Dispatches from the Swamp – the Zero Food Waste Edition

Molly, the Pilates Queen, has started to cough again. This is not a good thing. It is hard on her physically and it is crazy making for us. Luckily we still have some of the prescription cough medicine for her.  Hopefully, if we get right on it we can nip it in the bud.

Piper continues to amaze me as she matures. She is 5 this year and she is such a solid dog. Her toilet training is solid. She is loyal and affectionate without being needy. Many times in the day she will sit on the floor and sort of lean on my leg. It is very comforting.

We generate a lot of left overs here. I am not sure why we are incapable of cooking only what we need but it is a reality. The dogs love cooked food. In thinking about this, I realized that we share all of our food with the dogs so why can’t we they eat the leftovers? This Saturday, we decided to put everything together and cook it up. It was definitely a ‘dog’s breakfast.’ The dogs loved it. All we could hear was the slurping sounds as they sucked it up. Happy, happy dogs!

It would appear that my ulcerative colitis is starting to flare up. This is a very bad thing. I am hoping that it is just because of the stress of last week. I do see my GI in a couple of weeks. I can tell as I am having increased rumbling in my intestines and other issues that I won’t go into as it crosses into the “TMI” area.

Our drainage work is done. It seems good. We don’t seem to have so many ‘lakes’ in the yard. Once the grass grows it should be back. I am going to do some research and see if there is some kind of local grasses we can seed that will be durable in the winter with all the rain.

NaBloPoMo Help!!!

In blatant theft of ideas, I have stolen yet another idea from Beth at Not to Be Trusted with Knives. With NaBloPoMo just around the corner I was hoping to get some ideas from my readers about what you want me to post about. I am happy to answer most questions. Some topics might include dogs, dog rescue, ulcerative colitis, computer questions, tech stuff, politics,  etc. So please, let the topics fly in the comments. Maybe, if I am really lucky, I can get a copy for each day of November. Thanks everyone!

Dear Universe

Dear Universe – please fuck off. Take me and mine out of your sights and move on. There is nothing more to see here.

In solidarity




Apparently I have run out of luck the last several days. I am not sure why or what I did to piss off the cosmic gods but things are not going my way at all. I am generally a pretty easy person to get a long with. I don’t have unrealistic demands about service or what I expect from retailers. What I do expect though is to be treated politely and with respect.

Yesterday I had to attend a conference. I really did not want to drive in from Maple Ridge because traffic is so unpredictable we decided to stay in a hotel. The parking overnight at the hotel was $15 per night, per vehicle so instead of taking 2 cars I left mine close to the office. I decided to take a taxi to the venue as I was told that it was about 5 minutes a way. All was going well. We had a fantastic evening. I didn’t get enough sleep but enough to make it through the day. I was running a little slow but otherwise things were fine. That is, until I got into the taxi.

I went downstairs, found a taxi parked there and got in. I gave him the address 1 Athlete’s Way in the Olympic Village. He assured me he knew where that was and off we went. I had no idea where this place was and, in fact, I am really not at all familiar with False Creek or Granville Island. We got to what the driver said was the destination. It didn’t look new to me nor did it seem like what I was looking for. He assured me that it was 50 feet behind me and that he could not get in there because it would be too hard to get  out. Stupidly I got out. I walked around me and asked a few people where the Creekside Community Centre was located. I was finally told it was about a 20 minute walk from where I was. I was stranded. I had no idea where I was when I called Yellow Taxi. I was actually at 990 Lamey’s Mill Road. The only thing I could see was a sign for Charleson street. I am not going to go into too much more about this as it was extremely upsetting and I am going to complain to Yellow Taxi.

We had new flooring installed in 2007. We are still having issues with the installation and they still have one more thing to fix. In 3 years, I have likely called over 50 times, he says that he will  call me back with a plan and then never does. I have written letters with no results. Even though he told me they would fix the back porch flooring last week today he refused to do it. I don’t know what to do anymore. I guess it is on to the BBB.

My day completely sucked. I spent over 2 ½ hours in the bathroom. I feel very weak and shaky and on the verge of tears. Ulcerative colitis has completely changed my life, including how I cope with stress. Having developed an anxiety disorder because of ulcerative colitis I am constantly annoyed with how it impacts my life. It is like you just don’t have control over your reactions to situations. Some days I have just had enough. Today is one of those days so excuse the whine.

Our Evening in Vancouver

Deb and I stayed in Vancouver last night. I had an early meeting this morning and she started work at 9 am so instead of getting up at the crack of dawn we stayed in a hotel. We decided to go out for dinner to some place we had never been. I had been seeing so many advertisements for the Cactus Club Cafe and Rob Feenie’s dishes that I really wanted to go there. What I really wanted to eat was the butternut squash ravioli.

When we arrived, I was a little taken aback by all of the female wait staff being in similar short black dresses. I referred to them as ‘Stepford waitresses.’ Deb pointed out just like a Robert Palmer video. Deb also mentioned about a lawsuit underway by a Cactus Club employee (I could not find any reference to this online) apparently it was the Shark Club. From then on though everything couldn’t have been better.

As I mentioned I wanted the ravioli. I also love cheddar broccoli soup so I wanted that as well. Not every menu item was a ‘Rob Feenie’ item and this was the case with the soup. It was definitely not very good and it was not really hot which is how I like soup. Deb ordered a spinach salad which she said was great. For entrees I had the butternut squash ravioli trio and Deb had the Hunter chicken. The ravioli was divine. I loved the texture of the filling and the prawns on top were very nice. Deb’s chicken dish really inspired. Her dinner was a stack of fingerling potatoes, green beans, chicken and mushrooms. There was a reduction that added tons of amazing flavour. I have to say that I have ever tasted. This chicken rivaled a filet mignon I had this summer at the Copper Room at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort. I normally do not like chicken breast as I find it dry and lacking in flavour.

Then we moved on to dessert. Normally, I don’t eat dessert. I rarely order it in restaurants and if I do, I will usually share it. They had a dessert called the apple gilet which featured caramelized apples baked in a puff pastry shell with caramel drizzle and vanilla ice cream. This dessert was the perfect combination of flavour and texture. I love the texture of food sometimes more than the taste. If this dessert were a musical on Broadway, it would have won a Tony. As far as sharing went, Deb got a tiny taste.

If you have not tried the Cactus Club lately, I highly recommend you give it a try. Stick to the ‘Rob Feenie’ dishes if you can as these are definitely a cut above.

PSA: YOU are the Cause of Accidents!!!

To the Asshole who cut me off this morning:

Perhaps you were not paying attention. Maybe you were talking on your phone or maybe you just shouldn’t have a license. Turning right in front of someone doing 70 or 80 km/h is not ok. Then, to add insult to injury, you went 20 km/h under the speed limit! Am trying so hard not to road rage. I spend far too much time on the road to participate in too much road rage. It is also far too hard on my anxiety levels when I let road rage take over me. You did not help today. Luckily the lab was not busy when I got there and that made me happier.

Seriously though, take this as a PSA: Try and gauge the speed that the car you want to turn in front of is going before you pull in front. This way you will not cause an accident that will be deemed someone else’s fault or cause them to have insane road rage at your stupidity!

NB: not that any of my loyal readers (who sometimes number in the triple digits if you can believe it) would ever do something like that!

Raw-feeding 101

I am re-running a post from August 19, 2008. Original link here if you want to read the comments. I have been having discussions with several people about raw feeding so I thought it would be great to re-run this post. I have also updated with some new ideas and a new link at the bottom.

I am often asked about how one goes about converting a dog from kibble to raw. Many people, concerned about the pet food poisonings from last year, are looking for a more healthy way to feed their animals. What better way than feeding carnivores a species appropriate diet of raw meat and bone? Raw feeding is not rocket science. We have been conditioned over the years by vets and pet food companies that our dogs need all these supplement and special foods that can only be found in their expensive kibble. Now, I am not going to go into all the evils of kibble. There are lots of sites out there that discuss this issue far better than I could. Here is a good link.

There are different methods of feeding a raw diet. The two prominent ones are the BARF (bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw foods) and RMBs (raw meaty bones). People who feed BARF believe that in addition to feeding raw meat you feed raw vegetables as well. Now, I am not going to get into the debate about whether or not dogs need vegetables. Personally, I don’t believe they do. That being said our dogs do get some vegetables in their diets. In my opinion, dogs need a healthy variety in their diets which includes all sorts of foods.

Once you decide to feed raw you are faced with a plethora of choices. Should you feed ground raw? What about veggies? Grains? Supplements? It can be an extremely daunting undertaking. We first decided to feed raw when one of our shihtzus developed a bladder stone. When it was removed it looked identical to a piece of Iams kibble – which is what they had eaten for years. I did a little research and learned pretty quickly that bladder stones form in a high ph environment in the body. Feeding raw makes the body more acidic and prohibits the formation of the stones. At first we fed a ground raw that had veggies, supplements and some kind of grain ie oats, rice etc. We did this for a while until the quality started to slip and the dogs would no longer eat it. We then tried making our own which proved to be a whole lot of work and not much fun. More research let us to the conclusion that feeding raw meaty bones was the most appropriate diet for our canine family.

Now, a little definition, a raw meaty bone (RMB) is not a bone with a little meat. Think of a chicken leg and thigh and that is what I am referring to when I talk about RMBs. Another good example is pork bones, riblets, ribs, chops etc. Dogs are able to chew up and digest raw chicken and pork bones. These bones are only dangerous to our dogs in the cooked form. Beef ribs and shank steaks, for example, are also good examples of RMBs but the dogs cannot chew up the beef bones.

If you are considering starting your dog on RMBs, and your dog is a bit of a gulper, it is wise to start with pieces that are larger than the dog’s head. This will encourage the dog to chew and eat the food rather than swallowing it whole. When first starting out it is advisable to start with one meat source – chicken is usually a good first choice for many reasons. Chicken has almost the perfect ratio of meat, bone and organ (more about that later). The bone is easily eaten and digested by the dogs. It takes the dogs a couple of weeks to adjust to the new diet and there could be diarrhea. Chicken will mitigate this problem. The bone in the chicken will help to produce firm stools (bone poops). After a couple of weeks you can start to add other meats. If the dog develops diarrhea then adding some chicken bone with richer meat is one solution. For the first couple of weeks it is also a good idea to give the dog some yogurt – like plain astro or something like that.

Let’s talk about amounts of food and ratios. First of all you want to feed 1-3% of a dog’s ideal body weight depending on the dog’s activity level. You will need to buy a scale and weigh the food. You also want to feed based on the following ratio: 10% bone, 10% organ – of which 50% is liver. Now, before I lose you, you don’t need to feed this everyday. We are striving for balance over time. In our house we rotate through different meats, every other day is chicken as it is the perfect ratio. Getting the organs in can sometimes pose a problem as some dogs don’t like them. We have that problem here and have solved the problem by drying liver and other organ meats for the dogs.
A bit about sourcing the food for your dog. We find that we get really good variety from a small Asian grocery store in Vancouver. We get excellent prices and they will cut and package the meat as we want. They also have more ‘diversity’ than your average grocery store. We have found things like pig snouts, pig tails, lung, spleen, chicken feet, rabbit etc. You need to make sure that you find a reputable source for your meat. If feeding your dog organic is important to you then you will want to find an organic source.

Dog size is no barrier to feeding raw. In our house we started the pug on raw at 6 weeks of age. She had her first lamb neck slice at 8 weeks. Everyone eats raw at our house. We have a 19 year old Pomeranian who has no teeth. We were giving her other food and she started to steal RMBs from the other dogs. So we gave up. We still need to supplement her diet with some commercial food as she cannot eat the bone (no teeth) and she develops diarrhea from time to time. She really enjoys here RMBs and can strip a raw chicken leg in under 15 minutes. The other dogs are very helpful by cleaning up her bones when she is done.

What benefits can you expect from feeding raw? Overall we have noticed an increased level of health. Our dogs have not been treated for fleas since we got rid of the fleas in the house we bought. We have not treated for fleas for over 18 months in spite of the fact that we have multiple dogs who go offleash all the time. Our dogs seem to need to go to the vet less. Their teeth are pristine. All of the bone chewing, meat ripping and masticating keeps their teeth in great shape.  Raw also helps dogs who are prone to allergies. Their meals are entertaining for them and very enjoyable.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will answer them there or expand this post. Here are some other great links:
Rawfeeding group at Yahoo – high volume list.
Raw Meaty Bones list at Yahoo

Update for October 24, 2010

Lately we have been revising how we feed somewhat. We still feed primarily raw meaty bones. However we have branched out a little more in what we feed. This is based on our belief that dogs need variety and coupled with the fact that sometimes we are not as organized as we should be.

We are now, occasionally, feeding a high quality kibble with canned. They get this about once every 2 weeks. Our smallest dog, Molly, has no teeth and is unable to eat bone although she does just fine stripping the meat off. She is now being fed some ground raw. Clio also needs some extra calories as she has always been quite thin. She has always been thin and now she seems to be burning more when she coughs. We supplement her with higher calorie meats with bone ground in so she does not get diarrhea, to which she is also prone. She really seems to like duck.

Sometimes we are cooking for them now which they also seem to enjoy. This started when we had a flu bug come through. Cooking ground meat and rice seems to help firm up their stools plus they really like it!

I think they key is variety. A dog who eats different food all the time will not get into trouble if they get into something they shouldn’t. Some dogs, who eat straight kibble, can have an adverse reaction if they get into something fatty. I have heard of dogs who end up with pancreatitis as a result. Feeding dogs a variety of foods helps keep their digestive systems nimble and prepared for anything.

Here is another interesting link about commercial pet food.

Dispatches from the Swamp – The I don’t believe it edition

I love my morning shower. Actually we both love our morning showers! A really good shower sets the tone for the day for me. We have always bought nice shower stuff. Lately though we have been buying lots of stuff from the Body Shop. Their new shampoos and conditioners are awesome. I love their Satsuma line of products from the body wash to the body butter. I really enjoy the different natural scents that come from good products.

Now on to the ridiculous. I cannot believe that Randy and Evi Quaid have claimed refugee status in Canada. Apparently they fear for their safety from the Hollywood ‘star whackers.’ Personally, I think they need a good psychiatrist instead of a lawyer.

Gave Up

Well today I gave up and took my right Fluevog boot in to get stretched. I have been trying to break it in for a week now. I put them on again and just about screamed. It will take a couple of days and hopefully this will work!