Monday, April 25, 2011

Domestication may have been quicker than we think...

There's an intriguing article in the March edition of National Geographic exploring the whole subject of the domestication of wild animals with lots of examples including chickens, pigs and sheep. The but that fascinated me, however, was the section about an experiment involving silver foxes that began in 1959. Researchers in Siberia bred foxes to encourage a single behaviour: friendliness towards humans. Over the next few generations the foxes behaved more and more like domesticated dogs. By the second generation aggressive response to humans began to disappear, by the fourth the kits (puppies) were wagging their tales and approaching humans voluntarily as well as allowing themselves to be carried and by the sixth generation they were completely accepting of humans and would lick them. Interestingly, from the 9th generation onwards the foxes began to change their outer appearance. That is to say their ears became floppier, their coats began to change colour, their tails started to curl and became shorter. These are all things that make dogs appear appealingly juvenile to humans. The researchers believe that some animals and not others carry genes that predispose them to be more easily domesticated. This sort of makes sense and explains why all sorts of animals have remained wild, while others have been successfully domesticated. The experiments suggest that it probably didn't take very long - perhaps as little as 20 years - for wild wolves to become tame dogs some 15,000 years ago.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More about Pet Plus

When I wrote about PetPlus a few weeks ago Suzi McIntyre tried to add a comment and it got lost somewhere in space and ever since I have been meaning to update the posting but actually it probably makes more sense just to copy and paste what she said:

And I do recommend Pet Plus with raw food in healthy dogs and cats, because the raw food we feed does not contain the whole 'prey' animal. The guts contain probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes which are of enormous benefit to our carnivorous pets. I am always getting comments from committed raw food feeders saying how much better their dog / cat is since adding the Pet Plus. Even our dear friend Ros Walters, a brilliant canine nutritionist, has found a vast improvement in her dogs' health since adding the Pet Plus. So it's definitely not just for sick dogs and cats. The aim is to prevent them getting sick in the first place! Feeding raw on its own is only part of the job.
Just to say I hope you will support Naturally Happy Dogs a new online video magazine that has recently been launched. It is early days yet but they have endeared themselves to me because one of the first programmes they made was about raw feeding.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In rememberance of Freya Brian

We had the honour of feeding a very, very special dog for the last few months. Her name was Freya, her dates were 24/12/2003 - 25/03/2011 and she was a lovely, lovely mother. Tracey, who looked after her, said: 'She was always very photogenic, gleaming coat - we never used fancy coat preparations - it was all down to good food, healthy lifestyle, being a fit dog & lots of love & attention & of course, being a happy dog!' Anyway, as you can see from the shots she was stunningly beautiful and we were very sorry to hear (only a few days ago) that she had given up her fight with cancer. Our heartfelt condolences to her family.

Photo: Sam at Farlap

Friday, April 1, 2011

Swedegate! How a vegetable has nearly brought us to our knees.

They look innocent enough, don't they? Swedes. But they have been the bane of our existence for the last few days. In our enthusiasm to use only fresh, local, seasonal vegetables a few weeks ago we decided to include swede in some of our recipes.

The thing about swede is that it has a strong smell and flavour and although most of our canine customers have been fine with it, a few have said to us (in dog language, of course): ‘It may be good for me, but I still don’t like it.’ Hopefully, you won’t have encountered this problem, but if you have (and we don’t yet know about it) please get in touch so that we can put things right for you.

We won’t, I hasten to add, be using swede again!