My Dog-The Vegetarian
Meet Taz (short for Tazmanian Devil), a 6 month old Mini-Pincher/Chihuahua mix that we rescued from the Fort Wayne, In. animal shelter.
This sweet little dog never uttered a peep on the way home from the pound, sitting calmly in the backseat of our vehicle; behaved himself the whole time we were in Pet Smart shopping for a pet pen and various treats.
When he entered our house for the first time I quickly put down a pee pad hoping I’d be able to house break him eventually. Taz walked right over to the pad and did his business…whaaaat? Amazing! Then he played…and played…and tinkled…and played. My wife and I both commented what a perfect dog he was.
Our last dog, Stella, was a tough act to follow. Losing her broke our hearts. I was convinced that if I only could have afforded to feed her a good “live” dog food instead of the dead kibble that comes in a bag she would have lived longer. So when Taz came along I was still unable to afford a high-quality raw food for him. But I did get him what we considered to be the best of the dead dry food.
“My Dog Won’t Eat It – It’s Green”
The above quote is from a jingle for a stupid commercial that was on the television more only a few years ago. I don’t even know what they were selling but that darn jingle is stuck in my brain forever. I just assumed dogs would not eat anything green for the longest time. Now Stella would eat the occasional roasted asparagus spear but that’s as far as it went except for the plantain or dandilion greens she would pull out of the ground when she had an upset stomach.
In mid-May I removed the row cover from my broccoli plants and was excited to see that I had two decent sized heads ready to harvest. Visions of crunchy fresh broccoli with salt and pepper danced in my mind. I cut the florets off of the plant and placed them in a small basket to take inside for cleaning.
When I got into the kitchen I sat the basket down on a chair while I washed my hands at the sink. When I turned around the basket was on the floor and Taz was quickly devouring the second head of broccoli. He must have just inhaled the first head because it was nowhere to be found. When he finished he just stared at me while wagging his tail as if to say, “That’s it…that’s all you got?”
A few weeks later I became interested in fermented foods like milk kefir and cultured vegetables. I read all kinds of sensational account of these “super-foods” healing everything from nearly dead kidneys to brain tumors (of which I have both). I have been making my own sauerkraut for years but that was all I knew about lacto-fermentation.
My first experiment was fermenting green beans. Not a big fan-I’m a yellow wax bean kind of guy-but I gave it ago. My downfall was adding way too many spices. I fermented them for three days and when I did the taste test I about gagged. But being the kind and concerned dog owner that I am I offered one of the beans to Taz who promptly chewed and swallowed.
I gave him another, then another, until all were gone. I couldn’t believe it! I kept waiting for him to recycle them onto the floor but he just stood there wagging his tail waiting to see if there was more to come.
Then the idea came to me that even though I couldn’t afford a healthy raw food diet for my dog, I could certainly afford some fresh vegetables, water, and salt. The good bacteria in the fermented vegetables would be better for him in the long run than anything I could get in the dog food aisle of the nearest supermarket.
My next stop on the road to a healthy probiotic diet was whole milk kefir. I was really counting on this to be the magic bullet I was looking for to rejuvinate my internal organs and lower my blood sugar levels. But it did not. It spiked my blood sugar and, I think, prompted a gout attack. But Taz loved it. He looked forward to a bit of it every morning and evening.
I was bummed for a couple of days after the kefir incident but then I remembered that I still had a gallon of sauerkraut fermenting in the office that should be done. So I had a big helping of kraut with my eggs and smoked sausage for breakfast. Did I mention that fermented vegetables have 4-6 times more probiotics than yogurt? It’s true.
I gave Taz a taste of the sauerkraut and he seemed to like it. So I dished out about 3/4 of a cup of kraut into his dish and he gobbled it right down! That improved my attitude tremendously and I feel more confident now that Taz will be getting the nutrition he needs as long as I can continue to supplement his dry dog food with fermented vegetables.
And those over-spiced, yucky green beans are still a winner in Taz’s eyes.
***Oldfart Note:Check out the fermentation recipes on the main menu and get that good gut flora thriving.***