We were thrilled when Jim Wilkes expressed an interest in writing an article about the show! Check out the Miniature Toy Australian Shepherd- new relatively new breed, very cool.
Back to Dinner with your dog
Dinner with your dog
October 27, 2011
Laura Ducharme left, host of the Pet Network’s Fido and Wine show, and producer Jen Mitchell nuzzle Bambi, a Teacup Australian Shepherd, during a shoot at Paws Way on Queen’s Quay.
Jim Wilkes/Toronto Star
The idea for Pet Network’s Fido and Wine TV show came to producer Jen Mitchell when her dog Hank grew listless and out of sorts.
“Coming through the winter a couple of years ago he started slowly looking shabbier, dull-coated,” she recalls. “He started whining constantly.
“He couldn’t run and he just seemed to be in pain.”
A vet told her Hank, a 10-year-old chocolate Lab, had arthritis and needed long-term medicine to fix what ailed him.
“But I don’t believe in people or pets taking a lot of medication unless you really have to,” she says. “If you can heal yourself through food and getting the right nutrition, that was the best place to start.” So Mitchell took the same approach to Hank as she would to herself. She started feeding him the kind of healthy homemade meals she’d eat herself.
“I love to cook. I do it for myself,” she says. “And when you look at commercial food for dogs, they can put almost anything in it.
“Trying to decipher a pet food label is all so mysterious.”
She said she noticed results right away when she began a meat-based diet. The spring returned to Hank’s step and the whining stopped.
“Dogs aren’t supposed to have a lot of grain, if at all,” Mitchell explains. “Give them as much meat as you can afford to feed them.
“Obviously it’s cheaper to buy processed food than it is to buy fresh meat and vegetables. Just like feeding your family, it can be expensive or economical, depending on how you shop.”
So she prepared human-grade meals for her four-legged pal.
“Sometimes it’s a lot healthier than the stuff I cook for my fiancé and I,” she laughs.
And so was born the idea for a TV show.
Mitchell recruited host Laura Ducharme and they’ve put together a first season of shows that air on Rogers Channel 268 on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. The shows are rerun during the week and on the digital iChannel.
“It’s a pet cooking show, but it’s for you, too,” Mitchell says. “If you’re making fish for supper tonight, why not give your dog some and here’s how to do it.”
Following her formula, Hank “is super-fantastic,” she says. “He is shiny, happy, nimble.
“He’s not a young pup any more, but I take him along on bike rides and he runs beside me. It’s made a huge difference.”
Ducharme said the three passions of her life are dogs, food and wine, so the show is an extension of her own life, where Phoenix, a yellow Lab and beagle cross, is a just another member of the family that includes her husband and three kids, age 11 to 21.
“My whole family eats what I’m making and Phoenix does, too,” she says.
She said her family was a bit skeptical when she started cooking meals they could all eat.
“And then they took a few bites and scarfed down the whole thing,” she laughs.
A favourite recipe is chicken and waffles, layered with green apple slices and parsley, although Phoenix doesn’t get the maple syrup treatment like they do.
She even made Phoenix a meat birthday cake with sweet potato icing, dyed pink with beet juice.
“Most people I know are very supportive and think it’s all great,” says Mitchell, who also has another dog, Miko. “But you definitely get people who think you’re nuts.
“It’s not good to feed your dog red velvet cupcakes every day, but I consider them to be like my babies, my kids. I don’t feed my family processed food every night, so why would I feed them anything different?”
See Fido and Wine online at www.thepetnetwork.tv/fido-wine and www.facebook.com/fidoandwine