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.

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.

Annie also introduced me to the Livestock Guardian Dog breeds - which are so very different from all the other breeds I've met, including Terriers, Herding Dogs, Hounds, Hunting Dogs, Toys, Retrievers. Having her in my life has been an adventure, a comfort, eye-opening, and highly entertaining, and I continue to learn from her daily. She's sweet, quirky, obsessive about certain things, sheds an Annie-sized layer of fur every few months, extremely protective but with enormous self-restraint, affectionate, quick to growl when annoyed but infinitely patient and gentle, and has never met a child she didn't like. I'm extremely grateful to National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network for giving me the opportunity to try taming that wild, terrified, scarred, starving little girl, and for giving her another chance. The experience of watching her make the decision to live, then to bloom and thrive, has been such a source of joy that I recommend that anyone with the capacity to, open your home and heart to a rescued pet.

This morning's mail brought a story from NASRN, about another dog who'd been facing death, but thanks to the perseverance and generosity of a few good-hearted folks, Rex is now finally at home. This photo was taken during his transport this weekend, and the expression on his face made me laugh. Click on it to read the linked story - it brightened my day considerably, hope it offers some sunshine for you as well!


  1. Yesterday's Itinerary:

    Annie spent the morning lying on her futon upstairs, with the windows open so she could both see and hear any goings-on by merely shifting her eyes slightly. Annie is Not A Morning Dog, as her prime interest is in Keeping An Eye On Things Overnight, so she declined any ventures downstairs until after 10:30. This coincided with clean-up time for the grinder and meat mixer, (for which she graciously offered her services) before stretching out on the back porch and announcing that she was back on duty. After establishing her credentials once again, she sallied forth on her Morning Rounds; checking both gates by the house and reviewing the basement security before strolling to the back gate, assessing the State of the Compost and having a few words with the squirrels about some tomato-based incursions. She resettled near the garage door, where her typically elegant grace and lady-like poise were abandoned for a momentary indulgence in dust bathing.

    The afternoon brought a cool chance of showers, which Annie normally would eschew on the grounds that she's a desert breed, but recent high temperatures have been so oppressive that her carefully coiled tail became a bouncy spring at the suggestion of a walk; and her dainty white socks picked up speed as we turned towards the river. Our path crossed a cluster of children just at the walkway down to the park, and as always, Annie carefully planted her feet and turned her face slightly away from the little ones, then smiled up at the bigger ones, gently nudging for a chin scratch, tail fluttering steadily. We then wandered along beside the river until there weren't any people around, at which point Annie sat politely to be let off leash. This is a very special privilege she only has at this point on the river where there is an 8ft fence with very few gates, but many miles of wooded paths and of course, the river itself. Annie's favorite game here is to try to stay abreast of me as I hike the trails, by travelling across the rocks and through the undergrowth, yet making as little sound as possible. She's very very good at this game. She doesn't like to be out of sight of me for very long, but that doesn't mean that I can see her. Annie is precisely the color of grasses and woody undergrowth, especially when we haven't had a lot of rain. I look for the perfect circle of her tail - black inside with a white wheel around it - and know that she knows I've seen her when it gives 1, 2, 3 quick flicks back and forth.

    We sauntered slowly this way for half an hour; our paths crossing on the trail for a quick pat and then Annie disappearing to the side. Then it was only the occasional splash as a paw slips off a rock, the slight snap of a twig on dried clay, the gentle exhalation that means she's found something interesting to sniff. We joined again at a wooden bridge spanning a small creek and facing one of the walls of the old power plant that turn this part of the James to a series of log jams and waterfalls. The Hollywood Cemetary is across the water, but nearby there are small islands formed from trapped storm debris lodged on rocks, forming safe landings and food supplies for dozens of Canada Geese. We sat and watched them drift and honk for a few moments, then took the last curve before the path widens and merges with the main one, where Annie goes back on leash. Our trip back through the woods to the neighborhood was interrupted by the rising stream of bicyclists, but Annie simply turns to stand between me and them, pauses as they pass and continues sauntering.

  2. Yesterday's Itinerary (continued)

    On the way home, we saw a friend in her yard, with a new puppy - who immediately rushed us with much scampering, flashing teeth, wagging tail, all the tripping over-exuberance a 12 week old toy can muster. Annie was charmed, began drooling, and was patient for quite awhile, but those needle teeth soon annoyed and she excused herself. This friend has a porch at the top of her house, and Annie chooses to view her world from there whenever possible. She lies on the top facing outward on a corner, easily watching over us all - her people sitting in the shade, her cat chasing bugs in the grass, her puppy on a mysterious trail beneath the hostas.

    Later, there were two fresh raw pig's feet all for Annie, while Fletcher had chicken backs - the inequality of this was a source of some concern for him. Annie's ritualistic pre-dinner Moving of the Food Bowl was blatantly undertaken with an eye towards which location would be the most visible by all DogTown Residents. Unfortunately, there was also shameful flaunting of the last pig foot. After having been carefully buried 10 minutes for proper seasoning, it was devoured amidst loud crunching and dramatic yummy grunting noises, right in front of the screen door, which is both expressly forbidden, and a very mean thing to do 3 feet away from Fletcher's nose. Annie relished every morsel.

    Still later, there was a long doze on the porch followed by some vigorous barking at the Raccoon or Possibly Possum Intrigue along the alley. I'm sure Annie will want to thank all her friends for the well-wishes and agree that it was quite a good birthday..... once she gets up...

  3. The pig foot - dogs have such a great sense of humor.

    Glad she had such a wonderful birthday.

  4. It was great to see the birthday girl - a privilege I and my puppy enjoyed immensely. And our toasting w/ a cold beer was truly fitting for the 'grand dame' of Dogtown.

    happy birthday, again and again!