‘Mad Dog-Mother Revolution’ Includes Pet’s Diet Obsession |

ATLANTA — After 27 years of marriage, my husband and I started a second family: we adopted a dog.

I am the last person I would expect to own a pet. Growing up as one of four siblings, with three cats and two dogs, our home was the noisiest zoo in the neighborhood.

I wasn’t interested in playing attendant to Babo, Chris, Pepe Kitty, Mrs. Pac, or Little Bit (so named because most of his tail was cut off in an incident with a letter opener). The dogs were indifferent to the walks, because they amused each other. The only thing I received in exchange for changing the litter box or opening a box of stinky cat food was siamese and calico cat hair on my duvet.

My recent change in attitude towards pet ownership is likely due to the emotional roller coaster that is life. My youngest son is a college graduate. Perimenopause sucks. I’m fairly certain that I’m suffering from the lingering effects of pandemic stress disorder. And I make the medical decisions for my octogenarian mother, whose dementia continues to spiral downward.

The day I cut off mom’s cell phone service – because she couldn’t understand how to make even a clamshell model work – was tough. But, Peaches, as she was already called when we got her, was there for me with therapeutic licks and a belly rub.

When my husband and I brought Peaches home from Fulton County Animal Services in June, we naively thought we’d get a deal because the adoption fee was waived. In our excitement to bring home the “best” dog in the shelter, we didn’t realize we had selected an energetic, purebred American Pit Bull Terrier who would require a lot of training. Thank goodness for Cesar Millan, aka the Dog Whisperer, and his YouTube videos.

After visits to the pet store and the vet, we quickly realized that a dog free from the pound isn’t really that free.

The dog food department is particularly confusing. Do we feed canned, dry or a combination of peaches? I don’t remember looking so hard at labels when I was feeding my kids. Now I’ve read the nutrition facts on the 50 pound bags of dry dog ​​food that tout oral care, immunity, digestion, and skin and coat benefits. There are so many varieties.

Then there’s the broad category of dog treats, which we’ve learned are particularly useful for training. We’ve tried at least three brands, as some seem to give it the sting. Just like when our kids wore diapers, we’re studying Peaches’ poop for clues about her digestive health.

And we don’t wait for vet visits to find out if our 5-year-old rescue dog has put on a few pounds. We stand on the house scale with it and without it, and subtract the difference.

It goes beyond food.

I’m as hydrating to Peaches as I am to mine. On hikes, we dress it in a doggie bag and throw water bottles in the two side pockets. This summer, when I unwrapped a birthday present of a water bottle, complete with a collapsible plastic water bowl for my dog, you would have thought I had been given a diamond ring.

Turns out I’m not the only one obsessed with my dog’s well-being.

We’re in a time of a “crazy mom-dog revolution,” said Rachel Meyer, owner of Botanical Bones, a superfood dog treat company in Asheville, North Carolina.

I met Meyer earlier this month at Chow Chow, an annual festival in Asheville that celebrates southern Appalachian lifestyles. Meyer was there peddling her line of peanut butter dog treats. Botanical Bones Flower Power supports immunity and well-being. Balance and Calm, the one we try on Peaches, helps noisy dogs relax. Inner Glow promotes digestion.

Meyer, who loves dogs, started her business during the pandemic. “While everyone was making sourdough, I started making dog treats,” she said. Her booming business is about to explode, thanks to a recent $50,000 grant she received from NC Idea, a foundation that supports entrepreneurship in North Carolina.

Meyer also collaborated with Atlanta-based dog treat maker Amanda Yu-Nguyen on a mix of dog trails. The mix includes unsweetened banana chips, dried blueberries, dried carrots, freeze-dried green beans, and dog treats. Meyer said they sold out in two hours. They restocked, and each time the mix sells out quickly.

Similar to Meyer, Yu-Nguyen’s small business idea took shape during the pandemic. For her Barkuterie Boards, she curates custom deli-style boards for dogs. Its perishable boards — only available for pickup or delivery in metro Atlanta — include protein-rich bites made from tuna, shrimp, beef and antelope, as well as carrot and butter cookies. pumpkin, and a cucumber rose and other treats that will revive a pup. ears. The non-perishable boards, which she ships nationwide, are made with vegetable and fruit shapes. The boards can even be personalized with the dog’s name spelled out in letters made out of cheese.

Peaches’ adoption papers list her birthday as March 3. I might be willing to spend $40 on one of Yu-Nguyen’s creations to mark the occasion.

My furry therapist is worth it.