and what we do for them is beyond measure in worth”. We’ve, over the years, gotten to meet some pretty wonderful, caring people who, in great measure, help to offset the ugliness that so often accompanies animal rescue. We recently had some local folks express interest in a little Shitzu in our shelter but during conversation with Mom they became aware of our little Prissy who also uses Dad’s office as her home base. Prissy is a very delicate little 11 year old Shitzu who came to us after her human, who’d had her since she was a puppy, found out she was dying of cancer. Her loving husband told her that when she died, he was going to get rid of that dog in what ever manner he could (surely there’s a special place reserved for this chivalrous gent). The poor woman had to wait until she was having a good day and could get out of bed to bring her here to relinquish her beloved pet before she died in order to spare her being put down or just thrown out to die (we’ve seen a lot of that this past winter). Once talk about Prissy came about, these folks who had just recently lost their two senior companions decided that, although they did not feel that they were emotionally ready to have another dog that they would probably lose to old age before long, decided that they were, however, in all other respects in a good position to care for her in her old age. Being that Prissy and Munch (see two previous posts about how he came here to die a year and a half ago) have both used our office as a refuge from the craziness that pervades the rest of our house, it didn’t take long for him to also be included in the conversation with the result that these dear folks decided that they had room in their home and hearts for him too. They have nobly accepted this mission of charity knowing full well that they will, before too long, have their hearts twice broken again when they lose them. Their only goal is to do something good and generous. Surely there’s got to be a special place for them too. I’m sure that Prissy’s former “dad” and Munch’s “family” that dumped him when his teeth went bad won’t be bumping into them there. Even though I really don’t like to share my office (I mean, Dad has me. Why would he need any other dog in there?), it is certainly gratifying to see these two old dogs who didn’t have a lot of other options retire in style. Munch and Prissy will spend their remaining days spoiled, happy and loved.  They’ll even get to go on holiday.  Sure, we’ll miss them but there are so many others that need help, it’s not real practical to dwell on. I know that it is guaranteed that I’ll be well cared for until my last breath and even after, don’t even need to worry about that but. y’know what?  It just makes you feel good to help someone else.  I’m glad I let them stay.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What are you feeding your dog? ( or What is your best friend worth?)

Lately you humans seem to have been developing an ever-increasing awareness of how the quality of your food supply has devolved over the last 50 or so years.  Dad says that he used to eat a lot better when he didn’t have any money and had to grow, pick, shoot or catch much of what he ate.  In concert with this thought process, there is a parallel ever-growing movement in this country to tighten up some on the quality of the food that you put in your bodies, avoiding the highly processed fare that your body doesn’t recognize,as food, an overabundance of sugar and fat as well as some very nasty chemicals.  Now, of course you’ve got your GMO thing trying to take over agribusiness and the world at large.  While a lot of folks don’t seem overly concerned, those that have researched what these bio-engineers are actually doing, how they are doing it and how very little they know about what it is they’re actually doing, it’s downright scary.  Heck, just the word “bio-engineer” scares me!  Okay, so what’s the point of all this?
Well, your faithful companion has to eat too and most manufacturers are just a little less particular about ingredients that go into dog food than food for human consumption.  You can see why I might take umbrage at that!  The old adage “You get what you pay for” certainly works here to some degree but not entirely.  A lot of manufacturers have cashed in on your heightened awareness to present products that appear to have healthy, nutritious ingredients.  The picture shows what appears to be a healthful combination of meat, vegetable and grain when the truth of what’s in the bag is far different.  There’s also the quality of ingredients.  Did you know that they’re allowed to call ground up chicken feathers “chicken”?  I wouldn’t be totally averse to getting a chicken or maybe a duck feather in my mouth from time to time but seeing as how they are totally indigestible, I don’t think I want to rely on them as my main source of protein.  You’d be surprised,  Even the stuff you find for sale as top-shelf products at your vet’s office is mostly junk, even the stuff that sounds like it was cooked up in a nutritional expert’s lab.   As important as the ingredients are, where they come from is equally important.  Nothing personal against the Chinese who supply a great majority of the ingredients in even premium foods but they have a serious quality control if not an integrity issue ( Please see my post "Howling Mad" from May 2010 ).  Heck, they even put melamine (a toxic industrial waste) into the baby formula for their own kids just to turn a profit.  The government made them pull it off the shelves and six months later it was back on the market again putting tens of thousands of human infants at risk of renal failure.  I remember the big dog food scare we had back when I was a young.  They were putting melamine in the dog food (it fools the assay test so as to show a higher protein content) and I remember that we lost several dogs to unknown causes, normally a very rare event here, during that time period. 
Coincidentally, it was around this time that Dad began to do some research on dog food quality, not just ingredients but their sourcing as well.  This can be very daunting, particularly when sourcing is not generally made very obvious and price can be a huge factor but he did manage to wean us from the “eye candy” that we preferred and started rotating between several top quality brands.  I’ve got to be honest, we loved our eye candy, would nut up as soon as we saw the bag but I will say that since we’ve been eating better, I spend a lot less time digging myself raw.  I wonder what other good effects it’s been having.  Nowadays our palates are a little more sophisticated.  We will turn our noses up at the eye candy that we once so loved as well as anything less that the best.  I’m not here to endorse any particular product but I will say that we all love our Blue Buffalo and Merrick.  Yes, it’s pricey but not as much as you think.  As it is nutrient dense, we eat (and poop) less so the cost has to be looked at in this light.  Sure, there’s some really good food out there that we won’t touch either.  It’s all a matter of personal taste much like how a lot of humans love lobster and others wouldn’t eat it on a bet.  I’m glad Dad loves us enough to take the time to find some really good food that we like to make the most of the few short years that are given to us.
As I said, the process of ciphering through all of the information, then going back to the manufacturers website and trying to get information there can be more than daunting but fortunately there are others who, with no vested interest, have already done much of the research and are willing to share their findings.  Dog Food Advisor is one such entity that can help to make some sense of all that is out there.  Given that the results can be somewhat subjective, it is always good to compare several ratings and a quick Google will get you there without a problem.  Then it’s just a matter of figuring our what, within your budget, are the best foods that your pet enjoys.  It’s always good to have 2 or 3 to rotate through as no one food is perfect and rotating them will help balance that out.
I have always considered it a great unfairness that, as mans’ best friend, dogs only get to enjoy 10 + – years of that.  If you value your companion, wouldn’t it be best to make the most of those years, possible extending them and certainly improving their quality.  A rule of paw here, if you are feeding your pet from the grocery store or, dog forbid, the dollar store, you could do soooo much better.  What is your best friend worth?