We've been doing an experiment lately: we are mostly not feeding Ista dog food any more. Ever since she got so very sick in the fall, we'd been feeding her wet food. Dry dog food smells like dog food, no mistake, but wet dog food really smells like dog food. A lot. And getting out wet dog food twice a day was making our house smell very, very strongly of dog food to my nose. I love the smell of dog. Dog food, not so much. So when we had leftover grilled chicken and wild rice last month, I shredded some carrots into it and fed it to Ista. She loved it, and it smelled like chicken, rice, and carrots. (The "chicken-flavored" dog food smells like...wait for it...dog food.) So I've been browning meat, cooking batches of rice, and portioning it out into little baggies and tupperware in the freezer. When I have something leftover that she can have, I portion that out, too.
So far, she's happy and we're happy. No one is saying that she'll never eat dog food again, but no one is saying we'll never go out for a burger again, either. It's just better for her and us, so far, to mostly give her a mix of whole grains and meat and vegetables that we control, not a factory somewhere. Things like brown rice and ground meat are pretty cheap, and so far it's not taking me immense amounts of time and energy, which was the main thing that made this an experiment and not something we were definitely going to do: the other factors lean this way, but if it was going to mean that I became the dog's short-order cook, no way. But the thing is, she's a very small dog. Browning meat in any quantity makes a lot of meals for her. A big pot of brown rice will go a long way. So I don't have to do it very often in order to have plenty for her to eat.
Also the amount of packaging saved by using tupperware and larger initial packages of food instead of the wet packaged dog food is not inconsiderable.
One of the side effects of keeping this stuff in the freezer and microwaving it for her meals is that Ista sometimes "talks" to the microwave now. She doesn't bark at it, or growl. But if it's heating something she thinks should be her breakfast and she has awakened really hungry for whatever reason, she goes, "arroorroo arrell aroo?" rather conversationally at the microwave. Which amuses me.
I'm going to go out and mow the yard now, since it's finally not raining, and then we'll see what time I have before the concrete people are supposed to come and give me yet another estimate. I hope these people aren't as bad as the last sets of concrete people we've dealt with, but there has to be someone in the greater Twin Cities metro area willing to replace our front step, and apparently I have to be pretty persistent to find them. So persistent is what I will do.