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Newsletter - December 2008

The News At Home

Some dogs act oddly, but if you ask me, some people do too. We were at the vet clinic with Tori. A breeder of French Mastiffs (Dogue de Bordeaux) walked in with three of these dogs. Now, at one time the French Mastiff may have been a more “ferocious” breed, but today, well-bred dogs that come from thoughtful breeders, have a calm temperament. These particular three dogs were extremely sociable, eager to receive treats, and curious about people and other animals in the waiting room.

Tori’s tail wagged happily when she first saw these friendly creatures. Once the vet visit was over, and we were at the front desk, Tori was greeted by one of these dogs inching curiously closer to her. Here was this large dog with fresh stitches in his head, suddenly licking Tori as if to groom her. The big tongue startled Tori a bit. She looked at her new friend as if to say WOW before deciding she enjoyed the attention. In the meantime, a woman in the waiting room clutched her small dog in her arms, waved at me, and mouthed “look out” as she pointed toward the Dogue de Bordeaux. Wasn’t it obvious that this dog was friendly, I wondered? Tori is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the largest of the toy breeds, so I’m not favoring large dogs only, but surely people can’t be so blinded by fear as to assume that a large dog is a threat strictly due to its size. In fact, I can think of a few tiny dogs that I’d have been more nervous of than these wonderful, well-bred French Mastiffs. Here’s hoping that people become as blind to the size of a dog as Tori is. She knows better.

Fact of The Month

Frozen fruits and vegetables are a healthy choice

There was a time when fresh produce was truly fresh because it was grown in the soil of our own family-owned farms. If you live in the city and/or in a climate that doesn’t allow for year round farming, chances are that the fruits and vegetables you and your dog eat have been grown several miles away. In fact, they may have traveled thousands of miles before reaching your local store. If they look ripe, it’s usually because they were picked before reaching their full potential. This impacts the quality because nutrient values can be less than hoped for.

Frozen produce is considered to be lesser-than by many people. I, for one, am not partial to the taste of most frozen vegetables. Fortunately, this type of bias is lost on dogs. The reason it’s a good thing is because frozen fruits and vegetables have, for the most part, been picked when they’re ripened. Their nutritional punch includes some vitamins and phytonutrients. They’re available year round and can cost much less than their “fresh” counterparts. This makes the addition of berries to a diet a possibility even during the winter months. And of all the fruits I like to give a dog, berries hold the number one spot. Their antioxidant properties and phytochemicals are known to fight cancer cells in people. Whether this holds true for dogs is unknown but my bet is that one day this will be proven too. If I’m wrong, nothing was lost. If I’m right, dogs being fed berries are ahead of the pack.

A 2005 study gleaned from owner questionnaires, suggests strongly that there is a preventive effect against transitional cell carcinoma in dogs consuming green, yellow or orange vegetables three or more times weekly. So don’t forget to add some veggies to your dog’s diet, and don’t be biased against the frozen varieties. They can help to stretch your dollars and can help your dogs in many ways.

Senior Dog Case of the Month

Meet Zena

Zena is an eleven year old German Shepherd Dog. As a puppy, she was quite brave, so her name (after the warrior princess) seemed appropriate. Nobody could have known just how appropriate though. Zena entered the fight of her life, and for her life, when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma almost two years ago. This extremely aggressive cancer has a poor prognosis, but Zena fought without restraint. Her right rear leg was amputated, yet she continued to run in the park, and protect her home from any intrusion she imagined was about to occur. Her joyful attitude helped her owners to feel more positive, and nutrition was something they wanted to address. The challenge was that a diet for cancer is based on much more dietary fat (especially omega 3 fatty acids) than Zena could tolerate. She, like many GSDs has a digestive problem that simply doesn’t allow for high-fat diets. The good news is that she enjoys and tolerates plenty of vegetables. Her diet was changed to 50% fresh salmon (skin removed to do away with some of the fat this fish provides) and 50% frozen vegetables (mixture of green beans, carrots, broccoli), some zucchini and just a little sweet potato. We added CoQ10 and Antioxidant Booster amongst other supplements to balance the diet. The end result is a dog that is, to date, cancer-free.

There is no doubt that diet alone is not responsible for the outcome, but Zena’s owner and I believe it contributed. Mostly, I think that Zena herself is inspirational and deserves respect for her wonderful attitude.

Web Site of the Month

If the holidays are about giving rather than receiving, I can’t think of a better time to remember the dogs and cats in animal shelters. Thanks to the ingenuity and passion of a little girl, we can all help without spending a dime. Her website,, in conjunction with sponsors, gives us the opportunity to give ten pieces of kibble per day simply by clicking twice (once for the dog question of the day and one for cats). Morley and I visit daily and we hope that you will too.

Morley, Tori and I wish you and your pets a happy, healthy, holiday season. Here’s to all the good things 2009 will bring. Cheers!


“In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog.’ -- Author Unknown



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