A Dog Named Zion


Zion, our adventure dog

It’s almost as if I knew I’d be missing my dog, Zion. I had uploaded photos of him so I would have them available on my iPhone for whenever I was near wifi. It’s only been a short time but I miss him dearly. I’m use to his morning “wake-up” of licking my hand from the side of the bed to his goodnight pet before he retires to his pillow each night.


Posing with Mt. Fuji in the background on one of his hikes

He’s a good dog who has been with our family for approximately three years now. He was a stray dog at one of the facilities that I oversaw in Rota, Spain. I was at the facility taking pictures in hopes of getting all the dogs adopted out. In true Zion fashion, he lavished me in doggy kisses and I was SOLD! Next up was my husband who was a bit harder to convince but came around in the end (truth be told, Zion and him are now the best of buds!).

Those initial months together were some of the most grueling. We were establishing our pack order, taking obedience lessons, getting use to having to consider Zion in our plans, and more. Throw into the mix that we found out we would be moving half way around the world to Japan (with some pretty intense animal import regulations)! It’s all been worth it though because what we have received in return has been a dog that loves us with all his heart, a great exercise partner, an adventurous hiker, world traveler and one cool dog.


Sleeping with his toy

So it’s not surprising that Zion is also a bit of a foodie (look at his parents)! He is served up homemade dog food because we believe that he should also be eating healthy, balanced food. This is his favorite recipe. I love it because you can adapt it to whatever you have on hand (no broccoli but peas, why not!). Hope your dog agrees!



Whipping up a batch of Zion’s food

Customizable Dog Food Recipe


2 chicken leg quarters (or chicken breasts)
1 cup brown rice
1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans – rinsed, drained and mashed
2 carrots, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup olive oil

Place the chicken leg quarters in a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 40 minutes. Remove the legs and allow to cool. Strain and return the cooking liquid to the pot. Once the legs have cooled. remove and discard the skin and bones; chop the meat, and set aside. Stir the brown rice into the reserved chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid, and add the rice to the bowl with the chicken.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the ground beef. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly and no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Pour off any excess grease, and place the beef into the bowl.

Stir in the oats, spinach, broccoli, kidney beans, carrots, garlic, cottage cheese, and olive oil. Store the dog food in resealable containers in the freezer. Thaw the daily portions overnight in the refrigerator.

Note: We like to use the food processor to finely chop all items together. We freeze into containers that hold about 3-4 days worth of food. We usually double the recipe and we have enough for about 3-4 weeks.

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