Two sisters — Kathleen Read in North Carolina, Celia Rougellis in Massachusetts — have taken to the internet to share the love of pets.

“We have no agenda,” the pair says. “We just care about animals and want to help share helpful information and tips on feeding your dog and where to go for fun stuff.”

Mika
Mika

The two have created a website, www.mikaandmax.webs.com, where they discuss pet health, food and fun. They even post photos of their pets and offer links to resources in Massachusetts and North Carolina.

What seems like a happy story didn’t start out that way.

“Noah was a German Shepherd, who was with our family for 10 years,” Rougellis says.

But in May 2008, Noah unexpectedly became sick and passed away in only three weeks. Veterinarians said his death was caused by kidney failure, lyme disease and what might have been cancer.

The news had been buzzing with scary headlines about tainted wheat in pet foods. Rougellis began to wonder, was Noah a victim?

Max
Max

She started doing research.

“What I found was disturbing and very suprising,” Rougellis writes on the site.

According to the sisters, many dog foods are made with dead animals. They say food companies grind
them up and dry them into powder to be used as filler in dog food.

“They get the dead animals from veterinarian offices and roadkill,” they write. “The dogs from the vets office are often sold for $1 each. They contain everything you put on/in your pet, like flea and tick medicine, and the medicine they give the animals when they put them to sleep.”

They also say companies put propylene glycol in pet foods. The chemical is used in a variety of products, from medicines, cosmetics, toothpaste and even, anti-freeze. Exposure to large amounts of the chemical can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Chronic cases can result in reproductive and fetal effects, mutagenic effects and might cause damage to the central nervous system.

Read and Rougellis have taken their new knowledge and information and put it to use in the lives of their other pets. Through their website, they hope others can see the information they never got the chance to use in saving the life of their friend Noah.

A few tips
Ingredients dogs have allergies to: corn, wheat, soy, gluten

“People food” to keep away from your dog:
chocolate (includes white chocolate), grapes, raisins, olives, alcohol, mushrooms, avocados, onions, nutmeg, macadamia nuts, xylitol (artificial sweetener)

Mika and Max
The sisters’ website is named after Rougellis’ and Read’s two lovable little pets: Max is now a very healthy happy one-year-old Black Lab mix with a heart of gold. Mika Gabriella is a happy and healthy one-and-a-half-year-old Jackhuahua.

info: www.mikaandmax.webs.com

— Celia Rougellis and Kathleen Read contributed to this story.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.