Saturday, December 30, 2017

You are what you eat, Canine Nutrition with Paula Smith

Paula Smith and Kylee

"You are what you eat."

A phrase often used by grandma, that rings true for all of us, especially our pets.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian and an animal advocate.  I admire her very much.

In a interview I recently watched she explains why nutrition is so important for our pets, stating, "Dog and cats are naked, they don't wear shoes or socks. Their environmental burden is much heavier."  Toxins are absorbed into their system through the feet and unclothed skin.
Dr. Karen states, "As long as a pet is cellularly well nourished detoxification mechanisms kick in and they are able to kick out some of those toxins out." When a pet is not given the proper nutrition that is when toxins build up and cause disease.  Sadly what we may think is good food for our pets may not be. Most dry pet food is processed in a manner that depletes it of the nutrients our pets need and even sadder creates known carcinogens.

How can we keep our pets properly nourished? Educate yourself, on how to incorporate fresh foods and clean unprocessed whole foods in the proper balance. When my 7 year old dog Cheyenne was diagnosed with pancreatitis I started an independent study on nutrition, which thankfully allowed her to live to 15 years old.

My good friend Paula Smith is also studying nutrition, and I am thankful that she is sharing her experiences and knowledge with us.

Reluctant Journey into Canine Nutrition
by Paula Smith

Paula with Kylee Pepper and Eli bottom right 
Kylee is a beautiful active border collie that I adopted 8 years ago and is estimated to be about 10 years old. She changed my life when I adopted her because like a typical border collie, she is incredibly smart and more high strung than my golden retriever I was blessed with previously.

This spring my life with dogs changed again.  It started when I noticed a lump on Kylee’s belly that looked and felt like just another fatty tumor. This summer when my vet aspirated that new lump and said she didn’t like what she saw in the cells. So while shedding a few tears, I scheduled Kylee to have that lump (and two others) removed.
A week later, my vet called to tell me that the new lump was a Mast Cell Tumor. A what? This was cancer. The good news is that they were able to get it all. Nothing else could be done except to be diligent and watch for new lumps.

I began to learn everything I could about Mast Cell Tumors.
We lead a crazy life style, so (like many) I was perfectly happy to be able to scoop little pellets out of a bag that can be on the shelf for over a year into my three beloved companions’ food dishes twice a day. (…and I ran through a fast food drive through for myself!) It was good quality and expensive kibble, so I thought it must be good for them. But once I started researching how to help a body fight off cancer I quickly learned that the kibble had to go. By its nature it is very processed, dry, and full of carbohydrates that the body turns into sugar.  (Sugar is apparently cancer food and helps the tumors grow.)

Once I was over the shock of the cancer diagnosis and able to talk about it, I reached out to friends that studied the affects of food on their dogs’ bodies. The biggest thing I learned is that good, quality foods, helps dogs maintain optimum health.  To prevent and fight cancer, we can boost the immune system through food and natural supplements.

With the help of many friends that I have made through dog sports and rescue work, they helped me channel my feeling of helplessness into a feeling that we can fight this cancer!   
This journey has just started for me, but I hope it not only makes me a better dog guardian, but helps be take better care of my own body and those I love…human and canine. I am not a doctor, just a dog lover who wanted to share what I recently learned with as many people as I can.  Each day we can only do what we can afford in time and money to do for ourselves and best friends. If you would like to learn more about canine nutrition, I suggest reading Canine Nutrigenomics by W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana R. Laverdure

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. ~Brian Tracy

OH the greatest gift of all.... UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! I have received this gift from my "greatest gift" that I rescued, my dog Odin J. He returned the favor by rescuing me!

When I think of the words "unconditional love" I know animals have much to teach us on this subject. Odin has so much to teach me on this subject.

Have I or any of us, humans actually ever given true unconditional love?
Can any of us TRULY say you have loved unconditionally?  If you can say you have never said in anger, or silently in your head," I hate you", then I admire you.  You are an enlightened zen master and I have as much to learn from you as I do from our furry friends.

I feel these angels with fur are here as "Teachers and Healers" and "Guides for the Soul" as one of my favorite authors, Susan Chernak McElroy, so appropriately describes them.
Have you ever seen your pet actually show hate? I love analogy  that asks,  if you lock a man and your dog in a trunk of a car for 5 hours, when you open it up, who will be the only one happy to see you?  The dog, of course, will be wagging, his tail happy to see you!

Odin is my greatest gift of all, but I was prepared for another dog to care for. I was committed to keep him in my home for the rest of HIS life. If a pet  has fears we should be prepared to help them learn how to cope and not turn them into a shelter for someone else to deal with. When you take in a new pet I believe they are a family member and not disposable. When you bring them home, please be ready for commitment.  There are more pets, that are Christmas puppy or kitten gifts, surrendered to shelters six months after Christmas than any other time of year. During the holidays, I always feel obligated to send out a gentle reminder. Please remember that cute snuggly Christmas puppy you are tempted to give your kids or your grandma, will be a grown dog soon with puppy energy that your kids will forget to take out or grandma can't handle, six months later.

Now that I have written the obligatory disclaimer my heart insists I write, I can get to the good part. When you are ready, and prepared for an approximately 10-17 year commitment, there is no greater reward as the love of a pet.

I want to express my gratitude for my soul dog on his Thirteenth Year on this earth. I could not ask for a better gift this holiday season, or EVER!   I don't know his exact birthday, but we celebrate it November 2nd, All Saints Day. The older he gets the more I want to celebrate and appreciate our time together. I strive to make little things special for him. This year he celebrated with a few of his best furry and his two legged people friends. There were five dogs and they had a real birthday party. It included party hats, which were hard getting them all on at the same time for ONE PICTURE!!! There were dog toys for everyone. And finally what is a birthday without a birthday cake? It was a homemade heart shaped apple doggie cake with peanut butter and yogurt frosting. It was a great tail waggin time.

"Saving that one dog (one cat or one horse) will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever." We make a Christmas wish that all the homeless pets and those in shelters will have their world changed for the better. We hope they find their perfect fur-ever home and never feel lonely again.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday, from Odin J., Raven Roo (kitty) and myself. We hope it is full of furry unconditional love, the greatest gift of all.