Monday, May 2, 2011

Feeding the Fire

This is a sponsored review by
BlogHer and Purina.

I am passionate about the performance that I get from my dogs. As a result, what goes into them has become more important than what I get out of them. These things are tightly bound, and out of necessity I have learned much about nutrition over the years. I compete with working Border Collie sheepdogs around the country and the world, so when Purina and BlogHer cast about for dog owners to review Purina Pro Plan Selects Formula dog food, I threw down! Nutrition is the key to everything having to do with all my dogs, old, young, hardworking, big and small. It literally creates the fire in their bellies.

AS Price at 11 Years Old

It is an all too familiar twist of fate that the best things come to us when we are altogether without the experience necessary to appreciate them. I was green, so green, when Price came into my life as a talented pup. He taught me everything I know…and know better, about how to handle a sheepdog, while demonstrating patience, resiliency, unflinching commitment, a red hot passion for the job, and such resolute devotion to me that I am reduced to tears if I dwell on it. At 11 years old, he is still my go-to-guy when the job gets tricky, and he sleeps in the house. After all these years, I cannot recall a single instance when he has ever let me down. Price gets the very best I can provide, and I know now just how fortunate I am to have shared his life. I will keep the hearth warm for him always.

Imported Taddymoor Mirk

Straight off a Welsh Mountain sheep farm in South Wales, Mirk bears the biggest burden of success in my kennel. At 4 years old, he came to me for the sole purpose of winning open field sheepdog trials, and he must shoulder that responsibility on a daily basis. His life revolves around a rigorous training regimen designed to improve stamina and performance as well as the bond between us that is created by the work. To be at his best, Mirk must remain in peak health. He must want to work for me, and to do that, he must respect and love me in that order. Mirk is the dog that waits at the gate. No matter what time of day or night, whenever I look out my window, it’s Mirk that’s waiting for me to take him to work. With a resting heartbeat equal to that of Lance Armstrong’s in training, first and foremost, Mirk is a tireless athlete, but dog trialing is a team sport, and I have a part to play. I bank his coals.

Kensmuir Star
Heir apparent, Star is so much more than I could have ever expected. A pup is a crap shoot, that’s all. You breed the best to the best and you hope for the best. Sometimes you lose, other times, surpass expectations, and when you get really lucky, you exceed your wildest dreams. Star has had every opportunity, countless hours of my time, the finest nutrition. At a tender age, Star won the first dog trial in which he was entered. Currently ranked 19th in the nation among working sheepdogs, Star has kept right on outpacing my hopes for him. He has gone from a questionable prospect to my calling card when I show up to compete. I used to be greeted with “how’s Price?” at a dog trial, and now I hear “is that Star?” Word travels fast, and Star’s flame has caught.

Just a fat, gamboling puppy when I first laid eyes on him, Jed has matured into an extremely athletic and unusually bright prospect. Border Collies have been selectively bred for hundreds of years for nothing more than the ability to complete the job of helping shepherds tend their sheep. Believing it best to allow a puppy full maturity before training them, at 1 year of age, I have done nothing with Jed except teach him respect, good manners, and love him to bits. With a young pup, the most important involvement I can have is to nurture all the qualities necessary for him to become a successful working sheepdog. At his age, the single most important of these is nutrition to create the spark. Then, when the time is right, I’ll ignite it.

Dexter is my joy, my laughter, the lift in my shoes, and the smile on my lips. Dexter brings happiness, which is without question, the reason for his being. With just days to live, he was saved by a rescue, and came to me from his loving foster mom with whom I am still in contact 2 years later. Dexter is the embodiment of love, and is liberal with his gift. He loves everyone, man, woman and child. Sickly, with hips and ribs protruding, he was found wondering the streets at a scant 5 pounds, and it’s hard to imagine how he survived. We loved him, nursed him, and most importantly, we fed him. Health care and nutrition played the most important parts in his revival, and today I have a robust, spirited, shining example of redemption that continually warms me with his glow.

When I began feeding Purina Pro Plan Selects Formula dog food, the first things I noticed were the smell and the color. Dark and rich looking, it did not smell like dog food, it smelled like fish, which is the 1st ingredient of the Natural Salmon and Brown Rice formula I chose. I am deliberately considerate with the care of my dogs. Purina Pro Plan Selects Formula dog food is a good fit for the needs of my dogs, because it is formulated to provide only the finest ingredients, without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. I appreciate that. I am deeply indebted to my dogs for the countless gifts they have given me over the years and a healthy diet is the single best way for me to fan the flames.

Want to stoke a fire of your own? I am offering a sweepstakes giveaway for a $100 VISA gift card provided by BlogHer. It’s easy, between the dates of May 2 and May 31st, just leave a comment to this post, or tweet about it, click on “time” of the tweet and leave the URL as a comment here, or include it in your blog and leave that URL here. Please go here to receive a coupon for Purina Pro Plan Selects Formula

Here are the rules:

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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.