Tuesday, September 23, 2008

About Golden Retrievers, Allergies & Polish Wodka

You know that feeling of getting something accomplished and then being proud of yourself? Well, in my other job at the pet food store I do, as you know help fellow pet owners in their efforts of feeding their pets the right diet. Giving advise to caring dog owners who don’t know anymore what to do because their dog’s condition gets worst as every day goes by. Hopefully as in most cases, the person listens carefully, understands what I am trying to say, makes the corresponding changes and sees the turn to the better, a healthier pet after following my advise for some time. I mean, what can be more rewarding? I made a difference in a pet owner’s and his family’s life and I relieved a pet from its suffering. It doesn’t get better than that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know everything, I’m not a vet, I’m not a famous dog whisperer or other primetime behavioral trainer. I am just myself, a common guy with common sense who just happened to get interested in pet nutrition. Someone who does a little more studying than others on the subject matter pet nutrition.
Anyway, here is what happened to me today: About 9 months ago I met Starek, a Polish immigrant living in my neighborhood just a few blocks away. Starek has a Golden Retriever, his name is Stanislav, he calls him short “Stan”. Stan is 8 years old. When I met Stan the very first time I was shocked. The poor thing was hairless on his face and tail. His legs were covered with large sores. When asked about his condition, Starek reported that the problem had started a couple years ago. Stan back then had occasional hot spots and was itching, had minor skin problems. The problems came and went away on their own, so Starek didn’t think it was anything serious and wasn’t too worried about it. Especially since it didn’t seem to impact Stan’s happiness. Stan didn’t let his condition interfere with his having fun and being his owner’s best buddy. However, as time went on, his condition deteriorated. Starek went to see his vet. They together started a treatment of medicated baths for a few weeks without success. The baths were followed by Prednisone and antihistamines treatments, still no change. Starek, unhappy with the outcome, went to see another vet for a second opinion. He diagnosed the problem as being some kind of cancer, which basically couldn’t be treated and would ultimately end in Stan leaving this world because of it. Starek was devastated. That was when we met. He told me his story and I suggested to maybe start looking at Stan’s food first. He had Stan for many years on a grocery store brand, then when he started seeing the vets, changed over to some prescription food. He looked at me in disbelieve. “What can be better than the food the doctor ordered to feed?” I told him that I believe (and know) a whole lot can be better. I suggested a raw diet. I still remember his expression in his face, he wasn’t too excited about the idea. After all, his Stan was a “house” dog and not some wild animal. I said: “Look Starek, what do you have to loose? The worst case scenario is that the dog doesn’t like it, then you switch him back to the vet stuff. Just trust me on this one,get your dog off the grain and give it a try.” And Starek did. Initially he had a lot of questions, like he thought the formula he was feeding was all meat based, he just was worried to do the right thing, making sure the dog was safe. Then I didn’t hear from him for a few days until after about 3 weeks he came back to the store. With Stan. And guess what? Stan, while still looking pretty rough around the edges, or face, legs and tail, definitely showed small signs of improvement. Starek reported that his dog loved the food and said: “He better does, ‘cause I threw the other stuff (in his very own way he had a different word for it though) in the garbage.” Starek stayed with the raw until today. Today he came to see me. With a smile I’ve never seen in his face since I first met him. “So much for the cancer” (followed by some half Polish, half English comments I can’t print here). “Get me some of the raw food and put me down for a case every 3 weeks. I don’t know how to thank you. Whatever you want, just tell me, I owe you. I also want to invite you and your wife for a home made dinner at my house on Saturday night.” And he handed me a bottle of his home made Wodka, you know the kind which tastes like moon shine and knocks you off your socks after one shot. As to Stan: He’s doing just great. He’s a different dog now. Looks better and better, I give him another 3 to 4 months and no one will probably be able to tell that this little poor guy almost was put to sleep for the wrong reasons. According to Starek, they together have more fun than ever before, Stan has an energy like a puppy. If you ask me, I think they both have together many more years to have fun together.
Now I want you to remember that some dogs with allergies might experience a similar spectacular healing. Sometimes their immune systems are not able to recover completely. Or the healing may take years. Whatever the outcome is, complete, slow or partial healing, I consider any improvement as being worth it.
How about you? Let us hear about your stories and experience with allergies. Sound off, that’s what this blog is for. And don’t worry, you can talk about any experiences you made even if they were not based on my input. I feel great tonight (No, I didn’t have any of that Wodka - yet). Now you see what I was talking about in my today’s intro.

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