In middle and high school, the neighbors who lived next door to my mother’s house would leave my sister and me in charge of their cocker spaniel when they went on vacation.
It was a tremendously good deal for two teenage girls — they stocked the refrigerator full of our favorite foods beforehand, allowed us to host sleepovers with our girlfriends and generously paid us for a week of limited supervision from my mother. All of this on top of watching the nicest, most passive dog in the world. We would order pizza and dance around the kitchen to early 2000s pop music, giggling the whole time as we prepared the dog’s dinner.
That’s right — prepared the dog’s dinner. Like a chef.
Instructions for the dog’s meal were handwritten on the front and back of a letter-sized piece of paper. They started with morning medications, dry dog food, cut up Pup-peroni as a snack, half of a cold, cooked hot dog and fresh water with ice cubes. Dinner always consisted of a cooked chicken breast, fat trimmed, atop more dog food, cascaded in cheddar cheese. In short, I comically came to the conclusion that this dog ate better than me.
I am all for providing the family pet with the most healthy, nutritious food that we can, especially to prevent illnesses or restore well-being. They are part of our families and should be treated well. My point is that we spend so much time, effort and money to provide out pets with nutritious food, only to be tricked by smart marketing for sustenance that promises antioxidants, protein bars and wine-flavored treats. We become convinced that nutritional tips for humans also apply to our pets. Or worse — we take better care of our pet’s health than we do for our own. All of this effort and neither owner nor pet are really all that healthy.