Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
Rick Woodford, The Dog Food Dude, is the acclaimed author of Feed Your Best Friend Better. Already receiving requests for signings and readings for his new book, Chow, out in December, Rick is skeptical.
"It's hard to do a dramatic reading of 'Mutt-Loaf'," he laughs.
The healthy dog food guru's guilty pleasure? "I have a BIG problem with chocolate in the house. And I DON'T have to share it with the dogs!"
Rick and partner Gregory married in August. "When we got married, there was a question in a game, 'How many is the perfect number of dogs?' We both said five."
He says their five would sit, in order of size, "like the bars on your phone."
"I'd make blueberry pancakes, and the dogs would all sit, and each take a bite.
Duncan, the Chihuahua, would sit right between Jackson's feet, because he felt protected." A Belgian Malinois, Jackson was a big fella.
"Now we have three. My partner really wants a German Shepherd puppy. We're waiting for both of us to be weak at the same time."
Dog personalities fill the house.
"We're so dorky. We have a voice made up for each dog. Flynn is Irish. Frank is a surfer. Duncan always says ‘Dude....’"
Duncan was once attacked by a cat while on a walk, Rick says, “Once we got home, he said 'Dude, I got cat-tacked!'"
Rick’s study of healthy foods began when Jackson, to whom Feed Your Best Friend Better is dedicated, was diagnosed with lymphoma. Chow is dedicated to the memory of Raleigh, a German Shepherd Collie mix.
“Chow has super easy things, ways to use things from the meal you're making for yourself, so you're more likely to do what's SO good for your dogs."
"One recipe, ‘Positively Better Than Peanut Butter,’ is really gross, but good for them. Dogs think it's the best thing in the world — and their bodies will too!"
The research for Chow got a little ridiculous, Rick says.
"Some foods were anti-inflammatory, and anti-this and anti-that and it got to where some foods didn't seem to like anything, but I realized how incredibly good these foods were for pets AND their people," Rick says. "I just want everybody to eat better.”
"It's a fact of life, dogs will pass before we're ready for them to. I would much prefer that we wear them out from old age, keeping them as healthy as we can for as long as we can."
All too familiar with the pain of parting company with a beloved four-footer, Rick says, "The driving force behind everything I do isn't just about a person's dog — it's about the people. I don't want people to have to go through what I went through with Jackson. I understand how important the relationship, the bond between the dog and their people, is."
When asked about prized possessions, Rick shares one that’s unique.
"When Jackson died, I held onto his ashes for over a year. We shared the same birthday. I spread his ashes all around the house, so he would always protect the home. Among the ashes I found his little silver tooth. I kept it, and put it on a keychain. Someone borrowed my keys, and lost them, and I politely flipped out. Happily she found them, and I realized just how much it meant to me."
His favorite place?
"Road 28, outside Rhododendron — I just love to hang out there with the dogs." he says with verbal cartwheels. "The last time we went was with Raleigh, just before she passed away. I discovered Road 28 on her birthday — it was beautiful. I was so grateful for that day, it was just so perfect. Ferns and so much moss you would not believe it."
His #1 bucket list item — a mountain cabin.
"I want to have a place to take it easy and NOT do stuff. I need more time to get bored! I could spend an entire day reading in the hammock. This summer I've probably spent a total of eight hours in the hammock. I need more hammock time."
What’s the shoe that is so Rick, a trim looker as dashing in a suit as jeans and fleece? "Adidas, of course — ZX flux. All navy... they go well with jeans, a little cushy. I stand all day at my desk [he’s a reporting analyst at Adidas]. I make sense of data, whether it's financial reports or dog food!"
What's the best part of coming home?
"Flynn gives the world's best hugs. He puts his head underneath your chin, and just breathes you in, and kind of hums. It's just such a sweet, sweet thing."
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood.
Christy Caballero writes from her soul about animals. She's received four Maxwell Awards from the Dog Writers Assn of America. There are two retired racers (greyhounds) and one kinda neurotic foster greyhound and three BIG RagaMuffin kitties at home who are occasionally impressed enough to let her and her hubby Herb sit on the couch with them.