Dog chef

My wife, Natalie, and I try to share fairly between us the various chores and activities that come with managing the household. I’m responsible for building maintenance, cars, dog stuff, utilities, bins/recycling, insurance and such like. I also, lest it be said that I just do the ‘man’ stuff, have responsibility for the cleaning, the ironing and the purchasing of ‘storecupboard’ items from the local plastic-free shop.

Natalie, meanwhile, oversees the laundry, the regular food shopping and the organisation of the weekly food plan. We share the cooking between us, depending on (a) our daily schedules and (b) how much of it can be done in the microwave. But we realised the other day that one of my primary roles has hitherto gone sorely unrecognised.

This came to light when Natalie pointed out, in a semi-heated discussion on the matter, that if it wasn’t for her efforts in planning and procuring food, the entire family would quite possibly starve. Or, at the very least, have to get by on crunchy nut corn flakes and peanut butter sandwiches*.

I replied that this was only partially correct, because Molly and Ozzy (our two working Labradors) would, thanks to my efforts in procuring and preparing their food, continue to do rather well from a nutritional perspective.

Natalie was forced to concur. And so, to my official roster of roles and responsibilites has been added another: Dog chef.

If this makes it sound like I might take the feeding of our dogs rather seriously, then I’d be hard-pressed to put forward a counter-argument. Both the dogs – even Molly, who’s now twelve – are extremely active and very hard-working. And so it’s important to me that I feed them a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet.

I also, quite possibly, pay more attention to their nutrition than I do to my own.

They have a baseline diet of wet food and kibble from a British producer that I’ve researched carefully and trust to do the right thing. This is, obviously, all carefully weighed out each morning in line with each dog’s calorific needs.

I also weigh the dogs regularly. This involves weighing myself on the bathroom scales, picking up a dog, weighing both of us and then doing some maths. The dogs, perhaps unsurprisingly, don’t like this very much. They much prefer using the special large dog scales at the vets, primarily because they normally get a biscuit afterwards.

I supplement the dogs’ meat-and-kibble diet a couple of times a week with things like eggs, chicken or sardines. Mostly on the days when they’ve been particulary active, for example if Ozzy and I have been for a long run. They also get the odd bit of raw fruit or vegetable. Or, their favourite, a frozen carrot.

I did once try making my own dog biscuits, but even I found this a bit of a faff.

But I will admit quite happily that I take feeding the dogs rather seriously. And I’m proud that they’re both trim, happy, healthy and in good condition.

And so that’s me: Simon Perks, dog chef.

* I now know better than to argue that this doesn’t actually sound too bad.

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