Hercules is our Black Lab puppy. And we think he’s pretty amazing 🙂
This addition to our family was a difficult decision, to be completely honest. We just said goodbye to our 2 amazing boys just a few months ago.. the pain was still so recent.. the emotions were still so fresh. Just 4 months ago our 13 year old lab/rottie mix, Max, passed away and just a month before our cat, Storm, passed away suddenly. (Picture of our boys below)
I missed having a dog. Max was “my” dog I got in college, before I met my hubby 🙂 He was my youth, he was my child, he was my best friend.. and I missed the loving excitement of a dog in our home. I was looking at puppies for adoption and we were discussing breeds, but my hubby and I both agreed we’d wait at least 6 months.. maybe longer before we got a new addition..
I decided that we shouldn’t be picky about breed, size or age.. that I wanted the “feeling” I wanted to KNOW it was the right dog….
Then IT happened. As I said, sooner than ideal..
It was April 1st, which would have been Max’s 14th birthday and I was missing him.. I was checking my email.. reading the newsletter from the farm we get our Raw Milk from The Family Cow…. and “IT” happened.. I got the feeling.
“Dingo and Simba had Puppies! They had three males and one female. Two of the males were yellow like their dad, Simba -“The Bull Dog“, and the other is black like his mom, Dingo. The one female is black just like her mom, too. They are 11 weeks old and have been vet checked, dewormed and given their shots, etc. The puppies are purebred Labrador Retrievers though they are not registered…
…Hercules, the black male, had an injury as a very small puppy (Dingo snapped at him while she was eating we think) that left a scar under his left eye. He is the biggest of all the puppies and very healthy and active, but he is “handsome challenged.”
The puppies have eaten 100% real organic food since birth. Of course they started off purely on raw milk from mom Dingo but then by 4 or 5 weeks started in on raw cow’s milk, raw eggs, and chicken and beef broth and stock and raw meat. Yes, Dawn made stock for the puppies! She is a boy’s dream mom! Today the puppies will eat anything the boys shoot for them: ground hogs, pigeons, starlings… you name it. They are healthy, strong, smart and incredibly big for their age. Hercules weighs 25 lbs!” (Click HERE to read the entire email)
I was immediately in LOVE with Hercules. It couldn’t be more perfect! He was a organic puppy from our favorite farm!!
But it wasn’t meant to be.. 🙁 Hercules was already spoken for and I was sad… Then the following evening I got an email that Hercules was OURS, the other family couldn’t take him!
Saturday morning my mom and I made the 3 hour drive to pick up Hercules.. and as we were pulling into the drive way my mom says to me.. “Hayley, what if you don’t FEEL a connection with him??” I replied “I don’t know”
We got out of the car and the parents/puppies came running out of the fence towards us.. as I approached I was looking for my “handsome challenged” Hercules…. It’s hard to see much with a flood of dogs and puppies coming to greet you 🙂
I knelt down, setting the collar and leash I got for Hercules on the ground….My eyes met Hercules’ just as he got to me.. and you’ll never believe it.. He grabbed his collar/leash and ran off with it! There it was. He was destined to be mine, this was right. He knew and I knew 🙂
We’ve now had Hercules with us for 7 weeks. He’s a robust 42 pounds!! We’ve continued feeding him nutrient dense, raw foods. The scaring around his eye is still an unresolved issue, most likely we will need to have surgery sooner than later. We are confident that he can see out of his eye, but the eye opening is small and the eyelid is curling in. With the eyelid curling in, his eye is leaky/watery from the little furs getting into his eye. The constant irritation can cause damage to the eye and could result in him loosing vision or the eye itself becoming infected which could then need to be removed entirely. (the picture below is right after he came home, he is so cute! He’s laying in the door way of the chicken coop, no our house isn’t that dirty!)
I’m sure it’s obvious that since our health is so important, so is Hercules’ health. Max, our previous dog, wasn’t raised completely naturally but Hercules is being raised better, more naturally. And I wanted to share with you a few areas to consider if you want to raise a puppy naturally like us!
- Food – We’ve decided to feed Hercules exclusively a RAW food diet because we feel it’s what is best for his body. We vary his diet including pre-made raw pet food patties (Click HERE for our favorite), Raw Venison and Raw Eggs (from our free range chickens, shells and all!) Hercules also gets 2T of Organic Coconut Oil every day (Click HERE for pet coconut oil) given as treats when made into my Perfectly Portioned Coconut Oil (Click HERE to learn how to make them)
- Chewies & Treats – Every day Hercules gets 2 – Raw Chicken Feet (yes bones, skin and all), he always has a raw bone to help with teething (beef marrow bones, lamb shanks, beef knuckles, etc), Deer Antlers and his good-boy/training treats are homemade (click HERE for how I make his treats). We also allow him to have lots raw veggies and fruit (he loves watermelon!)
- Veterinarian Care – Hercules goes to a Holistic Vet. Yes, It’s 90 miles away, but so worth it to us!
- Vaccines – There was no argument when we declined all vaccinations except rabies, which is specifically why we choose a Holistic Vet.
- Neutering – We have also decided to delay neutering until Hercules is at least 1 year old, new research is showing that neutering does not protect male dogs as most people have believed. We haven’t decided 100% that we will neuter Hercules, ideally we would like to allow him to remain intact – possibly just having a vasectomy performed instead 🙂 only his personality will determine our ultimate decision.
- Fleas – We are using Diatomaceous Earth as a flea prevention/treatment (along with other methods, click HERE for more information on our flea/tick repelling routine) Regularly vacuuming our home, frequently washing his bedding and dusting him/our home with DE are essential parts to Natural Flea Control. (Click HERE for the Diatomaceous Earth we use and HERE for the Duster)
- Bathing – I try to avoid bathing Hercules, I mean really.. dogs wouldn’t naturally lather themselves up, right?? However, there are times when it’s necessary, especially with a active dog like ours! We use a non-toxic castile soap (click HERE for the one we use) Bathing your dog frequently, especially with harsh toxic chemical based soaps, is damaging to their skin and will strip the oils from their fur.
As our experience with raising a natural puppy grows, I’ll be sure to share with you what w’eve learned.. what’s working and what’s not. (He’s growing up so fast!! Picture below is at 18 weeks old, 40 pounds)