The commercial kibble industry can be very intimidating. Thanks to social media, you might have seen some video or stories giving you the behind the scenes "horrors of the commercial dog food". It can all be very overwhelming. If you ask opinions on dog food, that is exactly what you will get. Hundreds of people telling you what is "garbage" or what is "the best". I'm ready to tell everyone my opinion. And that is they all can be right and wrong at the same time!
There is no way ever that one food can be the best for every dog. Dogs have different lifestyles, energy levels, sizes, etc. Some breeds are more prone to allergies or sensitivities. Some breeds supposedly need to meet certain requirements. Some breeds supposedly need higher amounts of protein or fat. The list goes on. Some people act like their breeder or their vet has a degree in nutrition and can't be wrong. Let me tell you, it's craziness. Most vets and breeders are not qualified to give professional nutritional advice! Once you accept that, you'll know that hundreds of people on the internet telling you this or that doesn't mean anything, either. With that being said, you have to choose whatever you are comfortable with.
I see so many people giving certain brands a bad name because of one recall. Yes, it is very unfortunate that anything gets recalled, regardless of the reason. I can't tell you how many times my food has been recalled. Just the other day, I noticed my family favorite goldfish crackers were recalled for possible salmonella contamination. Do you think I would boycott them after almost 40 years of eating them? Not at all. If my dog food was recalled, I wouldn't boycott them either. Think about some of the kibble companies that have been around forever. Coincidentally, these are some of the same companies that are labeled "garbage" for having too many issues.
Are kibble diets quality? Probably not. But most of us don't care much. It's easy and mostly affordable. The same reasons we feed our kids chicken nuggets and macaroni. My point is, no matter who you talk to, you'll get a different opinion. Don't let someone tell you an affordable kibble is junk. If your dog is healthy, keep on doing what you do! If you feel confident paying upwards of $100 for a 28 pound bag of the fancy stuff, great! If you have the time and commitment to raw feeding, awesome. Can you tell what a dog eats just by looking at them? I don't think so. It shouldn't matter. If your choice is working for you and your dog, don't let anyone change your mind. In my opinion, all that matters is a healthy and happy dog. Not what goes into the food bowl.
Are you ready for a puppy? I'm not really sure what some people expect when they decide to get a puppy. My best advice before you splurge on the little fluff ball is to do your homework. Make sure you are equipped for the breed you choose.
The biggest things to consider are:
This is not the usual, "adopt, don't shop" banter.
I want to give some insight into the rescue world. I recently had the chance to chat with a few friends who are very passionate about their rescue duties. Before I get into their thoughts, I want to share some statistics.
According to the ASPCA, there are roughly 3.3 million dogs that enter U.S. shelters every year. This number has actually dropped since 2011. An estimated number of dogs euthanized in shelters are 670,000 a year. The happy endings consist of about 1.6 million dogs adopted and an average of 620,000 dogs who are reunited with their owners every year. (https://www.aspca.org)
photo courtesy of WAGS
Trina Moses from WAGS Rescue states that she has been involved with animal welfare for over 15 years. I asked Trina how she got involved in rescue. She says she starting out just helping a couple different groups, but the need was so great, she stepped back and focused on her own career. Once moving to Georgia, she found the need to save dogs was even greater and she just couldn't turn away.
"I have seen a lot of state's animal welfare systems and Southern Georgia is, by far, the worst..." ~ Trina
The WAGS Rescue has only started in May 2017 and as of May 2018 they recorded an intake of 538 dogs. They have adopted out all but 6 who had passed away of natural causes. WAGS now averages an intake of at least 100 dogs a month with 80-100 adoptions. These are, in my opinion, excellent numbers for the adoptions. Georgia is not the only state with a high volume of intake.
Another animal advocate with a huge heart is Michele Raychel from 4 the Love of Corsos Rescue in Texas. She agrees that the southern states are definitely the worst for misplaced animals. We don't know if Texas is bad due to size and population or possible effect from natural disasters. Probably a little of both. She states that it can be very hard work and pretty depressing at times. "When you see a family love a dog the way you do and know it will be loved forever, all of the sadness goes away." Michele is a single mom who is currently caring for 14 dogs. She has such a passion for animals that she often has her credit cards charged to the max providing for dogs. Yes, I said one person caring for 14 dogs. I know I could not do that, but there are more than you would think that make it happen.
All in all, rescue is working! You certainly do not have to adopt or volunteer to help solve the issues. Sharing a social media post, advocating spay and neuter, even microchipping or licensing your own dog/pet can help. There will never be enough resources and hands in the rescues to prove to everyone how great the difference is. The rescue workers are committed. Some say it's like the mafia, "once you get in, you can never truly leave". Whatever the next big step is for rescue success, the animals need any and all help they can get. Please, try to do your part. No matter how small.
photo courtesy of WAGS
If you are interested to learn more about WAGS or the adoptable dogs featured in these photos, please visit https://wags-rescue.org/
Both Trina and Michele are active members of https://www.facebook.com/groups/LargeGiantBreedRescueOutreachandNetwork/