Friday, October 20, 2017

Free Puppy to Good Home - Neeko's Embark DNA Results

To read about Bruce's Embark DNA results, click HERE

To read about Faolan's Embark DNA results, click  HERE.



I have written about how I came about owning Neeko in the past - stumbling upon the "Free to good home" puppy ad in my previous employer's online employee bulletin board, going to look at puppies, and falling in love with a 12 lb ball of fluff.

She was seriously the cutest baby dog ever.


I didn't meet her parents. I was so enamored by the adorable-ness of her that I didn't care. And, at that time, I didn't know any better.

I figured she was a "husky" mix. She grew, and grew some more. I had no idea she would end up as large as she is. Her coat changed. She went from a typical grey northern breed coloring to a blond bombshell. She is very "leggy." I did tons of research, and wondered if she didn't have something different in her. I could see German Shepherd in her personality and trainability based upon what I had read.

Several years ago, I ran an older version of Wisdom Panel on her, and wasn't really impressed with the results.

After being so pleased with the process of Faolan's Embark DNA testing, I decided to test both Neeko and Bruce. I have only nice things to say about the company and the process. (The only thing they have been inaccurate on is weights. They grossly underestimated the weights of both Neeko and Bruce, and both are very lean dogs.)

I received Neeko's results more quickly than either of the boys, they took a little over 4 weeks to process.


She mostly German Shepherd, with some northern breed thrown in for good measure, and a smidge of grey wolf somewhere in the woodpile.

Due to some of her physical traits, I am somewhat shocked that collie or great pyrenees didn't show up in the mix. Her coat is insane.

I have always called her my beautiful mutt, and have learned that is indeed what she is. The best things in life are free, and she is proof of that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Easy Bone Broth Recipe You Can Share With Your Dog


I am a huge fan of bone broth, both for myself and my dogs. On a cold day, I enjoy a hot cup of bone broth in the afternoon more than a cup of coffee.

I don't claim it to be a cure-all, but it is nourishing and hydrating. And something about drinking it feels soothing for me.

It is a source of various nutrients and minerals, along with the well publicized collagen, for both humans and dogs. The collagen and nutrients in bone broth can potentially be beneficial for joints, GI systems, skin and hair/coat.

Why not make a batch that is beneficial for dogs, but also delicious for humans?

Ingredients
  • Large, cut beef joint bones
  • 8-9 cups water
  • 4 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • Several smashed garlic cloves
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt for the humans, added just prior to drinking


The key to delicious bone broth is roasting the bones.

Start with some beef joint bones. I purchased mine from a local butcher. Line a baking sheet with foil, and preheat oven to 450.

Place bones on sheet, and pop in oven. Roast for 25-45 minutes, depending on size. They are done when they smell delicious, and are nicely browned. Try not to eat the marrow that may be attempting to seep out. (If you haven't tried roasted bone marrow, I highly recommend it.)



Place roasted bones in a large crockpot, and cover with water. Smash several garlic cloves. It's ok to leave the skin on. (Omit this step if you are not comfortable giving your dogs garlic.) Add garlic, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and fresh ground black pepper. Some optional, but not necessary additions are other dog-safe herbs, carrots, celery, etc. If it is just for human enjoyment, I like to add a rough chopped whole onion, skin and all.


Cover crockpot, plug it in (I have forgotten this step!), turn on low, and forget about it for 24 hours or so.

I find starting a batch of bone broth in the evening the easiest. It cooks for 24 hours, and needs to be refrigerated at least overnight. By starting it in the evening, I never rushed in the morning to move to the next step. 

After it has cooked for 24 hours, remove the lid. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove all solids, placing them in a colander set over a bowl. Return any liquids that drain into the bowl to the pot. If their are carrots, celery, or the like present, use the spoon to push any liquid from them into the bowl to return to the pot.

Transfer contents of the crockpot to a large room temperature pan or bowl, cover and place in refrigerator.

Let refrigerate at least overnight, and remove.


The fat will solidify at the top, and can be easily scooped off with a spoon. I like to leave a little fat behind, for flavor.

You should now have a container of broth the consistency of jelly, thanks to all that beneficial gelatin.


Scoop the beautiful, gelatinous broth into bowls or storage containers, and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze.

For my dogs, I feed it cold, as is.

For myself, I cut it with water, add a little salt, and heat up to make a soothing, nourishing beverage.


It also makes a great base, when cut with a little water, for any soup or recipe that calls for broth!

Have you tried bone broth?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Black Cat After Dark #ChewyInfluencer

My sleek black kitty Noelle can be both elusive and finicky. It's fitting that she is a black cat. What better food to offer her than Tiki Cat After Dark, from our friends at chewy.com.


We are Chewy Influencers. I was provided with complimentary product, but all opinions are strictly my own.

I am a huge fan of wet food in a cat's diet for a variety of reasons. It provides much needed moisture, is less processed, and even the pickiest of cats seem to enjoy wet food.

We were sent the 6 flavor variety pack of Tiki Cat After Dark. From the chewy website "a selection of gourmet recipes that are carefully designed to mimic a natural prey diet." As someone who feeds her dogs a prey model raw diet, and has attempted multiple times to do the same with her cats, this makes me happy.

It contains 6 different flavors, all chicken based, with broth, meat, and organs as the primary ingredients.


It looks good enough for me to eat.


Sleek Noelle (can you believe she is almost 12?!) will sometimes attempt to cover wet foods with her paw if they do not please her. That was not the case with Tiki Cat After Dark.


I love watching her lap up the broth, and devour the food. Cats tend to not have a strong thirst drive, as they are meant to get moisture and fluids from the food they eat. So I love the broth in this food.

I love that it is grain-free. Juice kitty seems to have food allergies, and this has not aggravated them in the slightest.

I am glad to include this in my girls' wet food rotation. It is a wet food made from real ingredients, is grain-free, provides ample moisture, and they love the taste!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Embark DNA Testing and Wolfdog Misrepresentation

I spent my own money to purchase all the Embark DNA kits I have used, and my experiences with them are not at all influenced. To save $30 on an Embark DNA Test for your own dog, click HERE.

To read about Faolan's Embark DNA results, click HERE.



Wolfdog misrepresentation has always been a hot topic in the wolfdog community. There used to be groups based solely on this premise. Want to see tempers and opinions fly? Misrepresent the wolf content of your dog or wolfdog, and refuse to listen to any education or criticism about it.

There are many negative consequences of misrepresenting one's "wolfdog." There can be legal consequences, as they are not legal in all localities. There can be consequences of an intense animal falling into the hands of unprepared owner, among other consequences.

Courts are using DNA testing of dogs more frequently now. There are several states and localities where it is illegal to have a "wolfdog" be it 90% wolf, or 10% wolf. Improperly labeling an animal that has ZERO wolf content could *potentially* cost that animal it's life if DNA testing is not used.

Wolfdogs are typically divided into three different content levels - low content, mid content, and high contents.

  • Low contents typically possess mostly dog traits, but with some visible wolf traits.
  • Mid contents should be a pretty even match of dog traits and wolf traits.
  • High contents should display mostly wolf characteristics, with a few dog traits thrown in for good measure.
I think my Faolan is a decent example of a low content wolfdog.

I adopted Bruce 6.5 years ago from a local Siberian Husky/northern breed rescue. He was adopted out as a Malamute/Husky mix. Though he is a rescue, I was able to track down his breeder, and provided with his lineage. 

I was told that Bruce was the product of purebred Alaskan Malamute dam and a "high content" sire. I was told his sire was 84% wolf, and that Bruce was 42% wolf.

I have always known that Bruce had heavy Malamute influence.


I ordered an Embark DNA test. Like Faolan's test, I am again incredibly pleased. I have nothing but nice things to say about the process and the company.

It was a smooth process, approximately 6 weeks from sending off the test to receiving results.

The Results

Bruce's health results came back all clear. I have received his breed results. 


Big shocker, he is a mostly Malamute. 

His wolf content (percentage) came back at 1/3 of what he was represented as. He also has some German Shepherd and Siberian Husky present, which is no surprise as these breeds are very commonly present in wolfdogs. 

I never once thought or believed that Bruce was 42% wolf. But actual purchasers of similar animals might truly believe their animals are. This could be problematic, because a wolfdog with that content might present challenges that the owners' are ill-equipped for. Those animals could end up in a shelter, where they are rarely adopted out, or even worse. (I truly hope that none of Bruce's littermates have the issues that he has.)

Did Bruce's breeder intentionally misrepresent he and his littermates, and their sire? I have no way of knowing. 

Some who learn that an animal has less wolf content than what they previously believed might be angry, embarrassed or sad. Some become defensive. For some, the amount of wolf present is the most important thing, and this is unfortunate and only about ego. 

So is Bruce actually a wolfdog at all? Some would say yes, Bruce is a low content wolfdog. Some would say no, he is a dog with recent wolf heritage. To me, it is semantics. 

No matter what Bruce is, I love him.

To view Bruce's actual Embark results, click HERE


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Happy Birthday Faolan!


I call today Faolan's birthday.

I don't know when it actually is. I adopted him on July 5, and the shelter guesstimated him at 9 months old. So we celebrate it October 5.

He is now 6, supposedly officially middle-aged. He hasn't received the memo, though.



He is joyful, energetic, and fun loving. He is as sweet as candy. Sometimes he is a little shit though.

I'll say it time and time again. This "little" dog has impacted me more than words can describe. I sometimes wish I had known/gotten him as a true puppy. How much more amazing he might be then he already is. He came to me slightly damaged, and maybe I love him even more for it. Because of how far he has come. Because of how far he has brought me.



Happy birthday sweet boy. Here's to so many more.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Easy Pumpkin Dog Treats (You can eat them too!)


It is finally fall. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. Mostly due to the cooler weather and snow, but also due to the flavors of the seasons.

Pumpkin is an iconic fall flavor, showing up in everything - coffee, pie, pasta, etc.

Pumpkin has a variety of health benefits, for both humans and canines. They are high in fiber, vitamin A, beta carotene, and vitamin C.

My dogs are hot natured, and love cold treats. I decided to make them some frozen pumpkin goodies.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened yogurt.
  • 1 can pumpkin. The can should read puree or packed, and contain 100% pumpkin. 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.

Method

Mix all ingredients together. You can use a blender, hand or stand mixer, or spoon. I had no difficulty mixing them together with a spoon.


Place silicone molds on a large baking sheet. I have these silicone molds, and LOVE them! Spoon mixture into molds. Try to resist eating the mixture. I wasn't very successful, it is quite delicious!

Place sheet in freezer, and remove when frozen.

Put individual treats into freezer safe bag or container, and offer to your dogs. Or yourself. I am not ashamed to admit that I have eaten almost as many of these as the dogs have.

If you're interested in a pumpkin treat recipe that is baked, click HERE.

Please note that large amounts of pumpkin can cause diarrhea and/or constipation in some dogs, due to the fiber content. Like everything else in life, moderation is key.

What is your favorite fall flavor?