For someone who doesn’t like to cook, this is an odd endeavor, I admit.
For three months now I’ve been cooking the pug’s food.
Yes, like a hippie.
I combine a package of ground turkey, a 99-cent bag of mixed frozen vegetables, four hard boiled eggs and three-and-a-half cups of brown rice. It costs about $6 and feeds him for 10 days. Sure it takes 30 minutes to cook, but the outcome of this new diet has proved beneficial to the pug, who is prone to skin problems. Like me.
Hot spots. Do you know what these are?
They are fur-less bloody patches that spread across my dog’s head, back and rump. They start as crusty dime-sized scabs and turn into crusty half-dollar-sized scabs. After spending years (and hundreds of dollars) treating these things, I had given into the reality that he was just prone to them, as are many pugs.
I would walk the pug down the street and fellow dog walkers would comment on these grotesque lesions. Some would refrain from commenting, probably assuming that I was one of those dog owners who turns up on the 10 o’clock news charged with animal cruelty.
If anyone so much as glanced at the patches, I would launch into a lengthy discourse on hot spots.
“I swear my dog isn’t mangy. He breaks out in these things. They’re called hot spots. I can’t help it.”
But that all changed three months ago, after I interviewed a photographer (and fellow pug owner) at her home on Longboat Key.
Before even entering this woman’s house, I was greeted by a pug with such a silky coat I was rendered speechless in the creature’s presence.
I couldn’t help but wonder why her pug was blessed with such flawless skin and mine was riddled with hot spots?
I’ll tell you why.
Homemade dog food is why.
She told me she’d switched to a turkey/brown rice/veggie mix a year ago because her pug was prone to HOT SPOTS. Not only did the diet clear up the pug’s skin, it also softened his bristly fur.
That night I went to the grocery store and bought all the fixings. I browned the turkey over the stove and made the rice and veggies in the microwave. I froze six sandwich baggies of food and put one small container in the fridge. When Joe saw it, he thought I had ordered Chinese takeout.
“That’s not takeout!” I scolded him. “That’s Cubbie’s new food!”
“Can I eat it?”
“If you like.”
And so it’s been three months.
And guess what?
Cubbie lost five much-needed pounds and now has the alabaster skin and downy fur of a pampered show pug.
Cubbie at the St. Pete Gay Pride Parade. (It was very hot out.)