Since 2003, I've been making natural raw food and treats for my pets, using only fresh raw meat and healthy locally-grown ingredients.
My goal is to help you keep your best friend healthy and happy too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Change & A Chuckle

November has flown by so fast, and there have been a few changes in recent weeks. The most noticeable one is the new Bagasse 32 oz containers for Charley Chow. The manufacturer discontinued the old ones with short notice, forcing me to seek a new solution amidst tight production deadlines. Fortunately, the lovely Jocelyn Tice at Green Duck was able to quickly find a suitable bowl-shaped container in the right size, still made from compost-able, recyclable Bagasse. The lids are much bigger now, which sent me into a mad scramble to redesign labels, but they fit better than the previous ones did. Four batches later, some of you have these new wider containers already, and I look forward to hearing how they're working out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Summer Seasoning

It's been a very long, hot, dry summer, and quite awhile since the last update, so let's catch up a bit, shall we?

Thanks very much to everyone who has come out to the South of the James and Byrd House markets this summer. It's been great to put faces to names, and especially to meet all the lovely dogs you've brought out to the booth. Giving a Dried Chicken Finger treat to each visiting dog has been my favorite part of the summer. Making eye contact with dozens of earnest and enthusiastic dogs provides much-appreciated validation and motivation for each batch of food and snacks made here at the Lounge. I've recently purchased a new digital camera, and have been uploading photos of all your lovely dogs to the DogTown Lounge Facebook page. They will also be added to this blog as soon as a real photo gallery can be put in place. Please don't hesitate to tag your pet on Facebook, and to contact me for the high-res digital file of your pet's photo.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Does Your Cat 'Nip?

The catnip crop has been sorely hindered by this summer's drought and heat, so this weekend's batch was snapped up pretty quickly by cat-lovers at the market.  As I apologized for the limited supply, a young visitor asked how catnip works; what is it that makes cats act so crazy when they smell it?

Since I wasn't sure, I looked it up, and learned that

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Anniversaries & Beginnings

7 years ago, I drove from Richmond to Roanoke to meet a skinny, frightened, abused dog I'd seen in a picture on Petfinder. The family fostering her were very generous; allowing me to sit with her until she let me touch her, and that was the moment that I decided to bring her back with me to DogTown, where she proceeded to change my life completely. 

Everything that's happened here since then is directly linked to Annie's arrival in 2003, especially my conversion to raw feeding, which is the reason for the existence of Mugsy's DogTown Lounge.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Testing for Taste

Early on, in the experimentation which ultimately resulted in Spike's Chicken Salad, I started testing a little bit of each incoming batch of meat on The Usual Crowd. Or rather, with Spike, his mother Sally, Mais OuĂ­ and Annie, who were all here in 2003. Spike turned his nose up at more than one box of chicken, and though he took an extremely dim view of lamb or beef, he never rejected any pork.  At first, I was simply aiming at finding the best ingredients to keep him healthy, so really catering to his taste, but when word got out that there were samples, I had to offer some to everyone. Soon, it became a useful habit, since it's a really fast way to find out if any of the meat isn't quite right. The first slice, the first spoonful from each ingredient as it comes through the grinder, the first taste of each mixed batch - all go first to the attending felines, second to the nearest dog.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two Pet Food Recalls

Here is the link for the FDA pet food recall I mentioned in the previous post.  Natural Balance is asking that all 5 and 28 lb bags of Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food with the "Best By" date of June 17, 2011, be returned to place of purchase for a full refund. Salmonella was found during random quality testing; there have been no reported illnesses to date. The FDA page also describes symptoms to watch out for in humans and pets who may have been exposed to Salmonella. The affected products were not distributed in Virginia.

Another pet food recall has been issued, this one is for Iams ProActive Health canned Cat and Kitten Food – all varieties of 3 oz & 5.5 oz cans, dated 09/2011 to 06/2012 and distributed nationwide. The affected food is deficient in thiamin (Vitamin B1), which is necessary for cats to remain healthy. Proctor & Gamble recommends that these cans be discarded. Please do NOT donate these cans to rescue! Symptoms of thiamin deficiency, the hotline number to call if you have these products, and more details from the FDA.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Few Thoughts

While gathering and loading for the South of the James Market this morning, I caught myself wishing I'd posted some things here earlier this week. This is happening more often lately, but it always seems I'm far from a keyboard when the ideas strike.

Herewith, in no particular order: Due to the growing demand, I'm now bringing more whole chicken feet with me, and searching for more sources to increase the supply. Please bear with me while I track down more farmers willing to let go of their feet (grin) and meanwhile, the early bird gets the fresh dried tootsies.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chicken Foot - Magic Pacifier?

Earlier this morning, Fletcher Lou was draped across deep grass in the shade of the back yard, chewing. His eyes were closed, his head was low and turned to the side, and he was carefully holding a whole, dehydrated, chicken foot between his big flexible paws. It took him at least 15 minutes to work his way through that one grisly item, even though he started out by gnawing the ankle bone right off. It looked like he was using the longest claw to clean his back teeth.

Did I mention this thing is grisly?

You may be wondering; whatever possessed anyone to dry out a whole chicken foot in the first place?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Green Goes the Lounge

The basic philosophy at DogTown Lounge is to reuse, recycle, and continue to find new ways to be responsible in making the best use of our resources. To that end, we use heavy cotton towels instead of paper towels, recycled yoghurt containers for storing ingredients in the freezer, and hunt thrift stores, yard sales, and craigslist for equipment and supplies.

Because of this ingrained green habit, there has been an ongoing search for better containers for our products. The plastic deli containers and plastic recloseable bags have been very difficult to replace with appropriately freezer-safe yet earth-friendly products. Therefore, we ask that you bear with us as we transition to our new freezer containers, starting with the next batch of Charley Chow.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Market Season is Here

Whew! It was a long snowy winter for these parts, and spring has certainly kept us busy. May 1st is the start of the season for most farmers markets, and we have markets cropping up all over Richmond!

Starting this Saturday morning 8 - 12, DogTown Lounge will be bringing plenty of freshly Dried Chicken Fingers for your favorite fur-person to the South of the James market, in Forest Hill Park on the southside. Frozen deli containers of Spike's Chicken Salad and Charley Chow will be ready and chilling, and there's always a cool bowl of water for dogs right under the sign - Please stop by and say hi!

8 - 12 is also the time for the market at St. Stephens in the West End, as well as the newest market in town, conveniently located at Monument Avenue and Robinson Street. Here is a list of some of the many bustling farmers markets in the Richmond area. Take advantage of the lovely weather to stroll over and explore the market near you. The food is fresh, the air is full of flowers, and all your friends will be there!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Friendly Reminder

Happy Easter! 

Please remember to keep those chocolate Easter bunnies out of reach of your canine companion, as chocolate can be toxic for dogs.  Also, since it's Spring, with its abundant crop of unplanned puppies and kittens, here's a little song about the importance of spaying and neutering.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nature's Variety Recall

Nature's Variety has issued a voluntary, nationwide recall of their Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets for dogs and cats due to risk of Salmonella. They've expanded the recall in the last few days to include the "Best If Used By" dates of 10/29/10 and 11/9/10, in addition to those marked on or before 2/5/11. Check the link for greater detail on the specifically affected products, and symptoms to watch for if your pets may have been exposed.

That they moved swiftly to test and recall their products speaks highly of Nature's Variety's commitment to the health and welfare of their customers. Read the message from their CEO here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is the second birthday of Chauncey, Josef and the lovely Lotus Blossom, so it seems a bit of reminiscence is in order. Since Poof was thought to be spayed, the kittens' arrival was something of a surprise, "miracle" birth, so they were referred to as Jesus, Mary and Joseph for their first few weeks.
Here are over 2 minutes of simple indulgence in fuzzy, 5 week old kittens playing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Man & His Dog

Neil Gaiman, author, dog-lover, raw-feeder and all-round Renaissance Man, has a big white German Shepherd named Cabal, that he found on the side of the road.  Cabal was neglected, and in bad shape then, but has blossomed

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Truth About Raw Diets & Pets

Click the title link for a very informative collection of articles about companion pets and nutrition. This would make a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about species-appropriate food options for their 4-legged family members.

Included subjects range from Dr. Pottenger's Cat studies in the 30's - 50's, to the current AAFCO's guidelines for pet food labelling, and include anecdotal information about the benefits of a raw diet, as well as a discussion of the risks.  Since it is a public forum, there are also general comments from other readers, but the articles do have supporting links and footnotes.  Hope this is helpful!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sam & Lily - Homeward Bound

Click the title link to read about Sam & Lily on their long trip to their new home. National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network (NASRN) rescues and rehomes Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and other Livestock Guardian Dog breeds who would otherwise not have a chance.  Large breed dogs are often simply euthanized in shelters due to size and LGDs in particular do not fare well in the mainstream rescue system.  Big dogs, often from farms or rural areas, they are typically confused and shy in enclosed kennels, and being usually of calm demeanor, they do not "show" well to the average shelter worker or potential adopter.

NASRN works very hard to place each dog in an appropriate home, and uses a

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January is Train Your Dog Month!

This is a great time of year to start training your dog, and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers has named January "National Train Your Dog Month".

APDT is offering training tips for dogs and puppies, and planning a series of web-events to encourage every dog owner to spend quality time with their pet. The single most positive contributing factor to the life and safety of a dog is proper training. To ensure that you and your dog stay happy, healthy, and have lots of fun together, a good basic training course is a sound investment.

They have added a section to their website dedicated to information for pet owners, including a dog trainer search engine, help with your new puppy, dog park etiquette and advice on choosing the right dog for your family. Sit! Stay.... Check it out!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ketamine Recall

Ketamine is commonly used in veterinary surgical procedures, and a nationwide recall has been announced.

If your pet is scheduled for surgery, please read this and make sure your vet has seen the specific details about which lots have been recalled.