Park Tails: Dinner and Doggie Moms

By Sam Desmond, LI-DOG Contributing Writer

LI-DOG would like to feature its members in “Park Tails” with stories of friendship and fun with Fido at the center! If a dog park or the LI-DOG organization has helped you and your fur baby connect with others in the community and you would like to share your unique story, please contact Sam Desmond at or at 917.532.9460 to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Park Tails”! Submission of adorable photos of dogs is a MUST to be profiled!

Sam and Christine

Sam and Christine

Never in my snarky, sarcastic, Wednesday Addams-inspired existence did I ever think I would use the term “fur baby” as seriously as I do now. But then again having children has been known for dramatic personality changes, or in my case, revelations. After twelve years of marriage, our beloved, rascally, four-legged boys, Oban and Rye, have become the center of our world. We plan our weekends according to pack walks–both LI-DOG hosted and self-mapped–with most of our conversations revolving around Oban’s teenage sulking and lamenting the day when Rye will follow suit and stop being a cuddly toddler.

Our circle of friends has grown with like-minded fur parents who can relate with and debate our children’s experiences. One of our dearest friends, Christine M. Filardi, author of my new kitchen Bible, Home Cooking for Your Dog, already seemed a kindred spirit to me as a fellow writer and doggie mom when I “friend’d” her on Facebook to learn more about her recipes.  After furiously taking notes at one of Christine’s lectures on the immeasurable benefits of raw cooking vs. kibble and keeping her for another hour as I asked questions that could have been addressed via email, we became instant good friends, bonded in devotion to our fur children.

Sam and Christine's Dogs Playing in Yard


With Christine and I driving between Nassau and Suffolk counties almost bi-weekly for doggie play dates, we have inundated our social media pages proudly posting our (collectively) four boys running and chasing each other as we egg them on like over-enthusiastic football moms, while we drink wine. The posts, while partly Kardashian-narcissism, really function as a movement, one that fuels the vision and work of LI-DOG that dogs are central members of the family and a forever home involves more than just the backyard, but rather, the whole community.

A major component of improving the quality of life for our dogs was to introduce more natural, “human” if you will, foods to our boys. Originally I was skittish because of the costs I envisioned; I was at a loss for how to afford $18.99 a pound for Whole Foods’ organic ground beef! Christine played the role of sagacious (and thrifty) mom, easing me into cooking for my boys.

To talk me off the cliff of financial ruin, Christine reminded me that regular, grocery store meat was still far fresher than kibble and totally fine to let my boys enjoy. For days when I knew I’d be too busy to prepare a homemade meal, she offered canned alternatives (super cost-effective mackerel, sardines, and salmon) and a long list of vegetables and whole grain high-quality carbohydrates (couscous, quinoa, and barley) to keep my boys feeling as full as they did on kibble. She warned me ahead of time of some loose stool during the transition and responded to my barrage of 6:00 am text messages, letting me know they were okay.

Like many newer moms, I fretted over every ingredient and cried when my version of Christine’s recipes did not look as Pinterest-worthy as they did in her book. As a veteran, Christine reminded me our pups were not too particular about food presentation. After about a month of semi-raw cooking (I now sauté the meat because the smell of cooking food makes my pups salivate in anticipated ecstasy), I’ve come to relish the role of doggie chef and am ecstatic to be amongst so many other loving doggie parents through LI-DOG.

For more information on enriching your fur baby’s day with raw and/or homemade meals, please visit Christine’s website at

Sam Desmond is a regular contributing writer for LI-DOG. In addition, she is Co-Editor-in-Chief of, the literary webzine of Conception Events, and a columnist for the south shore Gazettes (Bayport-Blue Point, Sayville, and upcoming Patchogue). She and her husband Sean live in Bayport with their rambunctious and lovable pups Oban and Rye.

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