Funny, Isn’t It?


By Jeanne Charters


Remember when I promised to let you know when my dog, Bucky and I would “star” in the Purina One Challenge promotion? Well, break out the trumpets. Toot toot… Beginning April 2, check out the Purina One website and look for us. My name may be Jeanne Restivo (legal married name). Bucky’s name may be BuckSnort Restivo (my husband’s warped sense of humor.) You’ll also meet my friend, Suzy, and Bucky’s B.F.F., Scooter.


Jeanne Charters. Photo by Myra Kruzer.

Jeanne Charters. Photo by Myra Kruzer.

All the shooting for this campaign was l-a-b-o-r intensive. The film crew invaded my condo three times. I live in 1,600 square feet, which is fine for me, Matt, and Bucky. But funny, isn’t it, that when you bring in a 17-person crew, lights, scrims, cameras, sound boards, etc., things get mighty crowded. Trust me on this.


But it was worth it because Purina donated $25,000 to the City of Asheville to renovate the French Broad River doggie park—a place Bucky and I practically live at during decent weather. Yes, decent weather will soon be here. (From my lips to God’s ears.)


But since this issue is about food, glorious food—something I revere nearly as much as my friends and family, I’ll start out with people food. I flat out love to eat! Fortunately, I’ve developed into a pretty good cook. So good that it’s hard sometimes to convince my husband to take me out to dinner.


When we do eat out, I want food better than I can prepare at home. That’s when we’re blessed to live in Asheville. I’ve had wonderful dinners at Vincenzo’s, Frankie Bones, Limone’s, Pomodoro’s, Strada, and many other local food emporiums. My favorite restaurant, though? Bouchon, hands down. For a special occasion (like my birthday), I pick Bouchon every time.


Remembering Bouchon’s mussels Parisienne or steak Bouchon, I had to wipe the drool off my chin.


I don’t recall cooking really well before I married Matt 30 years ago. Of course, in those days, I was feeding little kids and the cuisine consisted of things like tuna casserole. Remember that old goodie with the potato chips on top? Actually, it sounds pretty good right now. Crunch, crunch.


The only one in our little family who is not a “foodie” was Bucky. And he needs nutrition to maintain his energy because as I told you, he’s running for the North Carolina House of Representatives.


When I adopted him two years ago from a woman diagnosed with a terminal illness, he was eating a very expensive hypoallergenic kibble. I finished off that bag and the veterinarian recommended something different, also quite pricey. Bucky’s been eating that food ever since—with no enthusiasm.


When I asked the vet about it, he said, “Some dogs live to eat, and some eat to live. Bucky eats to live.”


Well shoot, I wanted my doggie to enjoy his meals as much as I do.


When we were approached by Purina to do this campaign, I told them that Bucky is not a food lover—not to expect him to gobble enthusiastically on camera. I was totally honest with them, and they were okay with that.


Beyond Bucky’s fussiness, though, I was still skeptical. No, I was r-e-a-l-l-y skeptical. My main concern was my basic distrust of American big business. I am so tired of reading ingredients and finding stuff that has no relation to food as I know it. Plus, with all the GMO products out there, I’m never sure if I’m eating cod fish or some wildly altered organism that has never seen the inside of an ocean.


Sadly, I fear our food source has been compromised by too much money thrown at politicians by lobbyists. Eating local has never seemed so important as it does now, and that’s a good thing for local farmers. But a bad thing for consumers dependent on big companies for their everyday diet. Do you know that Trader Joe’s ketchup is the only ketchup I can find that does not contain high fructose corn syrup? Yes, it has sugar in it, but not that demon which has invaded our food source, high-fructose corn syrup.


But back to dog food—the veterinarian at the kickoff event said that the Purina One flavor was formulated precisely to the taste dogs love. What do they put in it, I wondered? Goose Poop. That’s what most of the dogs I know love. But I didn’t see it on the ingredients list.


My veterinarian said it’s fine food, so with great trepidation, I followed his advice and mixed a little of the Purina in with Bucky’s regular kibble. My dog dove at the bowl like a starving piranha. When he finished, I noticed all the Purina One was gone, leaving only his old kibble in the bottom of his bowl. Hmmmm…


After three days, he was switched completely over to Purina, and now I have a doggie who loves to eat as much as I do. Honest to God! I’m not being paid to say this.


His coat is glorious. His teeth are gleaming. And his energy level is higher than ever. (Lord, help me—I’m getting old.) Plus, as mentioned by the Purina vet, he doesn’t poop as much. That’s because there aren’t additives in the food.


So, to see just how adorable Bucky looks and to watch me trying to keep up with him, check out here. And if you have a pooch, do him/her a favor and try this stuff. But don’t eat it yourself as a snack. I tried that and it doesn’t compare to potato chips.



Jeanne Charters is a transplanted New Yorker living with her husband, Matt Restivo, in Asheville, NC. She can be reached at


Jeanne Charters
Written by Jeanne Charters