Paw It Forward

by Ward Johnson | August 08, 2014

I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN with a household full of animals (three of whom were my siblings). We had two cats. Claude, the hunter who’s constantly shedding mane resembled something close to Donald Trump’s comb-over. Claude was an outdoor cat and he ruled the neighborhood with an iron claw. In his later years, we got him an understudy, Grover, who appreciated the attention of humans more so than his feline master and spent a fair amount of time indoors. Both expressed their appreciation of a full food dish by periodically leaving dead rodents on our front doorstep. I can’t imagine how offended they must have been when they witnessed my mom discarding the tiny carcasses in the garbage. Perhaps they reasoned that it was some sort of ritualistic pay-it-forward sacrifice to the garbageman — because they continued to heap praise on us with dead mice, chipmunks, and the occasional squirrel throughout the 70‘s and 80‘s.

And of course there was a cavalcade of dogs. There was the back-to-back Lhasa Apsos, Pride and Himalaya. From what I remember they were both very loud and very hyper. There was Bartlett, a giant mutt who once ate an entire jumbo box of crayons and pooped rainbows all over our yard. And my personal favorite was Chuggers, an English Springer Spaniel who strangely was named after a bar in Chattanooga, TN. Chuggers passed away before her time having struggled through her final years on prescription diets aimed at relieving her horrible allergies, itching, and hot spots.

Though we grew up on the most ultra-healthy and horrible-tasting diet imaginable – from cod liver oil shakes for breakfast to grotesque cabbage-infused concoctions for dinner – our dogs ate kibble. It seems since the dawn of “pet food”, even the most ardently health-oriented dog lovers have been trained to believe that feeding a pet is complicated business that is best left to the experts.

The reality is that it’s no less common sense than feeding your own children. In all likelihood, a natural diet consisting of real, raw nutrition derived from actual meat, fruits and vegetables would have saved Chuggers and made her golden years truly golden. I suppose the plight of Chuggers is what led me to work at a holistic veterinary clinic after college, which led directly to me owning Sojos. And so, 18 years later, as I continue to spread the gospel of fresh, raw food for pets, I do so in honor of all of the four-legged friends, from Claude to Andy – and everyone in between.