I’ve had a pet dog for as long as I can remember. The saddest is when they pass away due to old age and you have to get over it, move on and find another. I had Rex for 10 years, Rommel for 8 years, Rusty for 15 years and this last one Alfred for 8 years so far. The only time I haven’t had a dog is when I travelled away from home and worked in far away places. In that time I owned 1 cat, a budgie, 3 hermit crabs and 3 children. The children left home and have pets of their own. 🙂

In all that time I had to find the right feed for each animal, because, like humans, they have likes and dislikes. The only difference is that if you want a dog to change its diet you’re going to have to watch it starve itself for 2 or 3 days. They turn their nose up at the first change but soon enough, hunger takes over. Hmmm, that’s like humans anyway isn’t it? If you don’t have anything to eat for a few days you will eat whatever is served up, like it or not!

My Red Cloud Kelpie, Rusty (obvious name, yes), developed a problem at the age of about 2 when he would not put on any weight regardless of what I fed him. In fact, it looked like he was losing weight as his ribs started sticking out until I was fearful to walk him lest somebody thought I was mistreating the poor pooch. A couple of visits to the vet meant change of dog foods, of course, but even though he got used to the change, he still remained skinny. He was a working dog and I did take him for walks more than once a day. This dog became my constant companion. I took him everywhere.

I went to a sort of ‘dog whisperer’ friend and he said: Cook some rice, mix in the minced beef, add some vegetables like carrots and potatoes, mash it all up together, then add some vegemite. Good grief! Vegemite! Like black tar. I didn’t like the stuff although my kids swear by it and ate it for breakfast all the time. So, I followed the regime and sure enough, Rusty loved it, ate it and grew a little fatter.

But that became a real burden, a chore, to cook every 3 or 4 days and I needed to change him back to a proper animal diet that contained the vitamins he needed. That’s when I stumbled onto the weirdest named dog food called Barking Heads Grain Free. Bingo! To say he wolfed (woofed?) that down is an understatement. It was probably the reason that he lived a fairly active life until 15. I should never have written this story. I have tears in my eyes remembering Rusty. Darn!