As faithful readers know, Pepper is the Henry’s noble hound, a 67-pound mystery mix of Labrador retriever and border collie. For years she ate Stella & Chewy’s raw chicken or raw lamb frozen burgers, a rather costly diet. Lately, however, Pepper’s stomach has resisted the raw Stella & Chewy’s, a surprising development in light of the pleasure she takes in snagging detritus off the Broadway sidewalk.
Wisdom du jour instructs dog owners to prepare raw food, in particular raw chicken, following the theory that a raw diet mimics what wild dogs ate. Since the dog had been domesticated for 30,000 years, give or take, Mr. Henry wonders just how much chicken they have been getting, historically speaking, and thus to what degree their digestion is genuinely accustomed to such fare. Sitting around the campfire of early man, domesticated dogs probably dined on charred tubers, rotten seeds, and scraps of gristle and sinew, as well as on bones too small for man to bother cracking with a hand ax.
Mr. Henry’s personal theory is that the modern dog retains one eating habit left over from the Stone Age, however, a taste preference rather shocking to the urbane dog owner. The one reliable comestible around a human settlement, after all, season after season, was man scat.
Pepper’s list of favorite foods is topped by stinky cheese, followed by buttered toast, salmon skin, and apple peelings. Is there a pattern here?
What follows is Mrs. Henry’s personal recipe for a canine raw diet, ingredients deliberately chosen for ease of preparation. Mrs. Henry prefers boneless breast of chicken because she can throw them whole into the food processor right from the package. Lentils are the only cooked ingredient.
For even chopping, process each ingredient separately. Mix together, place in muffin tins (topped with wax paper for easy stacking), and freeze. Yield: 24 cupcake portions.
Each morning Pepper eats four cupcakes. At night she eats 1 ⅓ cups dry food, half Innova dog food and half Evo small bites (low carb), with a splash of buttermilk.
The one quibble Mr. Henry has with this recipe is the absence of added salt. Since he always shares a scrap from the table with his constant quadruped, however, he imagines she gets her allowance of salt thereby. And, of course, there are sticks to chew, grasses to munch, and treats to beg at Patagonia. The world is full of possibilities.
3 lbs. boneless breast chicken
1 cup cooked lentils
½ bunch kale (or spinach) – leaves & small stems
1 sm. bag carrots, peeled baby
½ bag cranberries
blueberries, a handful