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Dog food gets 'cool' reception

Grants Pass pet owner markets natural cubes

For Lucy Warnick of Medford, fresh food for her new puppy is worth considering.

I think it's a great idea to avoid preservatives, said Warnick, one of many customers taking free homemade pet food samples at the Ashland Food Cooperative Friday.

Kristi King couldn't agree more.

King, of Grants Pass, grinds up raw chicken, grains and veggies, with some other supplements, scoops the concoction into ice cube trays, and, since October, has been selling three-pound bags of the frozen food cubes in several Rogue Valley stores.

The owner of Kristi's All Natural Pet Food said animals benefit from several vitamins, amino acids, trace elements and enzymes that are lost in highly processed dry and canned pet foods. And she said they gobble up the raw stuff.

— Ninety-nine percent of them love it, she said, explaining that a few customers have reported that their pets won't eat the mixture.

King stocked a supply of Stormy's Super Supper for dogs and Smudge's Savory Stew for cats in the Co-op freezer near the pet food.

Depending on the size of your pet, one three-pound bag lasts several days, she said. For example, a medium-sized dog would get four days out of one bag, which costs &

36;7.99.

It's definitely more expensive than dry kibble food, which is the worst you can get, and it's a little more expensive than canned, said King. She said the ground whole chicken, eggs, calcium, enzymes, oats, rye, vegetables, yogurt and other supplements is closer to their natural diet.

King, a legal secretary and medical transcriptionist, said she hopes the business does well enough to make a living from it, because she loves helping animals.

I do it because I had a German shepherd, she was 8 years old and she developed bone cancer, she said. A vet recommended the raw food diet, which she switched to.

She was too far gone for it to make a difference for her, she said. But it got her thinking that it made sense to feed her animals a good diet before it was too late.

King said her two dogs and five cats thrive on the raw food, which they've been on for four years.

She considers them her guinea pigs, so to speak.

She said just as people can develop allergies, skin conditions, digestive problems or diseases from a poor diet, so can animals. And she said a lifetime of dry kibble can leave our pets' diets lacking.

She said she believes the raw diet helps her dog, Stormy, who has massive arthritis in her spine and knees.

She acts like a puppy, said King.

Co-op shopper Noel Chatroux of Ashland thought the idea of raw food sounded good.

This looks like something I could make myself, said Chatroux, who bought a bag to try out on his two dogs at home.

He said if his dogs liked it, he would consider making up his own batches of food.

It would be nice to have something so I didn't have to buy all the time, he said.

Where to get 'pupsicles'

Kristi's All Natural Pet Food is available in freezers at the following locations:

Ashland Food Cooperative Store, 237 N. First St., Ashland.

Market of Choice, 1475 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

Market of Choice, 1555 Williams Highway, Grants Pass.

Sunshine Natural Foods Cafe & Market, 128 SW H St., Grants Pass.

Grants Pass Wednesday Growers Market, Riverside Park, 9 a.m. to — p.m.

Kristi King of Grants Pass is marketing a new kind of dog food that gets back to pooches? roots as wild animals. She combines raw meat with vegetables and supplements, freezes the mix in ice-cube trays to preserve it and bags it for sale.