This past month has been pretty difficult. We lost Targ on the heels of two other friends losing their dogs, both also raw fed dogs.
So why do it? Targ was only 6 and 1/2 and passed from a spleen hemorrhage (and the more I think about it, the more I think he had a tumor in his heart.. lovely side effect of hemangiosarcoma). Shine had bone cancer. Sarah June died in her sleep, but struggled with fatty tumors and other issues her whole life.
Our own Charlie, who passed before I started this blog, died when a bladder tumor grew to shut his kidneys down.
So why do it? Why spend hours breaking down blocks of frozen raw meat, chopping veggies, making kefir etc? Why have two freezers and two refrigerators mostly full of dog food, with an occassional frozen pizza for the humans?
Because, in spite of the fact that my dogs STILL got cancer, they had amazing lives. I firmly believe that their lives were better for eating a raw, natural diet that could be modified to support them.
More than once, I’ve said that Targ would have been dead a long time ago if it weren’t for the life we gave him. He suffered from severe allergies, hypothyroidism, entropion and eventually cancer.
Well.. suffer is not the right word.
We modified his diet to support his immune system, we gave him limited vaccines, and looked at alternative methods to treat his entropion. We avoided foods that challenged his thyroid and replaced them with ones that supported it. We also supplemented with synthetic thyroid replacement therapy. It was only recently that we learned he had a mass on his spleen.. and that was only after a bought of not being able to pass urine.
The week before Targ died, he was running around, beating up on his sisters and having an all around blast. Everyone was shocked when he passed because he was “so healthy”. Even our vets told us they didn’t expect him to live so well for so long.
(I should mention that the lifespan of a bullmastiff is 7-10 years)
Wendy Volhard once said in a seminar (and I’m paraphrasing) that the “problem” with a raw fed dogs is that they are fine and then they aren’t.
Shine’s bone cancer was a shock to all of us because she was fine and well, then she wasn’t. She passed away a little more than a month after her diagnosis.
Sarah June was fine and then she wasn’t. I saw her before she passed and she looked marvelous. Grinning as usual.
Charlie was fine (the week before he died he was chasing Targ around the driveway) and then he wasn’t. He lived 18 months with that tumor.. the only symptom was passing some blood in his urine.
Targ was fine and then he wasn’t. No symtoms of being unwell at all
I would rather spend countless hours preparing my dogs food so they they can live the best lives they can with the genetic hand they’ve been dealt, and deal with being stunned by their passing. Sure, it would have been easier on all of us if Targ had been showing more signs of being sick… if he was lethargic and obviously unwell. It would have been easier to help him pass, to make that final call if I wasn’t in a state of shock.
But for 6 and 1/2 years, he made me laugh.. he made me out and out BELLY LAUGH a week before he died.. what a gift.. what a blessing he was..
It’s a fair trade…