Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Wolf In Dog's Clothing

The importance for Cullen to maintain his strength, stamina, and health is essential if he is to climb mountains and last on hikes that are about 15+ miles. It would be completely selfish for me to make sure I get the proper nutrients and top quality foods and shaft him, making him eat cheap kibble polluted with corn, flour, and other inadequate fillers and hazardous chemicals. As we all know, dogs are descendants of wolves and if you think throughout the years their DNA make up has strayed far from each other it is time to think again. Recent research has proved that the DNA between dogs and wolves is less than 1%, which is less than the DNA compounds compared between wolves and coyotes. The last time I checked the wolves were not eating harmful chemical preservatives and other artificial additives poured from a plastic bag.

When Cullen first came into my life, just like everyone else with their first dog, I was blind to the fact how unbalanced and dangerous a lot of dog foods can be. Once I realized the potential in Cullen’s physical and mental abilities I started doing more research on dogs and the types of nutrition they require. With the information gathered I found that his diet was not going to differ too much from the one I was on; a high protein, high fat diet supplemented with veggies and fruit. Now-a-days, Cullen and I eat almost the same meals every night. However, there are some serious differences between us. I eat my meat cooked, where he eats his raw. Due to the digestive make up of dog’s stomachs they are able to process raw meats, a gift they inherited from the wolf. I always make sure to supplement his meals with fruits or veggies, because they contain phytochemicals that help defend against cancer, and also offer a good supply of fiber.

There is no way I would be able to financially swing feeding Cull dog just off of the food my fiancĂ© and I eat, so I do purchase bagged dog food. Moreover, I am extremely careful of which foods I get for him. His foods are free of preservatives or coloring, free of grains,  and have an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) certification, which can be found somewhere on the packaging. I do regularly put some kibble in with his raw meat, just be sure he is used to it for the times we will spend the night in the woods.

I give a lot of credit to Cullen’s diet when it comes to him doing all the things he is able to do. He doesn’t drink as much water as others dogs during times of high activity, his endurance is beyond what I have seen in dogs his size (or almost any dog), and his bowel movements are small and less stinky (indicating he is absorbing more of the nutrients), and his breath and teeth are much cleaner. If you find that you want to make a change to better your dogs diet and improve their health, and ultimately enhance the years they are with you, take the time to find out what really belongs in your dog's stomach. Afterall ,your dog is more wolf than anything else, so why feed him/her machine made products as a main source of nutrients.   

(Of course there are certain meats, veggies and fruits that do not belong in your dog’s stomach, SO DO YOUR RESEARCH) I suggest checking out Ted Kerasote’s website. You will find a lot of usefully info there and a lot of helpful links.  http://www.kerasote.com/healthy-dogs.php     

Cullen just about to devour some organic lamb, carrots, and broccoli. You never see a dog licking their lips before they consume some kibble do you?  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Love Is Friendship

We are too easily blinded from the true meaning of love, happiness, friendship. We get certain ideas and images in our heads and we expect the events to go exactly as planned. It can be a husband or wife so dedicated to supporting their partner they start to get too distracted by work, it can be a dad so driven to see his son score a touchdown he over trains him and becomes to forceful, it can be a radicalist who thinks bombing a country is going to get them world power, OR, it can be a young man who loves hiking mountains with his dog so much that he tries to take him out during the winter months and gets frustrated with him because his breed can’t handle the amount of snow. For that is exactly what happened over the weekend, and I write this now feeling complete shame and regret.

Thursday night was spent preparing for our 10mile hike up Mt. Moriah. I spent a couple hours re-reading the route and learning the mountain through maps and guide books, packing our gear, and making sure we were well prepared for the trip. The next morning I woke up at 4am to get an early start to the day, due to the fact we had to drive 2 hours and 30 minutes to the trail head. As we started our hike it was more than noticeable that this trail was not heavily hiked by others, which left us breaking trail. Cullen was forced to hike behind me and hop from foot print to foot print just so he wouldn’t get completely buried.

My realization that this hike was not going to be safe for him started to become very noticeable; and just like that all the efforts put into this trip were rendered pointless. I am all about Cullen’s safety, which is the exact reason I decided to turn around, but for whatever reason I found myself frustrated with Cullen. I found myself blaming him for the turn-a-round we were in. The truth is as the day continued on it was me who was in the red. There was no blame to be held on Cull dog. He was perfect in every single way possible, and though he may be able to accompany me on mountain bike trips, kayak trips, four-wheeler trip, and extremely long hiking trips the fact is he does not belong in the Whites during deep snow season.

I realized that yesterday’s challenge was not meant to be the hike up Moriah, but something greater. It was not a journey for my body and mind, but rather it was a journey for my heart. It was a test of compassion, and to see the truth in all things. Cullen is my greatest friend and I vowed to finish these 48 mountains with him by my side. Yesterday taught me that the sometimes in order to go ahead in life we have to take a step back. Never let your own ambitions and thought blind you from your love and understanding of those closest to you. It is not worth the grief you will feel, and I am more than lucky to have such a loyal friend to forgive me at the end of the day. In order to live a life full of love, happiness, and friendship we must be able to see past our own visions and into the hearts of those we love most.
"Love is frienship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is  loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses."
-Ann Landers