Good day, Readers. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Katelyn Marozas. Katelyn and her “amazing little family consists of her husband James Marozas and their two “furever kids.” Katelyn provided some great pictures of her family which I’ve shared below. She and James are the proud pawrents of Sid, who is the larger red dog and Fey, the smaller black and white dog. I know Katelyn to be very engaged in providing her dogs with the best life she possibly can. Katelyn and her family live in Illinois and enjoy their beautiful life. Please read on to learn more about Katelyn’s Facebook page and her interest in caring for her “furever kids.”
1. I enjoy your FB page-https://www.facebook.com/groups/1712339202165821/. You frequently feature your dogs Sid and Fey. Have you always loved dogs?
~ I have always loved dogs and I like to think I inherited that from my parents even though I didn’t have the pleasure of having a dog during my childhood (I had to wait until I was 20 years old!).
2. How did you come to adopt both Sid and Fey?
~ I actually saw Sid up for adoption as a solo puppy on his rescues Facebook page. I knew about that rescue because the dog my parents adopted (when I was 20) came from there so I had been following them through social media. I’ll always remember the second I saw Sid’s picture I said, out loud while I was at work, “That’s my dog! I need to adopt him.” Right when I got home that night I filled out an application to adopt Sid and went through their process of a home visit, meet and greet, etc. I was so thrilled that I was chosen to adopt my baby boy. Fey ended up coming into our lives through our journey of fostering with Sid’s rescue just a year or so later! I was contacted by another volunteer asking if I could take in this sweet little puppy that was the runt of the litter. They sent me her photo and I said “Absolutely, I will!”. Fey was the 4th foster puppy who we had taken in (1 at a time, though) and as much as I love all of the fosters, Fey was definitely extra special and stole our hearts immediately. We ended up signing the adoption paperwork for her only a week later because I couldn’t imagine our lives without her!
3 What led you to start Sid and Fey’s Healthy Furbaby Forum?
~ At the time I had an eye opening realization that my idea of what was healthy and good for my dogs was actually not so great. I fell into the common mindset of listening to the kibble companies and not thinking outside the normal dog food box. My dogs, like many, had their own troubles with the conventional same bowl of kibble, every single day, and I wanted better for them. After researching for many months and learning tons of valuable information I really wanted to share my findings somehow to help other Pawrents. So, that is where Sid & Fey’s Healthy Furbaby Forum was born!
4 What advice would you give to prospective dog owners?
~ A good dog owner is open minded, responsible, educated, willing to learn, patient and flexible. You will not be an expert right away but you can do plenty to help prepare yourself. No matter where you get your dog from, what breed/mix they are, how old or young, (enter any other reason here) you will never be able to perfectly predict your dogs personality, temperament and needs. Be willing to look at training, diet, exercise, enrichment and socialization as an ever evolving regime that you adjust and update to fit your specific dogs needs throughout their life while you enjoy your journey together.
5. I believe you mentioned to me that you had fostered dogs. If so, please tell us about the joys and challenges of fostering.
~ Fostering is a beautiful adventure that I didn’t fully understand when I first signed up. Being the bridge between the end of a road and their forever home is by far one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. There is so much joy that comes with welcoming a dog (who has been let down by someone else) into your home and loving them as if they were your own, doing right by them by providing love, nurturing, guidance and safety. Every dog is different but you give them all the care that you can to help them understand that they can be a dog again. It is also extremely rewarding to be able to give another person or family a gift of unconditional love called a dog. Most people think they couldn’t foster because they wouldn’t be able to let the dogs go. Sometimes that happens and that’s okay but usually with fostering you should be trying to help many dogs, not just one, find their forever. Late nights, medications, lots of paperwork, meet and greets with families to see who would be a good fit for your specific foster are some of the challenges but of course the most challenging is to say goodbye. I always ask my adopters to keep in touch and send me updates because that way I can have reminders that I did the right thing and let that dog have a life they may never have gotten unless I said “Yes” to fostering them.
6. What can you tell us about healthy treats for larger dogs- 30-60+ pounds? How about smaller dogs, say 5- to under 30 pounds?
Healthy treats are definitely important and there really are a ton of options! I personally prefer simple, whole foods that are minimally processed like dehydrated or freeze dried organ meat or muscle meat. When it comes to commercially available treats I believe Momentum, Open Farm, The Honest Kitchen, Primal and Vital Essentials have some great options – everything from dehydrated mussels to freeze dried liver & hearts to fish skins – and these would all be great for any sized dog. A lot of things can be made at home if you have a dehydrator or set your oven low and let some thin chicken tender strips slowly dry out! If you are into raw treats there is nothing better than a frozen turkey neck or even a raw beef trachea to help clean your pups teeth and keep them busy for a while. For non raw options you can always opt for the dehydrated trachea, beef pizzle or even a Himalayan chew.
7. What got you interested in nutrition for dogs?
~ Originally I had started doing some research on dog diets because Fey had become disinterested in her food (a mixture of kibble and gently cooked dehydrated) which I had been feeding her and Sid for about two years. I would switch up the foods a little by changing the main protein (beef one month, pork the next, turkey the next) because I just thought that it had to be boring having the same food every day, month after month. Well when Fey started barely finishing her breakfast (and was healthy otherwise) I decided to look into how to increase their variety. Sid also has a “bad leg” from having his elbow broken prior to rescue so I needed to try to keep him at a healthy weight so he didn’t have extra strain on his joints and I found it very difficult to feed him as much as he was craving but still keep his weight down with the amount of carbs found in kibble. After researching other food options and eventually stumbling on a documentary called “Pet Fooled” I decided I really needed to make significant changes. We started feeding a fully raw balanced diet about a year ago and I would never go back to the old way.
8. Do Sid and Fey have favorite treats?
~ Oh yes, Sid absolutely LOVES fish. Especially large whole raw frozen sardines (not the little ones you find at the store in the cans) which I get from My Pet Carnivore and OC Raw Dog. Fey definitely gets excited over raw eggs (chicken & duck) – not necessarily a conventional treat but she loves them!
9. For those readers who have senior aged dogs who can’t walk as much as they used to, do you suggest particular forms of exercise – mental and/or physical that will benefit the dogs and work better with their limitations such as arthritis or other ailments older dogs might have?
~ Mental enrichment can be a wonderful thing for dogs with more physical limitations. I definitely recommend foraging games utilizing snuffle mats (a mat with fleece that you hide treats in for the dog to sniff out) or using a lickimat or stuffable toys (like West Paw Design Tux & Toppl toys) to freeze a healthy snack in which can provide them lots of entertainment without needing to move around much (try scrambling a raw egg & pureed spinach mixed together or even just freezing some of their canned food!). Swimming is also a very low impact exercise that is great for dogs of any size (as long as you’re patient and can help them learn to love it through positive reinforcement and guidance). Simply getting enough fresh air & air sniffs can tire dogs out – even if you need to carry them in a dog backpack if they can’t make a long walk. Also, brushing up on some simple commands that your dog already knows or teaching some new tricks can spark new light in a dog who is used to the same old activities!
10. What one thing do you think every dog owner should know?
~ It’s okay to try new things and always do your research – find multiple sources. We don’t get nearly enough time to enjoy our dogs so don’t be afraid to question the norm and seek new solutions to any problem.
11. What would you like us to know that I haven’t asked regarding creating optimum health for dogs?
~ Wellness for dogs includes many factors, much like it does for people. Often times dog owners get used to a routine and find it easier to just keep doing the same old same old with little to no effort to mix things up. Remember that your dog relies on you to provide the care they need not only to survive but to THRIVE. So… feed them a species appropriate diet, keep them at a fit and healthy weight, switch up their mental and physical exercise routine, go to training classes randomly throughout their life, ask about doing a titer test for certain vaccines to see if your dog still has the necessary antibodies, avoid using harsh chemicals inside and outside of your home when possible, make sure you listen to your dogs body language and respect that they may not be comfortable with every situation (dog parks, large parties, being around kids, etc), get multiple opinions when it comes to health issues regarding your dog and enjoy every moment you have with them, while you have them.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share my thoughts and I hope that this helps someone feel empowered to be the type of Pawrent they want to be!