After 27 years of marriage, my husband and I started a second family: we adopted a dog.
I’m the last person I would expect to own a pet. We grew up as one of four siblings, with three cats and two dogs, our house was the highest zoo in the neighborhood.
I wasn’t interested in playing Babo, Chris, Pepe Kitty, or Ms. Pac or Little Bit (so named because most of its tail was cut off in an accident with a paper cutter). The dogs were indifferent to the walk, because they kept each other entertained. The only thing I got in exchange for changing the litter box, or opening a packet of smelly cat food, was Siamese and calico cat hair on my bed duvet.
Perhaps your recent change in behavior toward pet ownership is due to the emotional roller coaster that represents life. My youngest son graduated from college. Premenopausal sucks. I’m pretty sure I’m suffering from the lingering effects of Pandemic Stress Disorder. And I make the medical decisions for my mom in her 80s, whose dementia continues to spiral downward.
The day I cut off my mom’s mobile phone – because she no longer understood how to operate a clamshell model – was tough. But, Peaches, as they were actually named when we got them, were there for me with medicated licks and tummy looking forward to rubbing.
When my husband and I took Peaches home from Fulton County Animal Services in June, we naively thought we were getting a deal, because the adoption fee had been waived. In our enthusiasm to take home the best dog in the shelter, we didn’t realize that we had chosen a pure, lively American terrier that required a lot of training. Thank goodness Cesar Millan, aka Dog Whisperer, and his YouTube videos.
After visits to the pet store and the vet, we soon learned that Sterling Free Dog isn’t really free.
The dog food aisle is particularly perplexing. Do we feed canned peaches, dry or mixed? I don’t remember looking too hard at the labels when I’m feeding my kids. Now, I’ve read the nutritional data on 50-pound bags of dry dog food that promotes oral care, immunity, digestion, skin and coat benefits. There are many varieties.
Then, there’s the broad category of dog treats, which we’ve learned are especially helpful for training. We’ve tried at least three brands, because some of them seem to give them solutions. Just like our kids were wearing diapers, we study peach poo for clues about their digestive health.
And we don’t wait for vet visits to see if our 5-year-old rescue dog has gained a few pounds. We stand with her on the ladder of the house and without her and subtract the difference.
It goes beyond food.
I’m attentive to moisturizing my peach like. While hiking, we wear them in a dog saddlebag and toss water bottles in both side bags. This summer, when I unwrapped a birthday present from a water bottle, with a collapsible plastic water bowl for my dog, you thought I received a diamond ring.
Turns out, I’m not the only one obsessed with my dog’s well-being.
We’re in a moment of “a dog moms crazy revolution,” said Rachel Meyer, owner of Botanical Bones, a premium dog treat company in Asheville, North Carolina.
I met Meyer earlier this month at Chow Chow, an annual festival in Asheville that celebrates food in the southern Appalachian region. Meyer was selling her collection of peanut butter dog goodies. The power of Botanical Bone Flower supports immunity and wellness. Balance and calm, which we try on peach, helps noisy dogs to relax. Inner Glow enhances digestion.
The dog-loving Mayer launched her company during the pandemic. “While everyone was making sourdough, I started making treats for the dogs,” she said. Her thriving business is about to explode, thanks to a recent $50,000 grant awarded by NC Idea, a foundation that supports entrepreneurship in North Carolina.
Mayer also collaborated with Atlanta-based boutique dog treat maker Amanda Yu-Nguyen on the dog trail mix. The mix includes unsweetened banana chips, dried blueberries, dried carrots, freeze-dried green beans, and dog treats. Meyer said they sold out within two hours. They restocked it, and each time the mix sold out quickly.
Similar to Meyer, Yu-Nguyen’s small business idea took shape during the pandemic. For Barkuterie Boards, she sponsors custom-made Charcuterie-style boards for dogs. Their perishable bars—available only for pickup or delivery in Metro Atlanta—include high-protein bites made with tuna, shrimp, beef, and antelope, as well as carrot, pumpkin, cucumber rose, and other treats that will freshen up pups. ears. The non-perishable plates, which they ship nationwide, are made from vegetable and fruit shapes. The boards can also be customized with the dog’s name written in letters made of cheese.
Peaches’ credentials indicate that her birthday is March 3. I might actually be willing to splurge $40 on one of Yu-Nguyen’s creations to celebrate the occasion.
My four-legged therapist is totally worth it.
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