Pampered Pets Merit Badge, Beginner Level


The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,188 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,837 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Outpost/Pampered Pets Beginner Level Merit Badge, I was inspired by my new pooch, Mr. Darcy. A lovely (and loving) black Labradoodle, Mr. Darcy was having some joint problems, and some skin problems. Also, he has a flatulence issue that’s eye-watering, to say the least.


Labradoodle by Guy Frankland via Flickr

While I had made a commitment to myself to read food labels, watch my health and diet, switch to organic living, and take my supplements, I hadn’t actually applied my knowledge to my four-legged friends yet.

Mr. Darcy looked up at me, woefully, from his bowl of crunchy, dry, soy-based nuggets one evening. I swallowed my locally sourced rainbow trout and felt guilty.

Not guilty enough to fry him up one of his own, mind you, but darned close. Close enough to let him lick my plate, and close enough to make me promise he wouldn’t have to finish that 50-pound sack of questionable dog food languishing in my garage.

My quest for natural pet care was afoot. As I absentmindedly scratched Mr. Darcy behind his ears the next morning (trying politely to ignore his serious dandruff problem) I thumbed through the yellow pages, which in this day and age means I was surfing the web. First I checked out some testimonies and stories from pet owners who had switched to holistic and natural veterinary habits.

In the beginning, I wasn’t quite sure I understood the idea: would they be sticking needles in Mr. Darcy (I didn’t think he’d go for acupuncture),


Photo by Kyle Hunter via Wikimedia Commons

lighting candles,


Photo by Sander van der Wel via Wikimedia Commons

and practicing yoga with him (not with those hips of his),


Photo by Caroline Klebl via Wikimedia Commons

or chanting things while lighting feathers (he does love a good chicken feather)?


Types de plumes. Larousse pour tous, 1907-1910 via Wikimedia Commons

Naturally, I was being overly dramatic in my assumptions, and I learned this from the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association:

“The (AMVMA) explores and supports alternative and complementary approaches to veterinary healthcare and is dedicated to integrating all aspects of animal wellness in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.” The techniques promoted in holistic medicine are minimally invasive and incorporate patient well-being, lifestyle, and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy and respect. Use of blood tests, x-rays, and similar objective diagnostic techniques is minimized in favor of sensitivity to the animal. Nearly every form of medicine and therapy used in alternative medicine for humans is also used in holistic veterinary medicine.

A healthy diet free of additives is central to a holistic approach. Holistic veterinarians believe that, through nutrition, most disease can be prevented.”

Why, that didn’t sound weird at all! In fact, it sounded like common sense. Excitedly, Mr. Darcy and I booked our first appointment with a recommended holistic vet. Although, to be honest, since getting rid of our nasty bag of toxic additives we used to call food, and supplementing with more healthy fare, I’m not sure we’ll even need that appointment … Mr. Darcy’s skin is getting glossy and smooth (and dandruff free) and his joints seem to be those of a puppy’s again. Plus, he hasn’t cleared a room in over a week, if you know what I mean.

Coincidence? You decide.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    No coincidence at all! When you take a closer look at what goes into dog food and realize what those words mean on the ingredient label, it is a wonder pets even survive. Talk about nasty! Thankfully, there are now many places who offer real food for pets made from simple ingredients that are both tasty and healthy. I also know people who make their own dog food at home from recipes given to them by veterinarians. I see where the pet industry has also created these awful “treats” for dogs from the slaughter houses that people buy all the time. I shudder just looking at them and cannot imagine buying them or giving them to my pet. So GROSS.

  2. Karlyne says:

    Mr. Darcy, you are simply divine. Love the bowtie, and am very happy that you’ll be getting healthier and healthier as you follow MBA Jane around!

  3. stella says:

    Interestingly enough, I got a yorki poo for Christmas & I named her Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzy)! She is adorable! I feed her Taste of Wild dog food – but she does love popcorn – just like me.

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