My serendipity is how I found something truly life changing, worthwhile and productive out of something quite scary.
I was a Siberian Samoyed breeder and exhibitor, and one of my male dogs, Blake, started out in life as a normal healthy pup. I travelled around New Zealand with him enjoying dog shows. He was often beating the Samoyeds competition as a baby puppy, then held his own as a puppy up to a year old. It was then as a junior, he stopped gaining the weight he should have and just wasn’t filling out. So I had to pull him out of the dog show ring.
By the time he was four, he had seen a kinesiologist, had an ultrasound on his spleen, chest x-rays and blood tests done to find out why he had become so anorexic. He was 5 kilograms underweight and had no undercoat.
My Samoyed's Dog Food Allergy
It turned out that my Samoyed Blake had dog food allergies that gave him a bronchial condition like asthma. He had grey spots on his lungs and I was told his breathing will probably get worse. The dreaded words possible leukemia were mentioned at one point by the vet. He had a rattle in his chest at this stage and a cough. Food types were suspected by the kinesiologist and beef, dairy and wheat ended up being the suspects.
So I went on a mission to find some sort of anti allergy dog food for him that was gluten free, beef and dairy free, and had no corn or preservatives. But I could not find a single food that matched exactly what I wanted for Blake and that he liked the taste of.
I Had to Make My Own Allergy Free Dog Food...
I’ve always been a bit of a foodie, so I researched for weeks what herbs would be beneficial. Finally I concocted a very special homemade dog food recipe in my home kitchen and baked a large round biscuit with lamb, molasses, herbs, and absolutely NO preservatives, colorings or additives!
It Was My Best Homemade Dog Food Ever!
Suddenly Blake couldn’t get enough of my homemade dog biscuits, and neither could my other Samoyed dogs and my friends’ dogs. I would do the taste test by putting another brand of popular dog biscuit on the floor alongside my homemade “brand”, and every time dogs would go for mine first.
I started to see my "Smiling Sammy" put on weight and progress into a healthier, normal dog.
A Little Business Idea
My friends began asking why I hadn’t made a little business out of my discovery. So I thought about it for a while and started a little part-time enterprise called Beggs Gourmet. The biscuit was now officially named Blake’s Bikkits. In NZ we call them biscuits, not cookies, and the word bikkits is old fashioned Kiwi slang for biscuits. They are marketed as a natural treat not a complete food.
I’m now in my 8th year of trade, have many more flavors and sizes and a few other natural products to help people like me find the best diet and natural healthcare for their dogs. Blake’s Bikkits are currently available in New Zealand although were sold in Hong Kong for a short time as well. There are more products and ideas coming this year so I think I should expand and possibly export to the US and other countries. I do get plenty of requests from overseas for my unique allergy free dog food but I’m not good in export and import requirements that are very strict.
Smiling Samoyed Blake
It’s been quite an exciting ride, and the one person I have to thank for my journey into chemical-free pet-care is my Siberian Samoyed Blake. So how is the old boy these days?
Blake is now 12 years old and he’s doing great. He looks like a much younger, robust dog, and this year he had a chest x-ray which showed NO grey spots on his lungs and no sign of any asthma symptoms. He has been the poster boy for Blake’s Bikkits for nearly 8 years and wears the title proudly at trade shows.
About the Author
Guest written by Marilyn Begg.
Marilyn Begg is a personal dog lifestyle trainer (or personal trainer for dogs and their owners) in New Zealand. She helps dog owners with issues they may have whether they are physical, behavioral, nutritional or medical and refers them to specialists when needed. Owner and Manager of Beggs Gourmet, she produces Blake's Bikkits dog treats. Please visit her company's website or a Facebook page.
Photos Credits: Marilyn Begg.