What inspired you to write your book?
When my dog Jackson was diagnosed with lymphoma, I turned to real food just to get him eating again. It worked; over time he not only started eating, he started wanting to for walks, play with our puppy and even started running with me again. Instead of the 9 months that the oncologist said we would have, we had 4 full years – cancer free. When people heard about what I had done for Jackson they asked for hyielp with their dogs that were overweight, diabetic, or with other serious illnesses. I started Dog Stew and fed hundreds of local dogs. However, I wanted to make the information more available so I wrote the book. I spent 5 years researching, writing and recipe testing. I felt the book was good when I sent it off the publisher, but I really felt validated when I started hearing from veterinarians who said that I did a great job and are now carrying the book in their offices.
About your Book:
If people are going to cook for their dogs the recipes need to be easy and nutritious. Feeding dogs fresh foods (even as an addition to commercial food) is a chance to not only give dogs a tasty treat, but also antioxidants and other phytochemicals that are not present in commercial foods. Feed Your Best Friend simplifies not only cooking, but also determining the right portion size for every size dog (every recipe and food recommendation includes serving sizes for 10, 20, 40, 60 and 80 pound dogs.) FYBFB also includes diets for dogs with specific ailments, a guide to picking out a quality commercial food and dealing with problem mealtime behaviors.
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
Even if it’s not cooking, sharing simple ingredients off your cutting board can be beneficial and tasty. The more you do the better it is for your dog. Here’s a quick and easy recipe using ingredients you were probably going to throw away anyways. (There’s also plenty of meals, treats and cookie recipes in the book.)
Tuna Sandwich Leftovers
When you’re making a tuna fish sandwich, what’s the first thing you do? You drain off the water and pour
it down the sink. Next you grab two pieces of bread, being careful to avoid the heel of the loaf. Put these two things you weren’t even going to use together and you have a nice little pick-me-up for your pooch.
1 slice whole-grain bread
1 (6-ounce) can tuna, packed in water
Place the bread in a small bowl.
Drain the tuna water over the bread and let sit for 3 minutes to allow all the liquid to be absorbed.
Add 1 tablespoon of the tuna, blend with a fork, and serve.
Yield: 1 slice; store extra in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
10-pound dog ¹∕³ slice
20-pound dog ½ slice
40-pound dog ²∕³ slice
60-pound dog ¾ slice
80-pound dog 1 slice
What formats are your books in Both eBook and Print
How do you see writing a food/cookbook as different from writing other genres of books?
A love of food is unlike any other endeavor. Food not only tantalizes our taste buds, but it builds our bodies and energizes us through the day. That’s no small task when you consider your body is built out of food. It’s the same thing for our dogs. However, the concern about nutrition is even greater for dogs and there is a pretty high standard to be met. Research and recipe testing can be both fun and arduous. After testing the same recipe a dozen times to fine-tune it, you might start disliking the recipe until you finish putting the words on the page and then you can be really proud.
What advice would you give to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a food book or cookbook
When recipe testing, have a friend in the kitchen to help you out. Having somebody question everything you’re doing might seem like it would get in the way, but an extra set of eyes helps to ensure any nuances in your preparation will be conveyed and that a reader will be able to reproduce your results. Plus it helps when somebody does the dishes or takes notes while your doing dishes.
Consider using a site like nutritiondata.com to include specific nutrition information like calories.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
Feed Your Best Friend Better is published by Andrews McMeel. I took a daring step to submit my book to a cookbook agent and was snapped up in just a matter of hours. I feel lucky to have an agent who walked me through some things I didn’t understand and to help negotiate everything from my contract to the voice of my design. My book would not be the same without Sally Ekus of the Lisa Ekus Group.
The design team at Andrews McMeel was fantastic and came up with many options. Although I had a design concept, they took it much further than I would have been able to on my own. I was very specific about the recipe layout and had to convince the publisher that it would work with long and short recipes. The special touches added by the design team made it even better.
Although first time authors don’t often receive much in the way of publicity, the publicist at Andrews McMeel – Shelly Barkes, has been amazing. Shelly takes all my ideas and helps form them into what she knows media outlets desire.
Then of course, there is my editor, Lane Butler. She’s been through the thick of it with me and has ensured that the book is an reflection of me and my philosophy. The book wouldn’t have turned out the same way without her positive influence.
Finding the right publisher is important and for me that was made much easier by having the assistance of my agent. So much of the writing process is solitary, it feels really good to be part of a team that is supporting your work and bring it to a larger audience.
Rick Woodford witnessed the healing power of healthy, whole foods when he began preparing home-cooked meals for his dog, Jackson, who was battling cancer. He then opened Dog Stew, a company that produced nutritional, homemade food for dogs in the Pacific Northwest. He went on to help many dogs with a variety of medical conditions, much to the delight of his human customers, who dubbed him “Dog Food Dude.” He currently lives in Portland, OR with his partner, Gregory, and their four furry kids.