Feeding Jernee

Pictured Poetry created by Tremaine L. Loadholt

On the menu for the next two weeks for The Little Monster: brown rice, scrambled eggs, garden peas, sweet potatoes, & salmon.

And of course, she loves it!

Jernee: A Glimpse

Jernee: staring intently at me while my mom prepares a lunch she cannot have–sloppy joes. Video created by Tremaine L. Loadholt

I have my mom over for the weekend, and this is just a short clip from yesterday, of Jernee intently staring directly at me because she wanted some of what my mom was preparing to eat, which she could NOT have–sloppy joes!

When these two get together, a barrel of laughs is had. Lol. You can hear my mom talking in the background stating something along the lines of, “You keep saying she can’t hear and can’t see” and also, “She wasn’t paying me any kind of attention.”

My mom is a loud talker. Everything she says is at a volume I’d consider NOT being an “inside voice.” I’m certain that’s the blend of the Bronx, New York and West Savannah, Georgia deeply embedded in her upbringing. Lol!

I’m forever “Shushing” her and to no avail. Oh, but she is certainly funny, and Jernee & I enjoy her company from time to time.

She can be a bit much, though. This weekend, however, we are managing not to get on each other’s nerves too badly. So, I’ll take it.

Also, this is my first post using the Jetpack app which WordPress has basically shoved down my throat. Please tell me if the post is generated okay for you on your end.

I’ve also been using the Jetpack reader for about three days. Not bad. Not bad at all, actually. I may end up being a fan.

The Joys of Cooking Your Dog’s Food

How I am transitioning to homemade dog food for Jernee

Fresh Pet turkey & chicken loaf, ground beef, rice, & green beans. This initial dish was a hit with Jernee, and it inspired me to move forward with making all of her food & treats on my own. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Freshpet turkey & chicken roll, ground beef, white rice, & green beans. This initial dish was a hit with Jernee, and it inspired me to move forward with making all of her food & treats on my own. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Recently, I began cooking Jernee’s dog food after dealing with several middle-of-the-night races down three flights of stairs to get my baby the relief she needed from her bowels. Waking up at the asscrack of dawn to ensure your dog does not spew bubble gut juices all over your bedroom carpet several times a month is not the look, people. I am not built for this type of awakening. 

I like my sleep.

Jernee has always had some form of digestive issue. She is prone to hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and has GERD, so I have had to maintain a strict diet for her. But as she ages; it is truly getting worse. 

We have tried several *luxury* brand name dog foods meant solely for senior dogs and their digestive health. However, The Little Monster, at times, still cannot get relief from the changes in her system.

I finally put my foot down two weeks ago after I jumped up from my bed because of her insistent whining, slipped on some clothes in a fit to pull her from her crate, and rushed outside to get her to greener pastures for business doing

I had HAD enough! I said to my sleep-deprived self, “Something has to change. I can’t keep doing this!” 

And something did. I am making her dog food myself, and so far, it has proven to be the best decision I have made for her. (And for me, too.)

Our First Batch of Homemade Dog Food

I started our new journey with the rest of her Freshpet chunky chicken & turkey roll, some ground beef, white rice, and green beans. This combination/dish (pictured as the cover photo) was/is a hit with Jernee. 

As I was making the batch, I placed two teaspoons on her dinner mat for her to taste-test, and she slurped it up as if it would be her last meal. 

I smiled. Batch #1 of homemade dog food had passed my baby’s palate test, and I could bask in the pure essence of DogMomhood knowing I was stepping into the light of something huge for both of us.

The first batch lasted for about two weeks. Knowing what she could eat and what she likes, I began to research a few other safe foods for dogs for future recipes:

  • Salmon
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pumpkin

The above foods are considered safe for dogs to eat, and I will be incorporating them into future dishes for my sweet, aging girl.

When you have a senior dog, and you are in tune with their health and well-being, you are going to do whatever you can to keep them on a healthy journey as they age. 

I am doing whatever is necessary to give my girl the relief she needs while managing to keep her active and alert, too.

The Next Batch Was Small But Jernee-Approved

On Sunday morning, February 12, 2023, I made a small batch of a salmon-based dish because I knew the first batch of food would be finished/gone later that evening.

In Batch #2 I put: salmon, scrambled eggs, white rice, and green beans. Did Jernee approve? Yes, she did! 

Jernee’s Batch# 2 homemade food: salmon, scrambled eggs, rice, & green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Jernee’s Batch# 2 homemade food: salmon, scrambled eggs, rice, & green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I prepared the salmon the night prior by simply cooking it in the oven — no seasonings — just its natural flavor. After it cooled, I let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. I cooked the rice, scrambled eggs, and green beans on Sunday morning and mixed everything together. When the batch was at room temperature, I placed it in the fridge. 

I intended to have The Little Monster savor this dish Monday morning and Monday night as well. 

She has fallen prey to my luring abilities with these homemade dishes, and I think it is safe to say, she will not be reversing or converting back to actual dog food.

I am okay with this.

Homemade Treats and Batch# 3 Are Life Savers

Jernee, I’d say, isn’t too hard to please, she just has . . . limitations of which I have to be aware, and that makes cooking for her hard. However, I am making my way along this journey smoothly, and with each batch, I have made thus far, The Little Monster has enjoyed them. So, I am doing something right.

Enter sweet potato, apple, and banana treats . . . I didn’t taste-test them myself, I did not! That may or may not be a lie. 

These goodies are like candy for Jernee. I place one in her food in the morning and one in her dinner in the evening. She devours every morsel and leaves not one crumb in her bowl.

Homemade sweet potato, apple, and banana treats. Excuse the scratches in my favorite frying pan. It cooks the same! Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Homemade sweet potato, apple, and banana treats. Excuse the scratches in my favorite frying pan. It cooks the same! Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

The treats weren’t hard to make at all. I simply took some cooked sweet potatoes, diced apples (Gala), and sliced bananas, and mixed them together. I formed them into little balls and baked them in the oven at 400° for 20 minutes. I allowed them to cool for 30 minutes, then placed them in the fridge overnight.

She loves them!

Batch #3 of her actual food is probably my favorite blend of all things delicious. I bought a Freshpet Select Tender Chicken (and veggies) roll and made some ground beef, brown rice, and green beans. The tender chicken roll already has carrots and a bit of brown rice in it as well, so I did not need to add any more veggies to this batch.

Batch #3, Freshpet Select Tender Chicken, ground beef, brown rice, and green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Batch #3, Freshpet Select Tender Chicken, ground beef, brown rice, and green beans. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

So far, this batch seems to be her favorite when gauging the excited dance she does before every single meal versus the slightly kick-step she did with the previous two batches. It is really quite a sight for sore eyes! 

This behavior proves that Jernee is benefiting from the homecooked food and treats more than the store-bought dry and wet foods.

Will This Be Our Go-to From Now On

As long as her digestive system seems to be on the up and up, I will continue to make various dishes and batches of homecooked meals for her. I doubt anything will change in the future as I have noticed taking this route is saving me some money as well. A 4lb bag of the Wellness CORE Digestive Health for Senior Dogs costs me $22.46 after taxes. 

Add her Freshpet wet foods and Blue Buffalo small biscuit treats, and I would typically pay around $52.00 as my monthly fee. With this method, I am saving close to $18.00 per month so far from my calculations. 

Listen, I will take every bit of savings I can get these days. It’s a win-win for both of us. She’s happy with the recipes I am concocting and I am happy with the results — a happy senior dog who seems to have a better digestive system from the change.

I think it is safe to say, this is our life now. 

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.


Pictured Poetry created by Tremaine L. Loadholt

The recommended calming treats, complete with CBD oil, have been ordered for my little monster.

I’m praying, upon their arrival, they will help with her anxiety. She has been keeping me up some nights, and Mommy is not a happy camper about this.

That’s the life of a senior dog parent, though, right? Right.

Their Hungry Hearts Were Fed in Full

Flash Fiction

Their Hungry Hearts Were Fed in Full by Tremaine L. Loadholt

He lay in the middle of the road, shivering from the intense cold. Darius slows the car down to a stroll. Serena opens the door — tightens the feel of her winter coat around her, and rushes to scoop up the precious thing into her arms.

It is a cold, late autumn night. She and Darius had just left a charity event thrown by her company — a non-profit organization built on the premise of revitalizing their city and finding homes for stray dogs and cats. What were the chances they would land upon a chocolate Cocker Spaniel/Labrador mix in the middle of the road on their drive back home?

She looks into its eyes and rolls it over onto its back, staring past its belly to check its gender — male. She whispers to the drenched ball of fur, “Fate. I think we’ll call you, ‘Fate.’”

She runs toward their car, pulls the door open, and quickly slides onto the heated seat. Darius is thumping his ashy thumbs on the steering wheel. He stares at her intently and says, “Who could leave such a sweet baby to fend for itself out here in all this?!” His hands flail dramatically in front of him.

“I named him ‘Fate.’ I think he will be a great addition to our family, Darius. Sebastian and Nora will fall in love with him. They truly will!”

Darius and Serena had a two-year-old Goldendoodle and a four-year-old Maine Coon cat at home. Both were rescues. Sebastian, the Goldendoodle, had been found in a ditch three miles away from their home on a sunny July morning. Nora, the Maine Coon, had been seen running feverishly out of a burning shed one mile away from their church.

Their home had been a quiet, welcoming spot for both animals. And now, it will be one for Fate, too.

As they pull into the driveway, Serena towel-dries Fate with one of the heavy towels the couple keeps in their car as part of their “emergency kit.” The little thing moves gingerly in her care as if to signal he understands what is going on. She scoops him up and places a gentle kiss on his snout.

Inside their home, Sebastian sits with Nora in their living room — his fluffy bottom faces the fireplace. Nora nestles alongside his chest — sleeping to the sound of his heartbeat.

Serena tiptoes to their kitchen — pulls out a favorite brand of puppy dog food, and sprinkles one scoop into Fate’s bowl. Next to this hearty meal, she fills another bowl with fresh water. She places Fate on the floor and watches his reaction.

The puppy lunges toward the bowl housing the food — hungry for a meal he hadn’t had in days. He swallows hurriedly, breathing in small pants between each bite. He shuffles his furry little body over to the water and sips until his belly pokes out.

Serena’s eyes fill with tears. One slips away and slides down her cold face. Darius stands at the kitchen entrance and gazes upon his wife and their new baby as they bond.

Who’s feeding whom? Who saved who?

As time passes, Fate grows along with Sebastian and Nora. The three of them fill Darius and Serena’s hearts with so much love. The couple watches their three fur babies interact with each other daily. The connection can only be described as “kismet,” — they were meant to be.

And with Fate’s name literally tying the family closer, Serena knows it is time to announce their newest addition. She turns to Darius as he watches the threesome plop around playfully in their backyard, leans closer to him, and nudges his chin. A glimmer in her eyes appears when she says, “Babe, I’m pregnant.”

The news floors Darius. It overcomes him with joy. They had tried for years to conceive and now … they could breathe easier. As the two of them zoom in on their small family, they envision it becoming bigger.

The work they do — the families they connect with when finding the best homes for stray dogs and cats invigorates them.

How will they continue their cause with a baby in tow?

They can and they will.

Someone has to fight the brutal fight of maintaining beauty and comfort in their thriving neighborhood. Someone has to feed the babies of the world — both humans and animals. Someone has to clear the streets of garbage, lost sneakers, and cigarette butts.

Fate brought more to Serena and Darius than just peace — he brought love — deep, everlasting love.

And now, on a chilly night in late November, not only have their hearts bloomed with indescribable joy, they are fed in full.

©2022 & 2023 Tremaine L. Loadholt

This is a slightly edited version of a piece written for Hinged.press’ (formerly, The Weekly Knob) annual participation in “Thankmas”. Thank you for reading.

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.