Free meat

I think it was my dentist who told me a few years ago that I should get a second dog, because it’s really no different than having one dog. Except for the cost of food.

Never mind how untrue that first part has wound up being so far, but oh my gawd, the two dogs seem to be going though MORE than twice as much food. That’s what a growing boy will do for you.

Isis has been on a raw meat diet for more than a year, and she’s doing well on it. Leo took to it right away. Sure it would be cheaper to go back to kibble, but I just couldn’t do it.

To help stretch the ol’ food budget, I’m seeking cheap/free sources of meat. A while ago I considered joining a “discarded meat” group that took meat that grocery stores had to dump before their expiration dates. Still perfectly good meat…just not to be sold to humans. Unfortunately, the only stores that participated were Walmarts and they don’t sell ANY unenhanced meat that I’d want for my dogs.

It’s hard to be selective about things like free-range and antibiotic free when you’re essentially begging. I put an ad on Freecycle asking for people’s old, freezer-burned meat. I did this when I first started Isis on raw. I got some locker beef, but I didn’t have enough freezer space, thought she would eat it faster than she did, and wound up throwing most of it away.

I have two spare freezers now, so I’m good to go.

Interestingly, the same woman who gave me that locker meat responded again (without acknowledging, or perhaps even remembering, that we’ve met this way before), saying she had chicken, beef, pork, fish and maybe venison! That’s sort of my hope, by the way, that someone will have a whole elk or deer in their freezer from a hunting trip, and they just can’t eat it all. I’d much rather have that than pork from a factory farm. Which is what I buy most of the time, because it’s pretty reasonable at Cash and Carry.

Another woman said she has “some white fish.” She responded first, and I was quite excited until she told me that she lives 45 minutes away. I’m afraid I’m going to drive all that way (in the rain, most likely) for 4 ounces of fish. But we’ll see.

Speaking of wildlife, Leo has laid eyes on his first deer and rooster this week. The pair of deer were standing still in a garden and I didn’t even notice them at first. They didn’t spook as we unwittingly crossed the street in their direction. Leo watched them with interest, but not longing.

The rooster was in the street next to the house where it lives. I deliberately brought Leo close to familiarize him with the creature. The rooster didn’t run away, and Leo went into stalk mode. Lowered his head, stiffened his body. His feathers were ruffled too (ha, ha, by this I mean his hackles went up). It was adorable. He didn’t bark or lunge though.

Also yesterday, we ran into a friend on a bicycle who rode and walked his bike alongside us the rest of the way home. Such great socialization for Leo. In a million years, I couldn’t imagine walking Isis next to a bicycle.

This morning, Leo was afraid to cross a footbridge we had crossed yesterday from the opposite direction. He actually skidded to a halt and tried to turn and go the other way. Like a cartoon character. It’s the first time he’s been that afraid of anything. Except Isis.

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

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