Two movies made a big impact on my young life. Run Appaloosa, Run and Big Red. Throughout my adult life I have had at least one Appaloosa and up until 16 years ago, I had an Irish Setter at all times. One Irish Setter at a time. Then I was bitten by the desire for a puppy and Irish Setters had long since lost their appeal in our area. I answered an ad for Australian Shepherds and that was that. Bitten big time. That Aussie breeder obviously recognized a sucker when she met one and convinced us to buy another dog from her so each of our sons could participate in the junior showmanship program. Then I "borrowed" a male from her to show in conformation and I learned very quickly about sneaky males and how enticing young females engage them in illicit affairs. . .
During the period between 1995 and 1997, we began showing in conformation and junior showmanship and learning the basics about breeding and whelping a litter. My third Irish Setter, Kelley, was getting old and having some serious health issues. The summer of 1997 found her on her last legs it seemed. Barely able to get up on her own with no desire or strength to go on our daily walks, we were preparing ourselves for her loss when I heard a talk show program about some new kind of idea for feeding dogs. Dr. Richard Pitcairn was the guest speaker and he felt very strongly that dry dog food was contributing to poor health in dogs. Well, it sounded pretty far fetched, but what did I have to lose with Kelley anyway??? I took note of his suggestions and started giving Kelley raw meat with some cottage cheese added and eggs. Within two weeks, she was so obviously feeling better that I bought his book and started making the raw food recipes daily for all the dogs. Kelley resumed daily walks, gained weight and regained her enthusiastic attitude towards life. She lived another 1- 1/2 years and died in her sleep. The only change was the food she ate. No meds, nothing but healthy raw food. One of the litters we have planned for spring 2014 will be our first 5th generation natural fed litter. Now there are many options available for people too busy to make their own raw foods but back then, the only choice was home made. We still use the same original recipes and make fresh food daily for our dogs. They also receive the bare minimum of vaccinations and no poisons in or on them or in the environment they live in. Yep, we do have weeds in our yard and fields, and bugs in our gardens. We also have healthy dogs that live long, active lives with minimal vet visits. It's a no brainer in my book.