Many of the questions that we get on the Explore.org chat relate to the feeding process at OFSDS. In less than a week, we are going to reveal something new for our Explore.org followers (Thank you Explore.org) and we thought this would be a good time to explain what we do. Our feeding times are organized chaos. We have tried many things and tweaked the process until we have a good procedure that works well for us.
The feeding process starts in the Kitchen. This is where the homemade “Aunti Stew” is made. We make six 22 quart roasters full of Aunti Stew a week (see the recipe here). The food is made twice a week and stored in the refrigerator.
Every day, twice a day, at about 9am and 4pm, carts are loaded up with food bowls for the gang of about 130 Old Friends. The feeding is divided into 5 separate areas plus intake and isolation. Kibble and a scoop of Aunti Stew is placed into the labeled bowels in the kitchen. Although most of the dogs get Grain Free Salmon kibble with the Aunti Stew, some of the dogs on special diets or the picky eaters get varied other food including special kidney and stomach foods and varied foods for picky eaters. Some dogs like water on their food. Each dog has their own bowl labeled with their name, amounts and types of food and medications.
While the carts are being prepared, the Old Friends are being put into their eating places. Because everyone is on high alert as the food comes out and tensions between the dogs are more intense than usual, it is important that the separation be done before feeding starts. Some have crates, some have open pens, and a few can eat outside of a pen or crate. Each dog eats in the same place for every meal to reduce the stress on them and to make the feeding process more organized. Each area is labeled to identify who eats in that room and in whether they eat in a crate, pen or in the open. We separate the dogs because each has a prescribed amount and type of food and specific medications in their food. The pens/crates allow the dogs to eat their food at their own pace without being bothered by the others. It also allows us to see that everyone is eating and getting their meds. Can you imagine the free-for-all if everyone ate freely outside of any barriers?
The first cart to leave the kitchen is the one for the gathering room. We work from the furthest area to the one nearest the kitchen. The cart then proceeds to the medical room where any necessary medications are added to the food. Aunti Stew makes a great hiding spot for medications. Once the cart leaves the medical room, it goes to the dogs. There are two staff members out in the dog areas distributing the food and watching the dogs and one preparing the food. A volunteer usually feeds the dogs in the reception area.
Once the entire feeding process is complete, and this takes about an hour, the pick up starts. The food bowls are put back on the carts and the Old Friends are released, starting at the door in the Gathering Room and working toward the Reception Area. This way, the dogs nearest the door are out of the way once others come out. After feeding and pick up, the area is cleaned, and the dogs are free to wander.
The dishes are returned to the Reception area where they are washed after every meal. They are then set up by room, ready for the next feeding.
Tune in here every week for more weekly updates!