When the whole family was reluctantly enlisted in a healthy eating plan, Ralph was no exception. Warming up the contents of a package adorned with an adorable canine, the overbearing chemical smell caused a second look at exactly what we were feeding our furry charge. Unlike cousins in the wild, domestic pets are entirely dependent on owners to provide food and water, unless, of course, he finally catches that snappy squirrel in the yard. Until then, his only source of nourishment is from the can or package in the cupboard. The coyotes have cleared out all the rabbits.
Sparing the gory details, many pet foods contain dyes and byproducts that are best not discussed in mixed company. Thus began Ralph's reluctant conscription into the world of organic eating. The first few days went well, low sodium tuna and salmon generated interest. Unfortunately quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) didn't sit as well and it was back to the old stuff until his tummy returned to normal
Fortunately, an impulsive nab of a "human quality" fish and potato stew on special was far more palatable and digestible. The cost was nearly the same. A helpful store manager explained the layout of the dog food aisles–the presence of byproducts increases the further away from the cash register, but the prices work in reverse–the greater the cost, the better the quality.
Modifications are still in progress. There are dried chicken and salmon treats that rival any pressed and rolled sticks of indeterminate content. Ralph doesn't care if his treats are shaped like miniature T-bone steaks. He just knows that he gets exactly three after the hair dryer is shut off in the morning. Tossed into the next room with no eye contact.
Haven't figured out why he has to stare at it for exactly 15 seconds first.