Earlier this year, we launched an appeal to find a new pack hero, a real dog and Vet’s Kitchen advocate prepared to appear on the packaging of our new Sensitive Duck variety of dry dog food. This month, the shortlist was announced, so let's meet the finalists, each hoping to be Vet’s Kitchen’s next pack hero. The winning pooch will not only be the face of the new product, he or she will also win a year’s supply of food.
Meet the Finalists
Beach, sea, sand and ball (preferably a tennis ball!)
Border terrier, Ralph, was a retirement present from Mark to Rob after he left the police force. Both Mark and Rob wanted a small, hardy breed that could adapt to their life. When Mark found Ralph, he knew instantly the pup would be the perfect companion for them both. However, when Ralph was just three, he suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with canine epileptoid cramping syndrome, a hereditary disease of Border Terriers with similarities to canine epilepsy. Mark explains: “It was quite frightening. We could tell Ralph was 100% aware of what was happening to him but he had no control over it. We took him to the vets and they were able to treat him with diazepam to help make Ralph more comfortable. The vet also recommended we switch Ralph to a hypoallergenic or gluten free diet. We did a lot of research and what was evident was that the labelling on pet food is not particularly clear! We discovered Vet’s Kitchen and the packaging was so easy to understand we felt confident that Ralph would get the best formulated food to help manage his condition. He loves the Grain Free Pork and Potato Sensitive variety – and we always carry Little Stars treats for him when we’re out and about. We have one very happy dog – and we’re two very happy (and relieved) owners!”
Collie x Springer
Chasing a laser light
When owner, Julie, visited the Dog’s Trust in Evesham, she had done so with a very different dog in mind. However, when she got there, she was invited by volunteers to meet Ruby Sky, a Collie x Springer puppy in need of a lot of TLC. Julie instantly saw in Ruby Sky a kindred spirit. “My daughter had recently lost her elderly Westie and suffered a personal breakdown,” Julie explains. “And when we saw Ruby Sky, who just needed to be shown love, I realised our family would be a perfect match. She had spent a lot of time in isolation so when we got her home, she repeatedly trashed the house. We began puppy training, and gave her lots of care and attention to help her feel safe and secure. We spoke to our vet and they recommended Vet’s Kitchen for its natural ingredients. I looked into it and it was clear to me it had been made for dogs with dogs in mind, and not just for profit. Put simply, it was packed full of all the good stuff – no fillers. Over time, Ruby Sky became increasingly healthy, happier and energised – and so did we!”
Running and playing with her Trixie ball
Dora’s family had rescued whippets for many years but had always promised themselves that one day they would get a puppy. When their lifelong friend Sally passed away and left them a totally unexpected inheritance they decided the time was right and visited a breeder. They explained: “When Sally left us this special bequest we knew it was a sign. Amongst the litter, there was a pup with a tiny grey tear drop on her head. We knew she was the one – happiness emerging from sadness. We called her Dora, which means ‘gift’ as she was our gift from Sally. Not long after, we adopted a second Whippet called Amber as a companion for Dora. They’re our family and as such, we wanted to give them the best food we could afford. So many brands are manufactured abroad and have such bad carbon footprints. We went to Dogfest and met the Vet’s Kitchen team. We found out all about the products and the fact they’re manufactured here in the UK, using local ingredients wherever possible, and we really liked that. We took away a sample and we were sold. Both Dora and Amber are so much more enthusiastic at meal times – they do a little dance! Dora has a sensitive tummy and Vet’s Kitchen really helps to ease this. The ingredients really are excellent.”
Zoe and her partner rescued Bennie from Spaniel Aid UK. He’d had five homes, inconsistent training, little socialisation and had developed a number of behavioural issues. Bennie wouldn’t walk on a lead well, he barked at other dogs and struggled to settle. It quickly became apparent that Bennie also suffered from a sensitive tummy. Having tried a number of different diets, including a raw diet, they took Bennie to the vets. They discovered Vet’s Kitchen and decided to give its Sensitive variety a try, as Zoe explains: “Bennie has been on a Vet’s Kitchen diet now for two years. His stomach has settled, his coat is beautifully glossy and he’s a much calmer, happier dog as a result. Bennie is like a child to us. My mum calls him her ‘grand-dog’. Before, we felt nervous when out and about with him but he’s really growing in confidence. He goes where we go now – and we’re delighted.”
Ozzie, Phoenix and Marvel
Golden Retriever cross Poodle (Ozzie and Phoenix); Mini American shepherd (Marvel)
Ozzie – nine; Phoenix – seven; Marvel – two
Surveying their farm from a rocky outcrop!
Three dogs with big personalities, Ozzie, Phoenix and Marvel belong to couple, Gareth and Georgette and each has its own waggy tail to tell!
Cat owner Georgette wanted an older dog who would get on with her feline friend and found when she visited Rochdale Dog Rescue. His owners had found him too big and boisterous but living on a farm, Georgette had plenty of space to accommodate him.
Also rescued, almost didn’t make it into this world. Phoenix and her brothers and sisters were delivered by c-section but during the operation Phoenix’s nose was sliced off, almost killing her. “She survived, thankfully. I called her Phoenix for obvious reasons”, Gareth laughs.
, much smaller in size and age, is just two years old and Georgette chose her for agility, rally obedience and sports.
Georgette comments: “Our dogs are our life. We go running together four times a week and the rest of the time they’re either on the farm or at the vets’ school where I work. It’s incredibly hard to be sad when they’re around. It certainly would be very quiet without them!”
Gareth adds: “Before we fed Ozzie and Phoenix Vet’s Kitchen, they were on a raw food diet. However, Ozzie had quite an itchy coat. His slight frame also meant it was tricky maintaining his weight. We put both of them on to Vet’s Kitchen about five years ago and the change was transformational. Ozzie’s coat improved by about 90% and we’ve been able to maintain both his and Phoenix’s weight without any issues. When we got Marvel, we put her straight onto Vet’s Kitchen and we haven’t looked back. We like the fact the products are formulated by vets. We know they have dogs’ best interests at heart – and we therefore know we’re giving our dogs the best there is.”
Springer Spaniel cross Dalmatian
Tummy rubs under the duvet and chasing squirrels!
Veterinary student, Elli, found Dylan when a friend’s dog had puppies. There were just two left and Elli couldn’t leave without one – so she took Dylan home. It was the bond between dog and owner that had inspired Elli to become a vet and she wanted to experience this relationship for herself. “I’ve become borderline dog obsessed,” Ellie laughs. “We’re getting into agility at the moment and he loves it – he’ll jump anything in sight.”
Elli put Dylan on a Vet’s Kitchen diet when he developed digestive issues. Elli explains: “I did a lot of research before changing Dylan’s diet and when it comes to ingredients, I can’t find anything better. The quality is excellent and it’s a good price too. I want the best for Dylan – and that’s Vet’s Kitchen.”
And Dylan will need to be fit and healthy because when Elli qualifies next year, he’ll be joining her on the job. “I’m hoping to get a position in a mixed practice, visiting farms with Dylan by my side. It’s my dream, anyway!”
Obedience training and digging holes in the grass
When owner Tess lost two Afghan hounds within three months of each other, she was devastated. However, shortly after, a breeder posted a photo of an Afghan pup on Facebook and Tess instantly fell in love with her. When Rosie was 12 weeks old, she took her home and, as Tess describes, became her “whole family”. Rosie has been on Vet’s Kitchen food for four years. “I’d tried her on another pet food brand prior to switching to Vet’s Kitchen,” Tess explains, “but this suits her much better. She loves the flavour and is just much happier at meal times – and if she’s happy, I’m happy!”
Playing in muddy fields and trips to the seaside
Having wanted a Golden Retriever for a long time, Sam finally took the plunge and got Muffin when she was eight weeks old from a breeder. Muffin’s tummy could be sensitive at times so Sam ordered some samples of Vet’s Kitchen food. Sam explains: “I liked the science behind Vet’s Kitchen food and the added ‘vet know-how’. The ingredients are good quality and you know exactly what you’re feeding your dog. Muffin likes the Chicken and Brown Rice and Salmon and Potato varieties, as well as the Little Stars treats. There is a clean bowl every time – and no tummy upsets!”
Gizmo was a sorry sight when owner Tracey and her family rescued him. He’d been badly abused and neglected. He suffered from allergies and his skin had become very sore and red and he’d lost all the fur on his tail. He hadn’t been taken for walks, given toys and had never socialised. Tracey explains: “My eldest son really wanted a dog but my youngest had always been nervous around them. So it was a tall order to find a dog we could all love. When we saw Gizmo, he instantly melted all our hearts. We brought him home and nursed him back to health as a family. However, his allergies continued to persist. When we visited Dogsfest, we discovered Vet’s Kitchen and decided to try Gizmo on the Sensitive variety. It really worked. He especially enjoys the Little Stars treats. They are lovely and soft for small tummies and the handy-sized pack is great to take out and about. Gizmo is a completely different dog to when we first got him. He’s so much happier and healthier. The boys have an agility set and are starting to train him – he loves the tunnel!”
Bruce is a gentle giant. Clearly unaware of his size, he loves nothing more than sitting on his owners’ laps for cuddles. Claire got Bruce as a puppy from a breeder. He had a difficult start, needing an operation when he was just one to pin both of his back legs. He also suffered from sensitivities, as Claire explains: “It took us a while to find the right solution for Bruce’s sensitivities. But shortly after he was one, we tried Vet’s Kitchen and immediately, we noticed a big improvement. We like the variety Vet’s Kitchen offers – and Bruce loves the Little Stars treats. We can buy in bulk too, which is really helpful. He has such a lovely nature and we believe that his diet has a role to play in this. He’s our baby. It doesn’t matter what kind of day we’ve had, when we’re greeted by Bruce at the end of the day, you can’t be unhappy – and we just want to do right by him so he’s as happy as he can be.”
Now, all that is left to do is pick the winner! Bear with us, it's going to take a while!!!