picture of a dog

The old adage really is true: dogs are a human’s best friend. Since adopting Loki in 2013, she’s become as much a member of the family as I am. I take our sweet girl with me absolutely everywhere. We go for runs around the lake beside my house. We hike in Chautauqua all the way up to the Royal Arch. She even likes to just laze in the sun beside me as I write on coffee shop patios. She’s smart, patient, and funny. I don’t even mind how much she loves to roll around in the dirt in the backyard.

But I have a confession: the mess of my dog’s food situation was starting to get to me. My family’s number one hangout space is the kitchen. Somebody’s always cooking, doing dishes, or just leaning against the counter, savoring a glass of wine and chatting. And Loki, despite her intelligence, is a messy eater. As a big, German Shepherd mix, she tends to wolf her food down like, well, a wolf. She would get so excited by dinner that she would slide the bowl around with her nose like a hockey player trying to make a goal – only the goal just so happened to be the space right under my feet when I was putting something hot in the oven.

Add to that somehow, after all these years, I haven’t quite learned how to open the dog food bag in a way that doesn’t look like a toddler did it. As a consequence, I’m constantly crunching kibble beneath my feet, since it always seems to escape from the bag.

After a particularly long day a few months back, all I wanted was to hang out with my husband in the kitchen and make pizza, when it happened. I stepped right onto a piece of kibble that had been softened in the water my dog had sloshed all over the floor while drinking. Needless to say, I was disgusted. And it got me thinking – how could I invite guests over with my floor like this? With a bag of kibble shoved haphazardly into the cupboard, so that it slumps forward each time I open the pantry?

The most embarrassing thought? Had any guests already stepped on one of these awful moist kibble pieces in my kitchen, and been too polite to say anything? Oh, god.

So, I started researching. I initially came across some mass-produced, $300 behemoths that advertised themselves as an all-inclusive feeder/storage bin/place to put dog toys. I was intrigued. But when I read the reviews, I learned that the quality was slapdash at best. I felt dismayed. If sub-par was what I was finding for $300, how much would it cost for me to find something tidy? Something not just functional and durable, but enjoyable to look at?

Then I realized, hey, if it’s going to cost me $300 or more, I may as well check some small businesses and craft artisans instead! Spending that much money, you may as well help the independent worker, not just some big corporation. So, armed the next morning with a nice cappuccino and my happy, oblivious dog by my side, I got on Etsy. And almost immediately, there it was! It was almost laughable how hard I had thought this search would be, but I was led straight to this dog feeder. It’s a perfect combination of food container and dog feeder, is pretty to look at, and each one is made to order by hand. The best part? It was half the price of the mass-produced one I had been fretting over! I ordered it that day, and in about a month, I was happily looking at my new dog feeder in the kitchen.

Not only was Loki no longer pushing her bowl all around my feet as she ate, but I realized this elevated platform was so much better for her neck! I feel like a bad dog-mom in hindsight, not having considered how she must have felt stooping to the floor to eat her meals, but I’m grateful that she now has something that makes eating much more comfortable for big dogs. In addition to how happy I am about her comfort, the functionality of this thing is wonderful. On top are two dishes – one for water, one for food. The platform holding these bowls opens to store her dog food, and I love it! There’s no more mess of a stinky, open dog food bag in my pantry. Instead, when it’s time to feed her, I just have to open the top of her food stand, which lifts on hinges without disrupting her water bowl too much, and I can scoop her food directly from the box into her bowl. It’s remarkably simple, and my friends all comment on how nice it looks when they’re over!

I especially love that it’s customizable. I ordered it in red chestnut, a color that complements my cabinetry really well. I also read you can customize the color selection – and saw one with blue trim on their Etsy store – but I was happy with just a warm wood.

I’m so thrilled that my kitchen is the clean haven I’ve wanted it to be. I love walking around with no shoes on and feeling confident that my toes won’t meet any unwelcome bits of kibble anytime soon. Functionality, cleanliness, and supporting local business – what else could you want? This investment was so worth the price and wait, and is something that is sure to bring me joy for years ahead.

I can’t recommend my feeder enough!