Variety is the Key (Answer to a Recently Asked Question)

Recently Asked Question:
“I opened a container and it looked different than the last one. It had a darkish layer on top. Is it OK to feed?”

The short answer is yes, it’s OK to feed.

The longer answer is why there’s variation in color and appearance from batch to batch.

Pawgevity is an artisanal food. That means it’s made in small batches. Although the ingredients and amounts remain the same from production run to production run, there will always be differences in appearance – some more noticeable than others.

Fresh produce sometimes contains more moisture, particularly if picked after a rainfall. It will also vary in color – for instance, one of the leafy greens we use is Swiss chard. Sometimes it’s rainbow chard, which, when pureed and mixed with all the other produce, tends to get very dark. Beet greens are gorgeous vibrant colors before pureeing – after, not so much!

Sometimes, the more moisture filled produce leads to a “wetter” mix. When frozen, some of that mix will rise to the top and sides of containers – thus the darkish layer.

Batches vary in color and appearance.

There can also be a difference in appearance and color of animal meats from one run to another – depending on time of year and breeds. Since we don’t chemically treat our foods in any way (remember the recent “pink slime” story?), they won’t always look exactly the same – uniformity doesn’t exist in the natural world.

Thanks for asking!

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We Celebrate Earth Day – Every Day – at Pawgevity

At Pawgevity, we make a conscious effort daily to lower our impact on the planet while producing and getting our foods to you. This is not a marketing ploy. It’s what we personally believe in. Here’s some of how we do it.

We source ALL of our ingredients locally and directly from small farms here in Virginia. Ingredients aren’t being trucked from across country or even other countries, across sea and land.

Our farms are certified organic and beyond organic; not industrialized, factory farms. Farms that raise their animals naturally on pasture; not GMO feeds, in crowded and inhumane conditions. Farms that grow their crops organically, without the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. Clean, green, sustainable farms.

Butterflies grazing on natural, no spray gardens

Zero waste in production. Our produce trimmings are turned into clean compost, which in turn nurtures a next generation of produce. All animal parts that we can’t use, either due to regulations or choice, go to rendering (ironically, some may end up in lesser pet foods. At least we know THAT ingredient is safe.)

We don’t “overmanufacture”. Our production runs are relatively small and we run lean – meaning we don’t have a lot of inventory sitting in freezer for a long period of time before it gets out to the stores. Fresher/faster and less electricity used storing it.

We consolidate our deliveries. We deliver every two weeks, not every week, and plan our delivery routes carefully to minimize gas expenditure.

We reuse our delivery totes. Over and over and over again, indefinitely – they don’t end up in landfills. No cardboard boxes.

Our food containers are reusable (for home use) and recyclable. We encourage reuse of them prior to recycling and are even holding a contest through midnight EST on 4/29/12 asking our customers to post on Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail with their creative reuse ideas (photos, if possible). When recycled, they’re being made into all kinds of great products, by companies like Preserve that produce plates, toothbrushes and more.

Minimal waste in consumption. Because our foods are highly bioavailable, there is very little “waste” from the “end” consumer. Good food in = less “poop”.

Our offices are run clean and lean – we use natural sunlight as much as possible for heating and light and CFL bulbs when we need to supplement our lighting. Opening our windows provides fresh air and a cooling effect as needed. We are planning indoor plantings to naturally clean the air further. Environmentally friendly cleaners are employed. Our printed material is done on recycled content paper, approved by FSC.

We’re constantly striving to do better for you and for the generations that follow us. Earth Day, every day.

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A Goodbye

This is very personal. We share because you’ll understand.

This past Friday, the 13th, one of our elder cats, Blackington Dancing Bear, left us. From his memorable entrance into our lives to his exit, he was one cool, wise, calming presence. He was the epitome of catdom.

Blackington Dancing Bear

Our paths first crossed fourteen years ago. Hurrying between midday dog walks, I took a quick run into the Marshall post office. In, out, back to the car. But, what was this sad dark object moving towards me in the parking lot? He plopped down. The effort was too much. An emaciated, flea bitten black kitty. First thought – “Norm’s going to kill me” (we had a lot of cats). Second thought – “Maybe he lives in the neighborhood. But, look at him”. Third thought – “I can’t leave him here”.

So, whisked him up and off to the Middleburg Animal Hospital. “Carole, we need a name for him to start a record”.
Me, frazzled and late. “Let’s just go with Blackie for right now”.

This was before the advent of the ubiquitous cell phone. A smart phone would have been even better.

Returned home early evening to a greeting from Norman. “You need to call the animal hospital – they made a mistake and left a message about some cat named ‘Blackie'”.

Oops. You’ve got some ‘xplaining to do.

Our vet friend warned me not to get too attached. He estimated him at 8 years old. His kidneys values weren’t so good and he’d led a rough and tumble life.

A couple months after Blackie adopted us, we found out that he’d been living with a family over a mile away from our home. Two miles and a busy highway away from the post office. They called him Halloween as they found him on that night one year, with two injured rear legs. They nursed him back to health. They never had him neutered and he was allowed to roam. And roam he did. He apparently had quite a territory. They didn’t seem to care. We offered for them to come visit him anytime. They never did.

Blackie quickly became Norm’s cat. He loved men and Norman, especially. The gravitational force to the nook of Norm’s arm was intense – Norm couldn’t sit down without him jumping up and cradling, like a baby. At night, he’d make his way up to the bed and lay on his chest. Even his last night on this earth.

It was not until later years that we discovered Blackie was FIV+. He never fought or bothered with the other cats.

He loved his food. A chorus of little, kind of high pitched mrrreows would accompany mealtime preparation.
“Heeere I am!”
“Don’t forget MEEEE!”
“Hurrrrrry up!”
And then the mad dash to his established eating spot.

He loved his sunbathing and had perfected his approach over the years.
Morning – find the tiniest spot as the sun rose.
Rest of the day – follow the sun throughout the house.
Cold months – establish perch in front of the wood stove.
Warm months – spend the day in the warmest spot on the sun porch. The hotter, the better.

He left us on Friday the 13th. Blackington Dancing Bear, you were one memorable cat. We buried you in what has become the Circle of Love site on our rural property. Shortly after, a black butterfly flitted by. Then a jet overhead, with two perfectly formed plumes forming behind against a flawless blue sky. Warm and gorgeous.

Just the kind of day you loved.

Goodbye, Blackington Dancing Bear. 1991 (?) – 2012. Run free, far and wide.

Blackie enjoying one of his favorite things

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A Milestone for Mindy, the Chubby Chihuahua

Mindy's "fitting"!

The latest from Mindy.
“Diet – schmiet! And I keep hearing them calling me their ‘chubby chihuahua’ – harrumph!
I don’t know what they’re talking about. But I do know I like how my clothes are fitting. No more sucking in my tummy! And I even took a little jog today. OK, it was for my breakfast dish.”

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Weighing In: Junior and Mindy’s Official Progress Report

Junior and Mindy thought they were just going for a ride. We had other plans. We were headed to (shhh) the V-E-T’s office for an official weigh-in.

Hey, this isn't so bad!

They fooled us – they pranced right into the Marshall Veterinary Clinic like it was their favorite place on earth. Happy, effusive greetings from Dr. Becky Verna, also of Paws for Holistic Pet Care, didn’t hurt.

But, it was time for business. Their last weigh-in was on Valentine’s Day, before we’d met them – Junior was at 10 lbs. and Mindy a whopping 13.2. We’d decided not to do an in home weigh-in as we really wanted an accurate reading of how they’re doing. Kathy and Dr. Verna did the honors.

All smiles!

We are ecstatic to announce the results!
Junior is now at: 8.6 lbs.!
Mindy (drum roll): 11 lbs.!

We’re very proud of our “little” chichis. More on how they’ve obtained those losses in our next post.

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“Pawgevity is the Best!”

Patience and Nancy

“I thought it would be, and you did not disappoint…The dogs loved it, of course, and the good news is that so did the cat. She can refuse chicken sometimes; she is a real turkey lover. I know your turkey is seasonal and limited, but maybe I will be able to get some for her sometime.

I have been raw feeding for 12 years, and have tried lots of brands, besides making some myself every once in a while. Yours is the freshest and has the great meat sources. I was so impressed with how the bowls rinsed squeaky-clean, even the lamb. Sometimes the fat sort of congeals, but this rinsed clean with just hot water, before I even added soap. Somehow, I take this as a great sign — well, as you say, it is all in the quality ingredients.

…I am so excited about Pawgevity.”

Sherry S.

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Miss Polly, Remembered

Polly's portrait by Molly McDonald Peterson

Polly and Russ were kind of a happy accident. We were looking to adopt A dog. So, we went to visit our friends at Middleburg Humane Foundation. We had no particular type of dog in mind. Just looking. Freddy, an Australian Cattle Dog X, caught our eye. Hilleary Bogley, founder of MHF, was with us.

“Oh, no, you’re not adopting him!” Hilleary is nothing short of honest. “He lifted his leg and tried to pee on me yesterday. He needs to go to a working farm”. OK.

Norm turns around, sees something, and points. “What’s with those two?” There sat a little mess of a black and gray terrier, on top of a dog house, trying to be all Snoopy like. In the doghouse was a cream lab/something/something, cowering. It was Russ and Polly. A man had noticed them by the side of a road one day on his way to work. The next day, they were still there and he brought them to MHF. Their collars were so tight they had to be cut off. They were adult dogs that had been dealt a bum rap. They were pretty uninterested in meeting us. Norm and I love a challenge.

We looked at each other and nodded. “We’d like to adopt them – both!”. They joined our home a few days later and, from that day forward, slept in bed with us and the cats and never spent another day abandoned, frightened, outdoors.

Russ and Polly

I Have No Self-Esteem

Soon enough we realized why Russ was on top of that doghouse and Polly inside. It was obvious that Russ had kept Polly safe and alive through their ordeal. He was the boss.

At the beach

Norm had a dream one night with Polly in it. She spoke with a lisp. “I have no shelf eshteem”. We felt it was a direct message and from that day forward, worked on making her not only comfortable and happy and healthy, but able to move freely in this world with self confidence.

She and Russ were inseparable buddies and it was a great joy to see them tearing around the yard together, running in huge, crazy, happy circles. Polly, over time, came out of her shell, in little bits. She was never one of those kinds of lab mixes that was totally happy go lucky. Her love and affection were measured and, if she didn’t know you, had to be gained. Polly earned the nicknames “Precious” and “Miss Polly Girl”.

Polly in the Middle

Some time after Russ died, we considered adopting another dog for Polly. But she seemed to enjoy her status as “only” dog and just didn’t seem all that interested in other dogs. She traveled the East Coast with us – camping everywhere from Surfside Beach, SC to Maine. She learned to ride an elevator at the Loews Hotel in Nashville, TN and swam and canoed in the cool waters of the Adirondack region of New York. She loved riding in the car, even if just to the Marshall post office. As she and Russ had done, we hiked many trails throughout the East.

She was an active, funny, and wonderful companion, raring and ready to go – anywhere, as long as we were with her.

The Not-Always-Golden Years

Anyone who’s been fortunate enough to have a dog or cat live past expectancy understands that their care becomes a labor of love. As faculties fail, it’s our duty to help assist them and make them as comfortable as possible.

Polly was with us fourteen years when she started to show symptoms of Canine Cognitive Disorder. Getting stuck in corners. Howling/yowling instead of her typical greeting barks. Her last year or so, we carried her up and down stairs. Her last few months, we carried her almost everywhere. She no longer savored her food or dug holes (with her nose!) to bury and hide her bones to enjoy later. We were losing her but she wasn’t in pain and it was our privilege to keep her comfortable and let her go as naturally as possible, when she was good and ready.

That day came last St. Patrick’s Day – March 17, 2011. Although she eased us into the transition, she still left a gaping hole in our hearts and our home.

We mish you, Mish Polly. And your shelf eshteem.

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Eat Your Fruits and Veggies! For Cats and Dogs, too. Another RAQ.

Recently Asked Question (RAQ):

“Wow, why all the veggies? What percentage of the food is plant matter? I’d rather see more meat and less veggies. :)”.

Our Answer:

Glad you asked.

Actually, the list is long and it may seem like a lot of produce but it’s a small percentage of the actual food ratio. Each ingredient provides a very important benefit.

Our Cat Formulas are 90% protein/10% produce.
Our Dog Formulas are 80% protein/20% produce.

The produce plays an important part in ensuring that the animals get phytonutrients and other essential nutrients from whole foods – as opposed to adding synthetic vitamins, minerals and inappropriate ingredients.

Cats are obligate carnivores. Dogs are opportunistic omnivore/carnivores. It has been observed, by scientists and those in the field, that both wild and domesticated cats and dogs “graze” when given the opportunity – most all of us have seen cats and dogs chomping on grasses, goodies in the vegetable garden, and fallen fruit. They are self healers and will eat what their bodies need, when left to their own devices. When they down herbivorous prey, they often go for the stomach contents first – which contain ground produce.

All of our Formulas have been carefully formulated and approved and are recommended, fed, and sold by wholistic vets very knowledgeable in nutrition and with decades of experience with raw feeding, in particular.

What’s your animal’s favorite produce?

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Thirty Years and Enriching Pets’ Lives, Directly and Indirectly, Everyday

By Terry Haas

Its the close of another National Professional Pet Sitter’s Week here in the United States and it has been 30 years since the founding of the first professional association – the National Association for Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). In 1982, a few well connected, forward-thinking, pet-loving entrepreneurs birthed a business from what once was the under-the-table domain of neighbors and family members, and yes, at times, the kid-next-door. Cheers to them, they know who they are (as they are not exclusively among the ranks at NAPPS). The Industry has since become a thriving slice of the 50+ billion dollar pet care services industry, employing not only those self-employed sole proprietors who started it all, but hundreds of thousands of independent contractors and employees. But that’s only one of the Industry’s collective achievements. Because these people were not just entrepreneurs, they were also caregivers and students of animal behavior and health, rapidly arming themselves with the experience of the hundreds of pets in their care and all of the results of the foods fed, toys played, leashes handled, training methods employed and other services consulted like veterinarians.

I began Loyalty Pet Care in the early days of 2007. My discovery of the Industry was accidental, but the inspiration and passion for it, no less energizing than my previous career as an archaeologist/environmental scientist. The void of being behind a desk, the addition of physical exercise through work. The difference – instead of joy derived from discovery of the past, joy derived from connecting and inspiring connections between humans and animals. As a trained scientist, I couldn’t help but naturally collect data from day one. In one way, many of my new Industry peers viewed this position as unprofessional – seeing our role as professional pet sitters as one that silently serves and provides care per client instruction, only.

If you were exposed, over and over again, by the use and results of use of hundreds of pet care products, foods, training methods and experience of area service providers, do you think you could contain letting others know which were most effective? Which were detrimental? And which were downright dangerous? In my view, one of the greatest accomplishments of the Industry is this: awareness and sharing of knowledge to protect and better the lives of the animals who enrich ours. I have a great, and timely story to help punctuate this point.

Last week I was contacted by a former employee who moved on to become an Adoptions Coordinator at a County Shelter. She forwarded me the thankful email of a cat parent who had reached out to the Shelter to surrender the cat, citing inappropriate house soiling. My former employee advised me that her Loyalty Pet Care cat sitting training (now referred to as Loyalty® LitterLab™) played a big part in enabling her to understand and advise this pet guardian, in turn giving her the tools she needed, with the medical support of her veterinarian, to discover the issues, resolve them and create a happy and healthy life for her cat. With the shelter at record highs for felines up for adoption, it is clear that our former employee saved this cat’s life.

There is no better thanks or praise for National Professional Pet Sitters week than hearing that our work has indirectly enabled a pet’s life to be saved. Who is your Professional Pet Sitter and what would you like to thank them for at the end of Professional Pet Sitters week and the start of the 30th year of this Industry’s birth?

Terry Haas is a professional pet sitter, certified PetTech® CPR, First Aid & Care instructor and the owner of Loyalty Pet Care® – a small employee-based, force-free, holistic-leaning, adopt-not-buy, professional pet sitting business currently exclusively serving Arlington County, Virginia. Like Pawgevity, Terry has always been uncompromising on quality, integrity and love, three areas that oftentimes slow down her profits, but never her success. Like Loyalty® on facebook:

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Back to the Beginning

Junior and Mindy have been with us a week now! Their first night home we mixed a very few pieces of their kibble with Pawgevity Chicken Formula, cooked. We decided to take the conservative course as they’ve had so many changes in their lives recently. Overnight and the next morning, there were no signs of digestive upset.

As of their next meal, we nixed the kibble altogether. In the past week, they’ve had cooked Pawgevity only, carefully measured prior to sauteing. We’ve switched it up randomly between Chicken and Lamb Formulas, with no detrimental effects.

Junior in Detox (and Sleeping Soundly)

We’ve seen a humongous difference in their stools – quite literally, when it comes to size (sorry, no pictures). Both dogs seem to be gaining energy. And they’re still detoxing, that’s for sure – but not on the extreme end. Their mild detox symptoms range from runny eyes to Mindy exhibiting a limited amount of paw licking. We’re quite pleased with their progress.

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